Sunday, January 13, 2013

iPad App: A Memory Game

A Memory Game App
A Memory Game on iTunes (free)

What it is: Basic memory/concentration game where you start with 20 "face down" cards, and picking 2 at a time try to match pairs. When pairs are found, they are removed from the board. It is one of the few memory/concentration game apps I've found that is not targeted at children with cute pictures of animals and such. The images are crisp and clear and definitely favor adults. There's no distractions such as unnecessary animation. Very basic, very clean, and I can't believe it's free!

Screen image 1: playing with flags
You can play the game using flags or symbols. The first is flags of countries where the card shows both the flag and the name of the country (see screen image 1). Symbols are black and white simple images such as pencil, flower, airplane, etc. (see screen image 2); they are all very clear and easy to tell apart, but there is no text or color.

As you play the game keeps track of your tries and how many pairs have been cleared. At the end of a game you're presented with a message that tells you how many moves it took you to clear the board.

How we can use it in Tx: Obviously the way to use it is let your client play this game. I would consider the flags option as the more basic, easier, level. Flag images come with context: the name of the country is provided which gives a player something to hold on to in memory. There's also colors that help visually distinguish each card. The symbols option is definitely more complex as there is no text, and there are no colors. A player would have to name the image and hold on to just that word and location to continue matching.

Screen image 2: playing with symbols
The flag option provides you with plenty of opportunity not only for various cuing levels, but also to practice various memory strategies. As a card is opened the flag and country that is presented can be discussed. What do you know about that country? What continent is it in? Are you familiar with that region? Have you ever been there or wanted to go there? Did you recognize the flag? Do you like the colors of the particular flag? And references can be made to the location of the card itself (e.g., this country is a southern country, and hey, it's at the top of our board... it should have been at the bottom). OK, I'm reaching here, but my point is that this simple set of images presents us with lots of opportunities to model and practice memory strategies.

Goals we can target with this app: Memory (STM and to an extent working memory) obviously; certainly some scanning/visual field neglect. Focus/attention and following directions, as well as categorizing to an extent as part of flag/country discussion.

Some specific examples: I don't know that specific examples are needed in this case: just play the game using flags option, and decide on the level of cuing you want to provide. If you are targeting specific memory strategies (like repeating or visualizing) you can write goals for implementing those strategies while playing this game. And you can use the stats provided at the end if you want to help you measure accuracy and progress.

Brain-training: For the regular (not rehab-patient) population, this game can provide great training for memory. If you want it more challenging, certainly use the symbols option over the flag one. On the other hand, with just 20 cards, this will never get TOO challenging, just fun.