Broken Picture Telephone

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zxoBroken Picture TelephoneI often find that the awesomeness of a game scales directly with the difficulty I have pulling myself away from it to write the review. Using this criteria, Broken Picture Telephone, by Alishah Novin stands alone in its level of awesome. On a scale of 1 to ninja-pirate-zombie-robot, it's cheese-stuffed, bacon-wrapped bacon in a Monty Python reduction. In fact, I think I'll just skip the rest of this thing and

Play Broken Picture Telephone

What!? You want to know what it's about? Sheesh. All right: remember Telephone, the kids' game where you whisper a message to someone, and they whisper it to the next person, and so on, until it reaches the end of the line and sounds have-some-fruitly nothing like the message you started with? This is pretty much that. With pictures.

Play Broken Picture Telephone

Now you want to know how to play? Come on! It's easy. You will have to sign up for an account, and yes, it's one of those sites that makes you check your email before you can play. But once you're signed up, just choose whether to start a game or join an existing game. You'll either be given a picture that someone drew, or some words that describe a scene, and you'll be asked to give whichever you didn't get. Describing a picture is pretty easy, just click the note and type. On the other hand, if you're asked to illustrate, your MS Paint skillz will be put to the test! Six brush sizes and eleven colors are all you get! Luckily, it doesn't make much difference if you're a good artist or not, since the beauty of the game lies in the hilarious misinterpretations of bad drawings. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to

Play Broken Picture Telephone

Broken Picture TelephoneWhat!? Analysis? OK, fine: Back in high school, I loved art classes, because the teacher would tell me what to draw and I'd do it with a passable amount of skill. At the same time, however, I knew that I'd never cut it as a career artist, because I couldn't ever come up with something to draw on my own. Now, I have BPT to take care of that task, and it does so beautifully, allowing enough words to give a decent description while still giving you plenty of leeway to add in details as you see fit. On the flip side, it's often challenging to concisely sum up an entire picture in a dozen words rather than the usual 1000.

Play Broken Picture Telephone?

Sigh. Didn't think I'd get away that easily. Guess I'd better finish this review…

In BPT, participating is only half the fun. The other half is in following the randomness that you help create through all its bizarre mutations. In fact, you don't even need to sign up to view the archives. In fact, you could easily spend many happy hours just reading through past games. Usually, the story morphs in disjointed but still amusing ways, but occasionally you find gems that tell a nice little vignette.

Just be aware that this is, after all, the internet, and you may come across pictures that are juvenile, lewd, or downright obscene … in fact, roughly half of the games are marked as mature. The players are pretty good about marking when games have mature content, but it is self-reported, so do be careful. You can change your account settings so that you'll never see any part of any game that has been marked mature, but this also means that if someone adds mature content after you've played a game, that you won't be able to view the finished product.

So there you have it. A participatory writing/drawing game based on the old favorite playground game Telephone, that's chock full of hilarious random divergences and oozes fun like bacon oozes grease! Now, can I please

Play Broken Picture Telephone

Warning: Because Broken Picture Telephone features people drawing anonymously over the internet, there will inevitably be bad language and depictions of adult situations. Although these are usually tagged as mature content, please exercise caution if you are offended by explicit content.

Update: Since the game has been offline for several months now, we have removed the tags so it won't show up in our normal tag listing pages. If and when the game comes back online, we'll reinstate the tags. Tags saved here in case the game comes back online: art, browser, drawing, free, funny, html, multiplayer, rating-r, simpleidea, turnbased


Splurgy June 17, 2009 1:27 PM

This is quite possibly one of the most amusing games I've ever played.
Next time I have a dinner party, I'll play the offline version for sure!

Wisedude June 17, 2009 2:08 PM

I hate the curse of JIG. Right after a game is reviewed, unless it's on Kong or Newgrounds, the site goes down. Humph...I guess I'll just have to play later.

gmpilot June 17, 2009 2:09 PM

Yeah, the site is going suuuuppeeerrr sssllooowwwwlllyyyyy....for me.


I've been playing BPT for a couple months now, and the site going down is nothing new... it'll be back soon(?)

Tchakkazulu June 17, 2009 2:26 PM

Yeah, BPT has always had server troubles. Too bad, as it's a really fun game.

Also, nice KoL reference you got there, zxo ;)

Tchakkazulu June 17, 2009 2:29 PM

Yeah, BPT has always had server troubles. Which is too bad, because the game is real fun.

Also, nice KoL reference you got there, zxo.

