Residence: Ridgecrest, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/19/12
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): German
Picture telephone is a variation of the classic game telephone usually played with 5-10 players. All of the players are given a pen or pencil and a stack of post its stapled together with 1 page fore each player. Players sit in a circle and in secret everyone writes down a word or phrase on the first sheet of the stack. After 30 seconds, everyone passes their book to the right. At which point players must try and draw the word or phrase from the first page. Then after 30 seconds, they must pass the book to the right. The third player then must try and guess what the phrase that describes the drawing without looking at the original phrase, and writes it on the third page. Play continues until each book has made it all around the circle, with each player alternating drawing what is described or describing what was drawn on the previous page without looking at any other pages. By the time each book has made it all the way around the message has usually been greatly distorted, and all the books are shared.
This game was introduced to my informant at a high school get together. The game is somewhat complicated to explain, but easy to play, making it a game that is good to play repeatedly with friends, and strengthening bonds within the group. It also serves to exclude people who are not normally part of the group as they have to have the rules explained to them, often a couple of times before they understand how to play. This game is similar to telephone as one of the best aspects of game is comparing the resulting message with the original to see how the chain of communication distorted it.