We now live in a world of pictures. Every person is carrying a camera and through social media people’s faces and activities are shown to the world. But it is not just through the major media outlets that people express themselves to the world around them. Christmas cards today display family photos and wedding playing cards are distributed to guests with pictures of the married couple on the back of the cards to mention just a couple of other outlets. In restaurants and bars people with their smartphones are showing off each of the other’s latest adventures and happy times through the power of pictures. Then there is the medical connection with pictures: these days there is a growing awareness of memory concerns caused by various disease processes, and pictures can play an important part in exercising the brain. One is told constantly that exercising the body is critical to maintaining one’s physical health. Isn’t logical that the brain too needs to be exercised? While there exists memory apps for cranial exercising most of them leave out a vital component, socialization. The physical exercising machine companies and health clubs are aware of the value of socialization of exercising by building in video displays of trainers into their machines and of course health clubs put the machines in a social setting.
Question: How could all these examples of using pictures be brought together into a single app?
That is, how could one put sharing lives through pictures of special personal activities, events, interests, achievements, family, friends, memory exercising, and socialization be all put into one free app? It’s called “Picture This” available at the Apple Store and Google Play. It is a game that is based on the age-old playing card game of matching turned over cards with several twists built into the app. Instead of using the face card (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace with 4 suits of Hearts, Clubs, Spades, and Diamond), the face of the card is transformed into an uploaded picture by the player(s). Points are rewarded if two cards match but there is yet another twist. The player who uploaded a picture from either their camera or library can attach a caption to the picture which must be picked from the other player(s) pictures and captions. These photos can be pictures from the past if one is interested in exercising both short term memory (locating the matching card) with long term memory (identifying the people/places/thing) of the presented picture. In the case of playing with grandparents, the game can be set up for a particular purpose. For example: if the grandparent’s occupation was farming, the uploaded pictures could be focused on the theme of farming. If the occupation was truck driving, the focus could involve trucks, etc. If playing with very young children, the pictures could be of things like an airplane with the caption being the correct spelling of “airplane”. In this case, one could actually create math tables where a match of a picture of a “4” could have a caption of “8” in the case of addition or “16” in the case of multiplication.
The point is, one can make the game be what one want’s it to be based on the players. Think of the difference in pictures depending on the setting: wedding reception, baby shower, graduation, bridal shower, bachelorette/bachelor party (pictures are never stored or shared after the game ends and no game and the pictures of it can last more than two hours), bar trivia night, waiting rooms with a TV, the list of situations, environments, settings, etc. is endless. In addition there is not a limit as to how much distance can be between the players; across the country or across the table. However, one can limit their game by making it a “private game” (only invited players or players knowing the game password can play) or by limiting the game to only players within 1000 feet of each other.
Another great feature of the game is texting while in the game to other players. That is, whether you know the other player(s) or not personally, one can communicate with them even if you do not know where they are or who they are. Not to worry about inappropriate “talk”; any such text will be substituted with “******”.
Many free app games are sponsored by advertisers who try to get the user to click on something intentionally or unintentionally to push the user to a web-site (sometimes inappropriate for some users). Not so with Picture This. The game is paid for and therefore free, by three different means: 1) Advertisers (“Sponsors”) can create a card back that promotes their company, business, or product (which must be approved by the writers of the game app) and designate what geographical area (city[s], state[s], or national) they wish the back of the card to be used when games are created and played; 2) players or businesses can create their own Custom Card Back for their use only when they create games for others to play (example: a bar on trivia night would want their own business promotion on the back of the card); 3) players can buy the premium version of the game and not ever receive ads (only generic card backs) on the back of their cards when creating games for players to use.
Social media is dominated by just a few major companies who’s rules one has to follow. Picture This is like having one’s own platform since each game that is created is “designed” by the creator of the game who sets the rules and purpose of the game and the choice of audience. Could it be that a game played extensively 75+ years ago now becomes a means for those same people to exercise their minds by utilizing both short and long term memory in the same exercise help them now retain memory of the people around them and make the social interaction with them more rewarding for all?.