JC Lisbon June 17, 2009 2:38 PM

It even has a (hilarious) boss button! That will sell me on ANY game.

deathfire234 June 17, 2009 3:03 PM

Site is lagging, and I can't see the left part (the picture or phrase).

azziebon June 17, 2009 3:25 PM

This is going slow... well, I guess I'll just keep waiting...

radclaw June 17, 2009 3:48 PM

Peice of crap. Takes forever to load. Then when your done answering something it kicks you out and says it will tell you when it is done. Peice of crap.


It IS really slow. However, this game sounds more awesome than isketch, connection room!

meevee4 June 17, 2009 3:59 PM

Slow as heck. I thought it was only me but the concept is good.


JIG has killed game sites before with too-much bandwidth. Iirc, kdice was nearly destroyed by the flood of JIG visitors, until he was able to upgrade sufficiently.

Zabigdog June 17, 2009 4:17 PM

Agggggggghhh. I want to play so much but it just won't let me in. That is, I managed to draw one whole picture and then it disappears. And I can't get into the 'how to play' piece. This was a cruel, sad prank to play on us, making us want to get into this game so badly. I've been at it off and on for over an hour. Bad me.


We even contacted Alishah a couple weeks ago to alert him about our intentions of publishing a review.

He asked us to hold off until his hosting provider upgraded the server the site is hosted on, and he gave us the 'go ahead' this week.

I hope his hosting provider can do a bit more.

jimmytb June 17, 2009 4:38 PM

I've known this game as "Eat Poop You Cat" before. It's cool to see that there's a live multiplayer version of this on the internet, the other websites that do this take days to complete a round!


wow I was so lucky. My first try was the last in the series I guess because it said something about completed and then about 30 or so drawings and text thingys appeared and mine was the last. I got it all wrong too. It was supposed to be about bowling (I know nothing about bowling) and all I saw was bugs.

Zabigdog June 17, 2009 5:25 PM

Ahaha! "Serpent finds religion." I'm happy now.


OH NO! I am crushed. I just spent 10 minutes trying to draw a picture:
the brown sheep said "woof" in the green grass under an exploding volcano

it went to hell. it wasn't saved.

i know because i got this message...
:: an error occurred: game cannot be saved to.

Nice idea but the implementation of it needs a lot of work.

I have had enough.

Zabigdog June 17, 2009 5:38 PM

So tantalizing. So promising. So incredibly disappointing, after all. This game is so fun, I would PAY MONEY to play it. But I would expect it to work properly. Keep us posted on whether and when she fixes her server problems!


Dead on!
slay me!

and it all started with one simple but odorous word.


This has incredible promise and potential. The hosting company is totally unprepared for this game. Is there anyone out there who has experience with gaming that could SUGGEST a good hosting company for this wonderful fun game?!?

blumley June 17, 2009 6:55 PM

I can't begin to describe the crushing disappointment when you do like THE BEST drawing and then it times out before saving. this game will be AMAZING once the servers are sorted. thanks for the review!


Its really fun... I wish you could follow the game once you put down renditions...or if they could tell if the pictures were different enough to actually put you back into a game you already drew in haha

nuwanda June 17, 2009 7:58 PM

Zxo this was the best review I've ever read, not only of games, but of anything that could be reviewed. Well done.


It's slow, but that means that JIG is just getting a lot of visitors, which is good. However, the game is slow. It's a fun game, though.


Actually, Jay, Alishah is a *he*. We work at the same company, and it's great to see BPT here on JIG! :)

[Edit: :O *facepalm* Oops. Thanks for the correction, I've edited my previous comment. -Jay]


YES, YES YES! It's about Friggin' time JIG Featured BPT!

It has helped me survive MANY stressful nights. At one point, I was keeping my roommate up, playing it 'till the wee hours of the morning.

I attached my account to my URL for all the newbies, drop me a line if you want to start a private game!

Merricat June 18, 2009 12:00 AM

10 at night (in Alberta, Canada) and I still can't get onto the game. Sigh.

It sounds wonderfully silly, zxo. I look forward to giving it a go once things calm down. Many thanks for the review


Slow doesn't even begin to describe it.

Overall, a terrific concept, but as in many community games one jerk who is just so amusing will disregard what he *has* to draw and instead put in a random thing with large penis on it, destroying the point of the game completely. Grr.


Also, it's incredibly irritating when you put some serious effort into creating a picture only to be welcomed with "Error: your picture cannot be saved into". Well thank you very much.


