Thursday, December 10, 2015

Optical Illusions Game – a suave brain teaser!

By Savitha Hira
Photography: Courtesy BIS Publishers

Optical Illusions Game
Escher’s Thinker Observed by Magritte’s Therapist (detail). 1997. Acrylic on canvas.
Image with spatial contradictions in perspective.The Veldhuysen Collection.© Estate of Jos de Mey.

If you’re a gaming enthusiast and simply thrive on a periodic rush of fresh adrenaline, the Optical Illusions Game is for you...

Modelled on the lines of the classic Memory game, generally played with a card pack of 52, this one comes with 80 cards, square, where 4 cards constitute a single optical illusion, when solved like a miniature jigsaw puzzle. That makes 20 different scenarios, replete with illusory effects via geometric patterns, faces, 3D street art, and the like.

Optical Illusions Game
Hard Cover Box Packaging

Whilst playing the game for the first time does bring on the excitement; not to mention the thrill of being able to solve one’s first correct pick of a set of 4 cards to complete a single illusion, the excitement tends to wane as the game seems never-ending. From trying to recall the placement of the card to the illusory effect it represented, the game challenges both – one’s memory and visual acumen. It tends to drag on and on, until one succeeds in solving all the 20 scenarios and declaring a winner.

Optical Illusions Game
Siete Punto Uno (7.1). Los Gatos, California, 1990.Mural. Photo realistic wall painting.© John Pugh.
Optical Illusions Game
The Waterfall (Turning River Street into a River). 2007.
Anamorphic street painting in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada.© Edgar Müller.

However, different iterations, where the sets can be reduced to picking 2 of a kind and trading the half set for a full one from any of the other players; or even to play with 4 open cards rather than 2, tend to be the preferred options – to one’s patience and sanity. After all how many times can the same illusory picture enthuse one??!

Optical Illusions Game
Ascending and Descending (detail). 1960. Lithograph.Image with spatial contradictions in perspective.
All M.C. Escher works © The M.C. Escher Company B.V.- Baarn - the Netherlands.
Optical Illusions Game
Tower at the Sea, from the Anamorphoses Series. Meijendal beach, The Netherlands, 2009. This sand picture is designed to be viewed from above. The lines are slightly raised, and the low sun gives a strong shadow effect. At high tide, everything disappears–the ultimate illusion. The photo was taken using a kite. Anamorphic Image. All Rights Reserved. © Nico Laan.

While the game could go well with the early teens, the concept doesn’t score as high with adults indulging in a lazy indoor gaming session. Moreover, this is a game for a large group – feisty, haughty, and full of zest, who could play on challenges and thrive on them, over and over again!

Optical Illusions Game
Playing the game

Upside: Colour palettes are well chosen, aimed to confuse, but only just marginally.  The accompanying brochure with pictorial representation of the scenarios, where they were originally photographed, name of the artist and other details add to one’s knowledge base.

Downside: One tends to lose interest; the initial euphoria wanes!

The game is published by BIS Publishers with concept and art coordination by renowned author and optical illusions expert, Paul Baars.

Author: Paul M. Baars

Format: 20 optical illusions, 80 cards in a box
Dimensions: 14 x 14 x 2.6 cm
With playing rules in English, Dutch, German, Spanish and French

Available online at BIS Publishers and Amazon
Price: €15


  1. It is beautiful.

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