Feb 1, 2010

Stereogram Riddle

When I saw this over the weekend it brought back memories of one of the bigger fads of the mid-90s. They used to appear in newspapers, there were calendars, and, of course, books. In fact, there was even a Seinfeld episode featuring a sterogram painting... that's how mainstream they got. The main brand was Magic Eye.

In essence a sterogram is an image such that if you can focus your eyes independent of one another at a perfect, magical angle then you'll see a 3D image on a 2D piece of paper. I never could do it until one day I was visiting my wife's grandma (may she rest in peace) in Aiken, SC and she was doing them. Not to be outdone by grandma I tried and tried and eventually the 3D image came in to focus. It was so cool! From then on I was able to participate in this elite club and decode these 3D images.

So I downloaded Stereogram Riddle hoping to relive some memories and have access to countless stereograms in my pocket at all times. Wrongo! I don't understand how this app has 4.5 stars unless a lot of the author's friends are rating it...

1) First there's glare... and obviously the developer of this app can do nothing about that. That's just an unfortunate side effect of trying to do this kind of thing on a screen versus paper. It was a real challenge trying to find a 'better', less glare environment to do these in, and I could never find a 'great' environment that would be glare free. Perhaps devices other than the Droid have a better screen for this, but I doubt it... as soon as there's a perfectly smooth, flat surface there's a reflection.

2) I'd be staring away trying to bring the image into focus... and my Droid would dim itself. VERY distracting. I presume the developer has different settings on his phone, but mine conserves power after 30 or so seconds and I don't have this problem with other games (and it could be that other games require more interaction with the touch screen). Nonetheless, a serious flaw!

3) After about 3 images it started repeating images... maybe that's bad luck, but #1 and #2 kept me from doing a detailed investigation.

4) Finally, all the images I saw are quite boring. A donut ring... a tea pot... I'll stick to my Magic Eye books, thank you!

Now there's another app called Stereograms, but after trying this I just don't think devices with screens are a good medium for these 'puzzles'. My advice... go check some Magic Eye books out at the library or buy them. It's much more satisfying and they make great coffee table books...

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