So, funny story.

I made an account yesterday, but didn't get around to playing a single game because I was so fed up with its abysmal speed. Today I was feeling a bit more patient, and logged on to play a game.

On viewing my account settings, I find that I've already played several games, none of which I have any memory of. My only guess is that my account was somehow hacked within minutes of its creation. Either that or I'm going crazy.

Aerineth June 18, 2009 10:47 AM

It seems to be slow, but mostly stable for me. I click to join a game and browse around on other sites until the loading icon goes away on that tab

haecceity June 18, 2009 11:36 AM

I think it helps if you DON'T open any other tabs/windows on the BPT website. I found that when I left it alone, it would save my picture/words, but when I checked out other parts of the site in the meantime, it always gave me an error.
This is seriously like waiting-for-computer-with-windows-95-to-start-up type of slow.


Boss button! lol


We used to call the game "Eat Poop You Cat" though I have no idea why. I even made a webpage about it a million years ago.


I guess the game *will* become enjoyable once the Jay rush subsides or they upgrade servers even further.

One thing though - can you see *who* gives you grades for "artistic merit" and for what? Because I suddenly got 5 negative points out of the blue, even though I'm busting my ass to draw nicely (you can see pictures from my games for yourself, just check my nick on BPT). I kinda don't like when my game experience is diminished because some art snobs don't consider my pictures as good as those obviously done by people using tablets.

Is the point of the game miscommunication hilarity or drawing skills?

crafty barnardo June 18, 2009 2:57 PM

Highly addictive and a great concept, but some fatal flaws. The speed problem is one, but could be tolerable if not for others. For example, when you join a game in progress and have to draw, the timer starts going before the prompt loads, which means you lose up to a minute of drawing time. However, the worst problem is the 'cannot be saved' error which makes it almost unplayable. Putting a lot of effort into a drawing only to have it go up in smoke is extremely frustrating.

Anonymous June 18, 2009 9:38 PM

Is anyone having trouble signing up to the site to begin with? I have tried twice and the validation emails I have received both times had bizarre mistakes in the information, such as my email being changed, or the validation code supposedly being "{[validation]}".

Anyone else have this?


I can't even get the site to load, but I took a look at some of the old pen-and-paper games posted by Scarybug... those are hilarious!

I am definitely going to have to get some friends together and try this out.


I made an account on Broken Picture Telephone, but it's not accepting my verification code, even when I use the link in the email. =/


...but apparently I can sign in and play, so it's all good.


It's so slow!! :(

My greatest masterpieces cannot be saved!

How this game got a 4.9 rating is beyond me. It may be the best idea since sliced bread, but if you can't play the darn thing, it's WORTHLESS!

If you're reading this, Mr Author of Game, please get a better server, because at the moment your great idea is only adding frustration to the world, not joy.

What a pity.



try not opening additional tabs while you play the game, and especially do not open additional tabs which contact the BPT server (for instance if you want to check out the archives while you wait for the application to save your picture). The latter seems to be the main cause of the error.


Holy god, this site just released an entire year's worth of dopamine to my brain.


I can't sign up to this; it's insistently telling me that the verification key copied and pasted from the email they sent me is wrong.

Man, and it sounded so good! :(


Talps, did you try clicking the validation link sent in the email?


Yeah. It's working now though; validation check never seemed to accept me, but it's letting me play.


Oh My! I think that i have finally found the one thing on the internets that may suck my social life away forever. I see a terrible vision before me filled with horror and mirth. My life force being drained away until i become a withered, wizened husk with only a rudimentary appendage capable of feebly clutching and clumsily wielding a mouse. To spend the last of my days scribbling badly descriptive images of random nonsense. As i give myself up to a lonely death laughing with equal measures madness and hilarity my last words will be to thank Jay Is Ga...agghhggghhhghghgh.....


P.S. In the UK the game known as Broken Telephone is called Chinese Whispers, the name goes back to a more bigoted time when Chinese was used to mean foreign or unintelligible, hence the English phrase 'it's all Chinese to me'. God Bless the Empire what what. Welsh was also the ancient Roman word for Foreign apparently. Here endeth the lesson.

Eleanor June 19, 2009 4:22 PM

I'm enjoying this game so much, I'm commenting here for the first time!

Now that I've seen several completed games, it looks like the best ones have many steps. The original player decides how many turns will complete the game, and the default is set to 11. But 31-45 steps allows for the most 'drift' in interpretations, which I think is the most fun!

