'Where's Waldo'

The Unfair Reason Why Waldo’s Not What He Used to Be

I’m not really into being bamboozled, and, boy, do I feel bamboozled right about now.


At some point in our youth we were all given the glorious and challenging book that is Where’s Waldo? Nothing makes you ooze nostalgia quite like that signature red and white striped sweater and hat set. Plus those round spectacles are quite suave. I’ll say this: he is one sneaky dude, but good men are hard to find these days, and, apparently, so are small men…


In a study shown on Slate, they discovered that the reason Waldo is so hard to spot these days isn’t our aging brains. He’s just grown a hell of a lot smaller. More specifically, 80% smaller. Since 1987, kids (and some easily amused adults) have been able to find Waldo without an unreasonable amount of trouble. However, in recent years Martin Handford has decided to up the challenge, because, well, that’s what the people want.


Check out this scale:


'Where's Waldo'

Image Via Slate


On the left is a scene from a 1987 book and the right in from 2009. On the left Waldo takes up a good amount of space as he travels through the snow. As for the right, it took me a good few minutes to find him in the prehistoric mess of a scene. Yes, I do wear glasses and contacts, but that’s not the point. If you need a hint, go to the 40 mark on the tape measure and move right. See that little face behind the huge dinosaur and wild jungle growth? Yeah, that’s Waldo. His notable sweater that helps him stand apart from the crowd is no where to be seen. How unfair.



'Where's Waldo?'

Image Via Slate


Slate’s chart shows Waldo as the ever-shrinking man over the years. In addition to scale, his visibility quickly declined as the number of objects in the scenes quickly increased, because why not? From 225 figures to 850, that’s a huge jump! But I guess nothing is like the good ol’ days and people want to pump their neurons with a good Waldo search.


If you have someone in mind that would like one of the Where’s Waldo books this season, just make sure they’re going to be up to the challenge.


Feature Image Via Shop Local Raleigh