Flash Invaders: Another Game for a World on Pause

“It’s so satisfying when I take a picture and hear the little sound,” Ms. de la Rochefordière said.

There are over 1,000 mosaics in Paris, where the first pixelated alien invaded the Bastille neighborhood in 1996. The retro tiles have long rewarded attentive Parisians with interludes of color in the otherwise muted city, mostly on street corners but also under bridges and on out-of-the-way curbs. When the phone game was introduced by the artist in 2014, that once-private satisfaction became a communal sport.

For every casual flâneur like Ms. de la Rochefordière, there is a hunter. “I spend so much time on Google Street View that once I arrive, I have the impression that I’ve already been there,” said Stéphanie Aubert, 50, a journalist in Marseille who is ranked 102 out of more than 151,000 players.

The several thousand mosaics by Invader beyond Paris are a boon for players who travel often and have a knack for adventure. Completists must snorkel for underwater Invader…

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