Memory Reloaded: the downfall

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http://www.molleindustria.org/memory/memory_reloaded.html

Personally, I enjoy matching games that are based on memory. I feel like everyone has played a game similar to this. However, upon reading the directions for this game, my suspicion rose. The fact that the directions were stressing that we are in “unstable times” and that the player must step onto the “battlefield” of our memory shows that there was going to be a twist and not be your average matching game. It ends with saying that, “history may be different from that which you remember.”

The game starts like any other matching game: cards face down. The player must one by one click a card and find it’s match somewhere else on the board. The rules are really simple. As I turned each card over one by one, it would show things like The Ruthless Banker or Natural Climate Change. The strategy behind this is to bring up current societal topics and involve them to send a message. However, upon trying to match each card, I noticed that the cards were changing. For example, I knew for a fact that the Natural Climate Change card was located in the top right hand corner because I had just clicked on that card and exposed it. When I clicked it, it now said, “Man-Made Global Warming.” As a result, it was not a match so I had to pick a different card. This is a metaphor for showing that all of the world’s problems are not so easy to solve and are constantly changing. The game recognizes that I know where that card is at, so it made it more difficult to match. The same thing happened with Afghan Freedom Fighter. When I knew where its partner was, I clicked it, but it had turned into Afghan Terrorist.

The game does a good job showing the change in cards. An underlying message could be that when things seem good, there is not always a match. For example,”natural climate change” may seem like a favorable option, but the fact that it’s paired with Man-Made Global Warming shows that it is not natural. It does the same with many controversial topics such as healthcare, freedom fighting, population, etc.

I think it’s an effective format for a game. People are familiar with this style of game and enjoy being able to match similar cards. However, the game takes you for a twist and forces you to think about what is being said. It’s simple and short, which often times make for the most effective messages.

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3 comments
  1. aishamalek said:

    I wholly agree that many things about the mechanics of Memory Reloaded: The Downfall give it the ability to convey a message. The simplicity of the controls and the use of a familiar type of game make it approachable. With the seemingly-conventional design, the twist to the rules in which the texts and images on the cards would change without warning catches the player off guard. Memory Reloaded provokes the player to think about why the cards are changing, exemplifying the nature of the “unstable times” we live in.

    After playing the game for myself, I felt that the changes in cards was reflective of the nature of dueling perspectives in our society, and perhaps the futility of bipartisan politics. For example, although the different terminologies, such as “natural climate change” and “man-made global warming” refer to the same thing, the player wouldn’t be allowed to match them together. It shows how current societal issues are complex, which leads to such instability.

  2. MrWesley said:

    Kyle,

    I really enjoyed this game. It was able to convey a message in an enjoyable way, and I was interested enough that I played it twice so that I could see what all of the cards would change into.
    One other thing I noticed about the cards when they changed is that many of them would change from what was once perceived as a good thing, such as universal health care or a migrant workforce to something that is now considered to be a problem (socialized health care and the “Mexican Invasion”). I think that in this way, it is also trying to show that many of today’s problems are the same issues that existed in the recent past. The actual issue hasn’t changed, just our perception of it. What used to be a welcome source of cheap labor is now an “invasion.” So while the game does a good job of showing how quickly issues can change (such as with Iraqi oil changing to weapons of mass destruction) it also shows how some of today’s issues are just the same issues as before, with a change in our perception of them.

    -Wes

  3. Micah Kantrowitz said:

    After playing this game, I have a few thoughts. Firstly, I agree that the simplicity and universality of the game really makes it easy and fun to play. Growing up we have all played a game with the same rules so it was easy to jump right in. On the other hand though, I think the game’s message is being far too simplified. These issues are true and real issue that the nation and the world are faced with. It almost feels like the game is belittling the issues to a phrase and picture without giving the issue enough “respect”. People on both sides of all the issues presented to the game feel very strongly about their ideology. With this being said, it does not seem appropriate to portray the issues in this way. I think that the game is really on to something with its presentation, but there should be more details and maybe a link to a news article so the gamers can become more informed on the topic and issue. Besides that, I enjoyed playing the game and like the concept behind it.

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