Sawbuck Gamer

Photos Of Spiderman

Seeking Spidey

Photos Of Spiderman is a deadpan take on Where’s Waldo.

By Matt Kodner • July 30, 2012

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.

Throughout comics, TV shows, and movie appearances alike, J. Jonah Jameson has rarely changed. He is and will always be the cigar-chomping tabloid editor hell-bent on smearing Spider-Man. JJJ’s character is taken to a pixelated extreme when he opens the new parody Photos Of Spiderman [sic] by shouting, “Get Me Photos! Get Me Photos!” ad nauseam. The only way to progress is to snap a candid shot of a small Spider-Man icon, which happens to be politely waving to you in the corner. You’ve got your picture, and the game starts.

The joke lands and the gags keep coming. You simply have to locate Spidey among a packed crowd of civilians and Spider-Man look-alikes. In later levels, it often becomes an intense race against the clock to find him, but the stakes remain hilariously low. While civilians idly wave, villains occasionally appear—and pose zero threat. If you care to, you can photograph the villain for a single-point bonus. Photos is adamant about maintaining the mundanity of its premise.

The game’s unpretentious humor and sharp eye for detail elevate it beyond its Where’s Waldo trappings. When you reach your limit and fail your assignment, JJJ reappears. His fist is still banging down on the table, cigar still in mouth, and he’s as pissed-off as he was before you got him his precious photos. He shouts, “You’re Fired! You’re Fired!” ad nauseam. J. Jonah Jameson. J. Jonah Jameson never changes.

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1,198 Responses to “Seeking Spidey”

  1. Xtracurlyfries says:

    JJ only trusts his barber.

    • The_Misanthrope says:

       He really shouldn’t.
      JJJ:  So, are you sure cutting my mustache this way is fashionable?  I think I might look like an aging Hitler.
      Floyd the Barber:  Naw, the “Hitler” is much thinner than that.  Plus, this awful flat-top haircut I’m about to give will distract people from the mustache.
      JJJ:  I trained as a journalist, ya know.  If I was researching (finger quotes) me, I’d just assume that I was Hitler trying to disguise himself…poorly.
      FtB:  Well, now that you mention it…
      JJJ:  Why, I can imagine the headline now (spreads out hands to frame the imaginary headline):  “Boys From Brazil Dot Dot Dot In Brooklyn Question Mark”.  Dammit, that’s a good headline!  I’ll have to remember that one the next time Hydra shows up in the Big Apple.
      FtB:  I got it!
      JJJ:  Well, spill it already!  I can feel my hair growing and the daily edition is still waiting on my final approval.
      FtB:  How about you take up smoking?
      JJJ:  Like, cigarettes?  That’s the most cockamamie…
      FtB:  No, no, cigars!  The cheapest, worst stogies you can find, not the expensive ones.  If I remember my history, I’m pretty sure Hitler is never spotted smoking cheap cigars.
      JJJ:  Why do I even bother going to this barber shop?
      FtB:  Oh hey, did I ever show you the framed picture of Spiderman getting a haircut here?

  2. Effigy_Power says:

    I love “Where’s Waldo” type games, always have. I had all the books (yes, every available copy belongs by default to me) as a kid and still admire them greatly.
    I started my own, with scenes of medieval nature (like a busy 12th century marketplace or a tournament scene) but like so many over-zealously started projects, it went nowhere.
    As such it pains me to say that this is wonderfully simple, but without the scenery that makes Waldo so charming and just ogle-worthy and nothing but waving pixel-people it is terribly stale and boring.
    Too bad, this is a genre that could use more material, since Waldo is hogging it all.

    • X_the_Anonymous_Man_or_Woman says:

       You’re the one who broke into my house and stole my Waldo books!

    • The_Misanthrope says:

      MAD Magazine (at least in the 50s and 60s) was pretty good at the “crowded frame” scenes, although the fact that they rarely attributed their artists makes it hard to figure out which ones drew them.  Also, I probably haven’t read it since my preteen years, so I have no idea their current layout.

