Warning: This post includes strobing GIFs.
When you click and drag a GIF, the image you see while dragging stops moving, giving you a freeze-frame from the GIF’s animation loop. At some point, someone figured out that you could turn this into a game like rolling dice or flipping through a deck of cards.
For example, this GIF cycles through posters for the top-rated films in theaters right now. Click and drag to see which movie you should see this weekend! (N.B. Whatever the answer, you should just go see Mad Max: Fury Road.)
The subreddit /r/clickanddraggifs has grown popular over the past few days, with redditors submitting plenty of creative new additions to the meme. Here’s a useful one to add little chaos to your Reddit usage: a GIF that tells you when to upvote or downvote at random.
And here’s one that cycles through different reaction memes:
So far, most of Reddit’s click-and-drag GIFs are simple choices like which video game to play next. But on Tumblr, the click-and-drag GIF genre evolved past this long ago.
Click-and-drag GIFs are mostly used in choose-your-own-adventure fanfic games, with a multiple-GIF post illustrating different aspects of the story. This relatively simple one tells you which Supernatural character is your first kiss, which is your worst enemy, and so on.
They’re also used for writing prompts, giving you some inspiration if you’re out of ideas. Need help thinking of character traits for your post-apocalyptic heroine? Here you go:
Click-and-drag GIFs are the online equivalent of those origami fortune-tellers you made in elementary school, except with more anime references and NSFW fanfic prompts. Our favorite so far is this silly insult generator from Tumblr user ben-c, a universally useful public service.
You preposterous…desk lamp?
Photo via Sandstein/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY SA 3.0)