Thursday, February 14, 2013

Pikku, the Finnish Memory game

As promised, this week I'm strolling down Memory game lane. I got this one on my storied trip to Finland back in 1975, and look how beautiful it is! You wouldn't expect anything less from a Finnish Memory game, would you now. I've talked about how I only had a few things with which to amuse myself on that three-week trip—complimentary puzzles and art supplies given to all kids on the Finnair flight, a farm-animal stencil kit, my Asterix books, my brother's Tintin books, a book about mammals entirely in Finnish... Well, suffice to say, I squeezed a lot of good times out of this game, on the trip and for many years after. Like the Eames House of Cards, its images are burned on my retinas, deposited for good in my memory bank, and see below—there's even at least one photograph from the House of Cards, the nails (or are they pins? I've never been sure).

Sometimes I let my kids play with this game, when I'm feeling very generous, but mostly it stays on a high shelf of treasures while they use their own, a 1980 version put out by Milton-Bradley, which I forgot to photograph but you can see all over etsy (like here, for example). It's cute, but not as cute as this one—nor is it a repository of my precious memories!

But the 1980 Memory is waay cuter than the current incarnation put out by Hasbro, which is seriously fugly. My kids have received several over the years as birthday presents, and I keep donating them or regifting them yet somehow there's always one in the game closet. Maybe it's like the proverbial single fruitcake being passed around the universe?

I think if you want a new Memory game that in any way rivals the vintage ones you have to make it yourself. As I was photographing these game cards a couple weeks ago, I suddenly realized how much their perfect squareness makes them resemble Instagram photos (really good Instagram photos, anyway, not so much the ones of your dinner or your latte). Naturally, I thought I'd hit on a great money-making idea—custom Memory games made out of your favorite Instagrams!—but a few seconds of googling confirmed that I was a little late to that particular party. But is anyone Instagramming images of vintage Memory games and turning them into Insta-Vintage Memory games? Hmmm... that might just be meta enough to work...

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