      The MAD cartoon show on Cartoon Network (“Not to be confused with MADtv”-Wikipedia) did do a Where’s Waldo? parody a while back.  I haven’t found a good clip of it yet, so this will have to do:

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      What I remember most about Waldo was that there was always so much more to find beyond Waldo himself. In the early books, there was just that Guess Who-like checklist in the back of the books, but later on, they threw in other objects, too, including that pesky key. 

      Also, there was no time limit, which I rather preferred. 

  3. Aurora Boreanaz says:

    War.  War never changes.  War with that miscreant Spider-Man!

  4. The_Misanthrope says:

    I’ve always thought many more games should employ photography as a central mechanic.  It seems ridiculous to me that we can have so many variations on a gun-shooting mechanic.  Just looking at that Inventory about games with photography bits in them, few actually treat it as more than a diversion or a sideshow to the main action.  Granted, a game engine/computer program may have a hard time judging aestheitics, but with enough qualifiers–lighting, framing, visibility of subject, variety of colors, etc.–I think you could fake it pretty well.

    I mention this because I remember thinking this after watching the excellent 2007 sleeper hit THE HUNTING PARTY.  More specifically, I thought that a game that simulated the life of a wartime photojournalist would be a really smart idea.  Sure, it’ll never be lower than a “M for Mature” rating and you will need to be extra sensitive about offending the military or the local populace, but it could be really engaging both as a game and art if implemented just right. 

    Of course, I have zero experience in anything more contentious than a fistfight and I’m really only an amateur programmer, so I might not be the guy to make that game.  So if anyone wants to run with this idea, you have my blessing.

    • PaganPoet says:

      Did you ever play the Fatal Frame series? They’re a little overwrought and melodramatic, but they’re genuinely terrifying games, especially Fatal Frame 2, at least they were 4-5 years ago when I played them.

      Anyway, taking pictures of ghosts is the main gameplay mechanic and it works magnificently. Of course, the way to do the most optimal damage to a ghost is the split second before an attack hits you when they’re as close as possible.

      (I understand this isn’t really what you meant by using photography as a gameplay mechanic, but I just thought I’d plug the series anyway.)

    • Electric Dragon says:

      Paparazzi Simulator – do you go to the hotel where the B-list celebrities hang out in the expectation of getting a decent shot of Jennifer Aniston? Won’t be worth much but at least you’ll be able to sell it. Invest in a super long lens and stake out his villa on Capri in the hope of a blurred George Clooney? Tough luck, he’s been on Richard Branson’s island all week. You’ve snatched a couple of photos of the Duchess of Cambridge at Heathrow? Oh, nobody’s interested now because somebody with a cameraphone got pictures of Lindsay Lohan out partying with Russell Brand. The Russell Crowe fighting minigame is a bit tiresome though.

      Optionally pay for tip-offs from “close friends”! Enjoy the driving minigame as you chase a target through the streets of Paris at night!

      • PPPfive says:

        Back when I was but a little kid I used to read Sega Power magazine; they had a section whereby readers could submit their own ideas for games. One of the suggestions was a paparazzi game. The game’s core mixed urban exploration, spying, stealth and manipulation/exploitation of your surroundings ala ‘Getting Up’. The better quality the pictures and the more shocking the situation the more money you get, which can then be spent on new cameras, more effective camouflage and assistants. Even to a snot-nosed 9 year old, it made the idea of being filthy gutter press exciting. The magazine loved it too. It might have been a bit much for the Megadrive’s technical limitations, but imagine what that game could be like now! Fully open-world, you could start as a lowly snapper, but start uncovering a conspiracy that takes you to the highest levels of government! Heck with DLC and a dedicated team it might not be too hard to keep the satire fresh and relevant to the real world.  Online, players could start competing as different companies, with a daily ‘newspaper’ sent to all players featuring the previous days best pictures. If a rival player is trying to set up a faked photo, you can take a photo of the deed in progress and expose their trickery to the world. I want a paparazzi game so much!

        • Electric Dragon says:

          What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new in The Sun.

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      We’ll always have Pokemon Snap, right?