Magic Eyes in Escape Rooms

Back in the early 1990s, Magic Eyes were all sorts of popular.

The idea was that if you looked at this seemingly non-objective, wavy, pixel image in the correct way, you would see an image hidden within it.

An array of multi-colored stars arranged in a seemingly random pattern overlapping one another. When looked at correctly, the image reveals Saturn. (which looks about as old as the Internet itself) provides instructions for how to do these things:

Hold the center of the printed image right up to your nose. It should be blurry. Focus as though you are looking through the image into the distance. Very slowly move the image away from your face until the two squares above the image turn into three squares. If you see four squares, move the image farther away from your face until you see three squares. If you see one or two squares, start over!

When you clearly see three squares, hold the page still, and the hidden image will magically appear. Once you perceive the hidden image and depth, you can look around the entire 3D image. The longer you look, the clearer the illusion becomes. The farther away you hold the page, the deeper it becomes. Good Luck!

If you apply this method correctly on the above image, you should see the planet Saturn.

The catch

A fair number of folks cannot see these things. I spent a stupid amount of time back in elementary school desperately trying to see just one Magic Eye, but I never accomplished it.

When we encountered one of these in an escape room, no one on our team could see the image. Our gamemaster had to tell us the answer.

After the game, I was wondering if younger generations even know what these things are. My entirely non-scientific poll revealed that no one I know under the age of 25 even knows what a Magic Eye is.

If you don’t know what a Magic Eye is, you won’t know what to do with it. Even if you know what you’re supposed to do, there’s a good chance you still won’t be able to do it.

These things don’t belong in escape games. Leave them back in the 90s.


  1. I disagree – we do have these in one of our rooms, but also include a clearly labeled “cheat” for people who can’t see them that gives them the images found in the magic eyes…
    Also I loved the 90’s 🙂

  2. That Saturn image was the first Magic Eye image that I have successfully seen. It was so thrilling to see one successfully after so many years of thinking I was unable to see them. The aspect of moving the image away from yourself VERY SLOWLY was key for me. Until today, I hated Magic Eyes with the same passion as Elaine’s boss did during their memorable appearance on Seinfeld.

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