Synopsis of Toy
Memory had to be one of the sneakiest games ever, hands down. Sure, it was always a blast to flip the cards and try to match them up—especially fun when the game involved more than one player, thus working in some mano-a-mano excitement. What the poor souls playing Memory didn’t know was that they were actually developing important educational abilities like concentration and matching skills at the same time. That’s right: you weren't just having fun, you were getting smarter.
Milton Bradley released Memory in 1966, a game for children aged 4 to 6. On one side of each of the 72 included cards was a colorful drawing; on the other side was the game’s logo. These non-logo drawings all came in pairs, so there were 36 possible match-ups in the game. The game was played by shuffling a series of paired cards, laying them face down, and then trying to match them up again. If 36 was a bit much, the amount of pairs could be lowered or raised to match the players’ ages and skill levels.
Basically, Memory was a clever way to teach children matching and memory skills, with the added bonus of teaching them how to concentrate. Another neat thing about Memory was that it could be played solo or with others: playing it in a group offered the thrill of competition, but playing it alone offered a unique ability to challenge yourself and develop thinking skills. Either way, the end result was hours of unexpectedly educational fun.
Memory became an instant hit with the game-buying public. It also became a staple of the toy area in nursery schools and kindergartens because of its educational value. Since it was an entirely image-based game, it translated well to different countries and also lent itself to being remade in new versions with new images. Thus, everyone from Mickey Mouse to Barney the Dinosaur has gotten his own version of Memory.
Today, Memory remains as popular as ever, because the challenge it offers is an enduring one. No matter how many times you play the game, you can always challenge yourself to solve it just a little bit quicker. Besides, after playing it once or twice, youngsters usually get hooked on Memory’s sneakily learning-themed thrills.