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PeekaboomFrom the same Carnegie Mellon people who came up with the ESP Game comes another image-identifying multiplayer Web game.

Peekaboom pairs you heads-up with a partner with which to alternate turns being both Peeker and Boomer on a greater quest to train computers to see.

As Peeker, your job is to use the clues your partner provides via the hint system to guess the keyword assigned to the image being revealed. As Boomer, your job is to locate and reveal parts of the image, simply by clicking on it, that will allow your partner to guess the keyword. You may also provide valuable hints on whether your partner is hot or cold, and whether the keyword is a noun, text, related noun, etc.

You have just four (4) minutes to identify as many images as both you and your partner can. Since you are both earning points for each correct answer, the best strategy—as well as the greater good of the game—is to hone in on the parts of the image that best convey its meaning, as it relates to the keyword given, to provide the best clues to your partner.

I like this game a bit better than the previously reviewed ESP Game, though neither of them is very exciting in terms of gameplay. Still, considering that (what may prove to be) valuable research data is being collected with every game played, Peek-a-Boom is another unique new casual Web game with an ulterior motive: "Not just wasting your time." Click.

Peekaboom requires version 1.4 of the Java runtime environment. Macintosh users can download Java directly from Apple: OS X or Classic. Otherwise, use this link to download it if you don't already have it installed. Then choose the appropriate install for your operating system/platform.


i got to a bonus round and every time i clicked on the orange ball it gave me points! it only lasted like five seconds


somethimes one picture gets stuck and i have to refresh...


my partner keeps leaving the game.


yeah... some people arent good at this...
i typed tree and he gave me "cold"
the answer was "bark"


wow- that's a fun game...except when you're stuck with someone who's bad at it...

Drinkdrawers August 3, 2005 6:24 PM

What kind of data does this gather? Human communication?


i love the game, but everytime it says that the other person has left the game. is it supposed to do that? i guess i just have to play more and see.


Drinkdrawers - from the information I've read at the various CMU game websites, they are doing research into image recognition. Playing the ESP game was a similar experience, in which the object was to agree on terms to describe the various images used in the game.

This game seems to be the next logical step. Now that a common taxonomy has been collected for each image, players are now identifying the areas of the image which serve to associate it with its descriptor.

Though I could be way off here. =)


They put a picture of a mushroom and labeled it plant, but mushrooms are not plants....

Love your site, Jay. :)


Jay, first of all, congratulations on this site. A new game each day is as good as it gets and the variety is excellent.

Could you provide a link for the correct Java JRE download to play this game when using Windows? I am baffled by the choice.



Rob - Thanks, I appreciate that. =)

And sorry about the lack of info regarding what's needed to play this game. I usually put that in the entry, and I forgot.

Peekaboom requires version 1.4 of the Java runtime environment installed. Use this link to download it if you don't already have it installed. Then choose the appropriate install for your operating system/platform.

benetnash August 4, 2005 4:13 PM

anybody else have problems getting this to run in firefox?

I had to go back and use **shudder** Internet Explorer.


does anybody know how the bonus round works?


Wow. I work on a Mac ... am I dumb or is that not an option for the JAVA download?

I KNEW I shoulda studied I/T!

Your site is the best Jay! :)


Oye. My bad, Carolyn, and I am even using a Mac these days. Here are the links, directly from Apple, for Java if you're using a Mac...


OS 9 and earlier



I love your site! And I love this 'game' - it's so addictive - I think "just one more go" and an hour later....

thanks jay


Yeah, this game is soo addictive!
Unfortunately there is just a small amount of images in peekeboom. I mean, the words man, woman, people, rock, water, flower etc.. come back several times. Once I had to guess 'men', than my partner also had to guess 'men' ..?!
But I like it (And I've got RSI now =)


how long does it take to load! god anyway i love your site jay i think it is the best! i go on it everyday!


Anyone ever actually gotten Verbosity to work? I've tried countless times, no go. Just keep getting the "Requesting Match" notice.

Also, I've noticed over the last few days that Peekaboom is running spottily, at best. The first couple times I played, I had no problems, was able to "play again" as often as I wanted, etc. Now, I keep getting the "Partner has left the game" message. And even when I'm actually able to get a game going, often the image freezes, or "partner has left the game" in the middle.


Very curious


great game, but a few problems: some images are way to hard (picture of bluprints of a building: archetect), or no picture at all (hillside.) and some of the people can't guess at all (there is only a rock, so guess rock, don't sit there and do nothing.) and once my partner got the same image as i did.


SWEET GAME!!! Ty Jay, again, lols. Once, i got this total... weirdo who couldnt get the most obvious pictures. It was a picture of a key... ebviously a key.. and he guessed metal, shiny, thingy, object, steel, iron, gold, metal, keyhole, then passed. Then, on tree, he guessed leaves, branches, monkey, monkies, lizard?, then said something like sdhjsdfakh and left. Except for that one instance, this game is totally awesome!!



We are master students from National Taiwan University. Since I searched the word "Peekaboom", I found your site. I think that Maybe you will be interested in what we did. We also developed a game called "PhotoShoot" recently for training computers to learn how to watch a photo like human.

The rules of this game:
Any login player will be connected to the other player through internet. When playing, you and your partner need to cooperate to gain points. Each of you will play a role, you may be a shooter or a targeter. Targeter will set target on the image and shooter will shoot the same image. Only when the targets are shot, both you gain scores. You can set targets by dragging with your mouse's left button. You just click your left button to shoot. Scoring method is related to the setting and shooting order, and the target size. You can read our help to learn more.

If you like this game or think this is a meaningful project, please share it to your friends. We appreciate whatever you do. Thanks very much.

Have a nice day!

Have fun!


The main problems with this game have already been said, but whenever I play it I get the feeling that I'm playing against the same person over and over, especially when I get the "Partner has left the game message" three games in a row.


Still seem to be other people playing this, suprisingly. I just managed to get a score of 2514 in a single game, the key is knowing when a picture is impossible for the other person to guess and passing immediately.


I loved this game, but why won't it work anymore?
I played it 2 years ago, and I found it to my surprise, and it didn't work.

Can someone provide me with a working link?


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