Simple game, great interactive

The New York Times did some clever storytelling for the Women’s World Cup Finals - remove the balls from their pictures and let the users, based on the pictured athletes motion and eyes, guess where it was.

Since most people don’t do this sort of thing on a normal basis, after a couple rounds you’ll start to intuit where the ball may be, and your guess will be contrasted against others after you commit to a guess.

As a non-soccer fan, I like this interaction - it’s a simple idea that works well on the web and draws in readers like me. I didn’t give the text too much thought, but I tried several pages of the ball guessing.

Moreover, the NYT chose a small game that wasn’t gimmicky or too on the nose. Approached another way, this could have been a silly “kick the ball” advert-mini-game that didn’t expose me to any of the actual athletes or at least attempt to engage with the timeline each guess fleshes out.

Best of all, I don’t actually have to engage with the guessing game if I don’t care. Ultimately, it’s a nice balance of appeal for both the fan and bored internet clicker alike.