Creator control

Since nearly the beginning of Match The Memory, the person who plays the game has had a lot of control when it comes to the number of cards with which to play the game. The card count feature allows a player to select any number of cards, as I explained in a previous blog entry:

By default, when you come to play one of our memory games, you get all of that game’s cards. But at any point in the game play, you can decide to use fewer cards. Just use the “# of Cards” dropdown and select a lower number. Boom, you’re playing a much easier version of the game.

This can be somewhat problematic, for a couple of reasons. First, the player has to know to switch the dropdown. Some games (like the periodic table matching games that we created) contain a huge number of cards, which isn’t a great experience for the people trying to match those cards. Sure, a teacher could link to the version of the game that contains an appropriate number of cards, but not a lot of people know that trick.

The second reason this isn’t ideal is that the person who creates a game may want their players to use all of the cards, for whatever reason. It could be that they’re a teacher who wants their students to cover all of the material that the game presents. It could be that they’re a company running a contest, checking how many seconds or how many flips it took each player to complete the game. (Using the “# of cards” dropdown in this case could be an easy way to “cheat” and get a lower score.)

So this week, we decided to add a few new features that fix both of those problems and give creators more control over how their games are played, while still allowing players some flexibility in how they choose to play the game. All of these features are managed in the game editor page’s “Game Details” tab, under the new “Gameplay Options” section.

To address the first issue, we added the ability to set a default card count to each game. The game creator can decide what a reasonable default for their game is. That is, if someone goes to our “The Periodic Table Memory Game” without choosing anything from the dropdown, they’ll now get 30 pairs of cards, instead of cards representing all 118 elements. Each time they reload the game, they’ll get a random subset of all of the possible cards, the same as if the teacher had linked directly to

Any masochistic students may choose to still play with all 118 pairs of cards, but the default experience is much more manageable. If a teacher decided that 118 cards was too many, they could make a game with all 118 cards, but set the new maximum card count option to 50, or 20, or 10, to limit players to a random subset of 10 cards of the possible 118.

The default default number of cards, and the default maximum number of cards is the same as it always was — as many cards as there are in a game. However, we have updated all of the games that we created with large numbers of cards to have more reasonable defaults: 30 for the periodic table games mentioned above, 20 for our “US States” based games (capitals, shapes, flags, and nicknames), and 20 each for the vast number of characters in The Simpsons and Game of Thrones. We didn’t change any of our maximums — go nuts, GoT fans.

To fix the second problem, we created a new minimum card count feature that lets a user force their players to play with at least the number of cards specified. We could decide that our shapes game is too easy for those lazy preschoolers who only want to match two shapes. So instead, we can set the minimum to 4 cards, and allow the player to choose anywhere between 4 and 7 pairs to play with.

The minimum number of cards could be the same as the maximum, in which case the “# of cards” dropdown doesn’t even show up for the player.

We hope that these changes help you create games that your players will enjoy!

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (Oh, there it is!)

In a previous post about tagging, I addressed some of the problems inherent in how Match The Memory is currently built, specifically that games aren’t particularly discoverable. At the end of that post, I promised that finding games would be better in a new version of the site that’s coming “soon”.

(Update: The “new version” of the site was released in August 2018, with both search and tags pages being *much* faster than their original implementations.)

Since then, I’ve gone on a holiday game building bender, creating several new Christmas games that I thought would be enjoyable to a broad range of people. But this week, my wife helped me see that adding a bunch of games doesn’t help if people can’t find those games. So I decided to do something about it.

Continue reading I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (Oh, there it is!)

Counting Cards

Sometimes you come across a Match The Memory game that has too many cards for you to complete at once. Theoretically, you could match all 118 elements on our Periodic Table memory game, or all 50 US states in our states shapes game, or even all 58 denizens of Springfield, USA, but it would probably take you a long time.

We have a feature that lets you bite-size any game. We call it the “card count” feature, and it shows up in the top right corner of each game.

By default, when you come to play one of our memory games, you get all of that game’s cards. But at any point in the game play, you can decide to use fewer cards. Just use the “# of Cards” dropdown and select a lower number. Boom, you’re playing a much easier version of the game.

The Match The Memory system randomly chooses that number of cards, along with their correct matches. In this People of Springfield example, I picked a much more manageable 10 cards, for a total of 20 matches.

You’ll notice in the screenshot above that the URL changes to show how many cards you selected. You can link to a version of the game that has as many cards as you want by adding a query parameter to the URL. So a chemistry teacher can give her class a big challenge by linking to the full web site address, or make the game a bit easier for the students by sending them to , where they’ll only get 10 different chemical elements.

Have fun counting cards!

It’s hip to be square

In general, pictures are best shown either horizontally or vertically. Pictures of people are usually shot in the “portrait” orientation, while most other photos are generally taken in “landscape” orientation. That’s why we built Match The Memory to default a game’s cards to the Landscape layout, with the option of switching them to Portrait. This lets you have your images as big as possible on your cards. (Pro tip: if more of your cards are vertical than horizontal, we suggest that you change that game to Portrait.)

However, sometimes you have a picture that doesn’t really fit either Landscape or Portrait. Whether it’s a drawing of an atom or your latest Instagram selfie, sometimes you need a square. That’s why we just added a new Square layout option to Match The Memory.

In addition to possibly fitting your images better, Square cards are bigger — the same height as Portrait cards and the same width as Landscape cards.

Try out the new Square orientation on a new or existing custom memory game. Let us know about specific games that you think are better having square cards rather than horizontal or vertical ones.

Play it again, Sam

Previously, when you finished playing a game and wanted to play that same game again, you had to reload the page. We had a “Start Over” button that helped you do this instead of manually triggering your browser, but the effect was the same. You had to transfer a bunch of data from the Match The Memory site again. This was a vestige of the very first version of the game that used some old technology.

Continue reading Play it again, Sam

Put a pin in it

No, we’re not talking about Pinterest. You’ve been able to save a Match The Memory game to Pinterest for several years, and many people have done so.

This post is about a new feature requested by one of our users. A teacher named Sydney emailed me the other day, asking if I could implement a new feature:

… add a toggle to hold after each guess. So if I guess one card, it flips, then I guess a second card and it flips. Then, if they aren’t matches, the cards stay flipped over until I click something to flip them back.

Continue reading Put a pin in it

Other kinds of personalized memory games (and why Match The Memory is better)

When I first decided to create Match The Memory, it was a lightning-struck-my-brain kind of moment.  I didn’t know anything about what other kinds of games existed, either to play online or for purchase of a physical game.  It was just an idea while I was at my parents’ cabin: I could create a pretty cool game that someone could personalize, play online, and print.

Once I got home and started creating the site, I looked into my competition, and I what I found didn’t impress me much.  There are three basic kinds of memory games out there, and I’ll go through each of them and discuss their shortcomings and how Match The Memory overcomes those faults to make for a great game experience. Continue reading Other kinds of personalized memory games (and why Match The Memory is better)