According to the The Columbus Disatch, Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann is legalizing Match 'Um Up because it is a "game of skill". How is it a game of skill? Among other things, according to the article, it requires memorizing 128 patterns, and then reacting appropriately within 83 ms and 333 ms windows to a related observation. Is this possible? After all, we have been taught that the human eye can only distinguish things within 1/60th of a second, or 17ms. That means that the 83 ms reaction time is only five frames.

So to test whether this is a possible skill, I have made a "game" which only requires you to memorize two things, the numbers "1" and "2", and react to them by pressing the associated key on your keyboard within the the alloted time window.

Can you do it? After you click the "start" button, there will be a countdown to the start of the game. When you see the large umber "1" or "2", press "1" or "2" on the keyboard, within the 83ms or 333ms time allotted. If you get it wrong, if you are too slow, or if you anticipate a number and press a key when no number is showing, you lose. How many can you get right? Any?

This demonstration requires at least Java 1.5. Please download it from If you are reading this, and can see the applet, then you are probably using a buggy version of Internet Explorer. I recommend using a real browser.

For full transparency, the API, which links to the source code, is available.

If you enjoy the game, you can download it and play off-line. Once you've downloaded it, save it anywhere, and then

Find react.jar in Finder, and double-click it.
Unix, including Linux and MacOS
In a terminal/xterm/console cd to the directory in which you saved react.jar and then type
java -jar react.jar
Find react.jar using Windows Explorer or My Computer, and double-click it.

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Copyright © 2007 Jeremy Michelson.