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Is there a common/official name for visual puzzles that are based strictly on the observation skill - like the common "Where is Waldo" pictures, "find all faces", "count all X in the picture (or find a given number of them), "Spot a thief" and the likes - where the visual mess or tricky composition of the image obscures the location of the puzzle target?

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In the online realm, these are known as "hidden object/picture" games, and the definition also matches those which appear in books. From Wikipedia (emph. not mine):

A hidden object game (sometimes called hidden picture) is a genre of puzzle video game in which the player must find items from a list that are hidden within a picture.

In essence, "Where's Waldo" is just a simpler version of this game, in which the list of items you are looking for has a length of one (though if I recall, there are sometimes more objects to find in Waldo).

Physical copies of these games also, I believe, can go by the same name.

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    $\begingroup$ Note that two-picture "spot the differences" would not be in this category by the given definition since there is not a list of target items. $\endgroup$ – mgkrebbs Jun 1 '14 at 18:42
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    $\begingroup$ @mgkrebbs: One could argue the list is there, but obscured. One picture is the list, the other is where you find elements different than on the list. $\endgroup$ – SF. Dec 23 '14 at 20:27

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