Like zxo, I noticed that the community is good at preventing off-topic smut from derailing a game. I'm more annoyed by how many games start with a tired meme, like mudkips, pedobear, LOL cats, etc. Those highly recognizable images encourage the game to remain too linear, and it just becomes a game of recognizing/redrawing the same stuff. I've taken to purposefully misinterpreting them to mix it up.

Anonymous June 20, 2009 12:52 PM

This is frustrating. The site looks REALLY awesome and fun, and I've laughed at some of them, but it lags REAL bad. I don't mind that so much except when I finally do wait long enough to write a description or draw a picture, more often than not an error occurs.


I got so addicted to this game I forgot to actually comment on how addictive it is XD

The long load times are a drag, but I've taken to leaving a game to load in a tab, then checking back to get my fix... I guess that's probably the sign of an addict...


The lags are very time-dependant. For instance, if you log in at around 8:00-12:00 GMT the lags are quite minor. At 20:00 GMT and onwards it gets exponentially worse.

In another words, play this while most of USA is asleep. :P

Orietta June 22, 2009 5:46 PM

Why does this site run so slowly? Sometimes the pages don't even load. It seems like a really fun game and I want to play, but it takes forever!

allimarie June 22, 2009 11:25 PM

NOES! four masterpieces completely lost. :( My giant cheetos-men were brilliant!! :'(

FunnellRLY June 23, 2009 1:02 PM

It is pretty laggy but ive found it to be pretty bearable. just click join a game and go about wondering the internet and i check back when the loading sing has left the tab and away we go.

I know it's been said but ill say it again for mind sake. after clicking save don't click on anything else on the site otherwise it WILL think you've just left and it WILL skip it. I made that mistake all of once.

bfabthx1 June 27, 2009 1:10 AM

IMO, the boss button is genius. This game is so much fun. If only I owned a tablet.

Dr. Ramirez July 6, 2009 10:46 AM

Its amazing, bit slow sometimes but it has cheered me up endelessly


I just couldn't get into this game. I'm used to iSketch, which has A) a drawing area bigger than a post-it, B) accurate drawing tools, yes, plural tools, and C) an Erase tool, not just undo. Even with 10 minutes on the clock, I had trouble drawing what I wanted, just because the accuracy was so crude. Add in the inability to save half the time, or create a game, and yeah... it's a great concept with very poor execution, as I see it.

Fix these things in a BPT 2.0? I'll never leave the computer again. :D


I have a problem:

I have signed up for this game with about 3 different email addresses, and none of them received an email with a verification key - I have even made it resend the message twice to an email address. I even went to the online inbox where any emails definitely go, then get sent on, and nothing had been picked up. And no, It doesnt pick it up as spam, because I have a junk email folder and check that before deleting everything.
I really want to play this, but because of that, i cant. I even reported this as a bug and had no reply. Does anyone know whats wrong and/or can help me? Thanks.


I have a rather annoying bug

When i try to play the image/text i'm supposed to describe won't show up! it was working a few weeks ago


Same problem as you, Meme. Well, at least I'm not alone.

Softbagel14 August 12, 2009 6:36 PM

Its not a bug. So many new people logged on to this site at once that the server screwed up and the game stopped working. (I'm not sure if Jay was aware of this...)
*Jayisgames should probably warn smaller game sites like this one that they are doing a review which will cause a lot of traffic to the site.* That way the site owner(s) can actually prepare instead of having the site overload with a bunch of angry people who want to know why the game isn't working properly. I'm not sure if you do this already, but the impression I got after reading the forums on BrokenPictureTelephone is that you did not tell them.


On the contrary. I had an email exchange with Alishah about it on May 25th, several weeks before we ran our review.

He asked that we hold off for a bit until he was able to move the site over to a new hosting provider to help with the lag issue.

We waited until we received the go-ahead from him, on June 13th, before publishing our review.

So, as you can see, the timing of our review was entirely with the cooperation of the Broken Picture Telephone site, and we had waited several weeks to publish it.

Softbagel14 August 12, 2009 8:13 PM

Ah I see.
It would have been nice to see this posted, or maybe and update saying that the game isn't working properly? I don't know...
I was so excited to find this game here, and when I went to the website I spent quite a bit of time banging my computer and wondering why the game wouldn't show :(
I hope its getting sorted out :)


Do I need to download anything so that I can see the picture/phrase when playing? All I see is a little blue box with a question mark in. :O
I really want to play the game but with nothing to work with, it's not much fun. :P
Help? x


Never mind, I just found out that it's a problem with the site. :)

Skull Face72 August 21, 2009 8:51 PM

Love how you used Trogdor as the example. And hte Trogdor goes into the NIIIIIIIIGHT!!


I think the game is broken now
[Works fine for me. Could you expand on that? ~Kero]


*cries* It won't show any pictures or words I need to follow!


Is the game working yet?

Jim Moskowitz September 21, 2009 12:31 AM

The game is also commonly known as 'Telephone Pictionary'. Google for the phrase and you'll see tons of other examples of the noncomputer version. It makes a great party/parlorgame.

librarysmiles September 21, 2009 12:36 AM

The site is still broken.


Still broken.


And good that's it's still broken, Big Penor. Because you're one of those juvenile trolls who does nothing but post "Big Penor" on every thread and think it's hilarious when you ruin the experience for everyone else. You've been reported repeatedly. Thank goodness you can no longer get on the site.

Patreon VIP Chiktionary October 5, 2009 2:41 AM

JIGuest is celebrating that the one troll "Big Penor" can't access the BPT site.
Well guess what JIGuest?! No-one can access the BPT site and there were a thousand genuine players to the one troll, and there are a thousand unhappy players. Would rather encounter the occasional Big Penor than not play BPT at all. Hope it's up and running again soon.

TheMusicGirl November 7, 2009 1:04 AM

Uhhhggg. This is getting anoying. Jay, can you get in any kind of contact with the maker of the game? At all? This was an awesome concept and game, and now no one can play it.


D: Aw, and the game was really such an amazing concept, too...


i wanted to play this so badly.
;-; oh well.


I think the owner has given up on fixing it.

The game's a great concept. Has another website tried to host a game like this yet??


Is this thread dead?? I try to play, but no images will show up for me to draw!! It looks like other people are playing just fine.

I tried on two different browsers... the images just won't load.



The link is permanently offline, methinks. I tried going to it just now, and it seems the site has been taken down. Along with Acrobabble and Psychobabble (the fun game I never got to play), my favorite games are out of the race. *sighs*


This site seems to be permanently down. Jay, have you ever reviewed the "Eat Poop U Cat" site? It is very similar...

glowtmickey May 27, 2010 8:00 AM

This, Metaplace, Acrobabble....
What is happening to all of my favorite games? :(

Linkzcap June 12, 2010 2:58 PM

It didn't even manage to survive to it's first birthday...

RIP Broken Picture Telephone

Born too great to remain in this harsh world


go on alishah novin's main page (google it) and let him know what you think via his "microblog", linear leash.

TheMusicGirl July 11, 2010 7:04 PM

Maybe they should take this down on this doesn't look like it's coming up anytime soon. :(

[A note on the site says they are still there and to please be patient. What I can do, temporarily, is to remove the tags for now and reinstate them once the game is back online. -Jay]


There is a similar game on facebook, which I am part of the development team is new and I would love any feedback, thanks!

randomclover October 17, 2010 4:58 PM

I played it before JIG posted the review and it had bugs back then too, so maybe the buildup of users was just too much for it and caused the site to go offline. I guess it's sorta like an internet coma...

TheMusicGirl September 28, 2011 11:37 PM

Attention people waiting for Broken Picture Telephone! Here is an article/blog with the reason why BPT is off the air, what went wrong with the site, and (unfortunately) why it may never come back up.
In a nutshell, the person who designed the site is known to have over 80 sites, making new sites quite often and usually "abandoning" updates on the sites he leaves up. So when the algorithm for choosing what game you want to draw/write for revealed a little bug that was easily fixable, well, he never went back to fix it. Nor did he open it up to the public to fix this reletively easy bug themselves. It just kept building to the point that it was unplayable, and he's taken it down (for now, hopefully).


I thought I had already written a comment here, but perhaps it was removed for being considered "link dropping"? Anyway, I just wanted to let fans of this game know that someone has recently created a very similar game known as "Doodle or Die". In case linking was the issue and not my flawed memory, I won't post a link here, but it's easy enough to find.


Thank you, B Brucker. :)
You can also suggest games to be reviewed by JIG using the "Submit" tab near the top right just under the Casual Gameplay banner (or by clicking here.)


Thanks! I'll do that.


Not sure if here is the right place or if it should be submitted as a new game, but BPT is revamped and back, after 4 long years.


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