A Stroll Down Memory Lane

Saigon’s streets are difficult to navigate whether on foot, two, three or four wheels, and a strong memory is a must in order to get from point A to B without getting lost. The Saigon Memory Game comes to the rescue with a variation on the familiar and simple matching pairs memory game. Creators Pauline Portheine and Baja van Huls have compiled 20 images of everyday Saigon life in a game that tests the memory and celebrates the vibrancy of the city.

It is not the first city they’ve turned into a game, according to Pauline. “The first city was Shanghai in 2007. My friend Baja, a photographer, was struggling to learn Chinese. She realized that images are, for her, the best way to learn.” Surrounded by overwhelming sights of Shanghai, Baja began taking photos across the city and the idea of turning the images into a game soon followed. “She didn’t take photos like a tourist would, but as an expat. She focused on her own memories and experiences of living in the city.” After her success in Shanghai, Baja continued the project in Beijing and Bangkok.

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In Saigon, she partnered with Pauline, using the latter’s inside knowledge of the city to map out key images to capture. The city was so photogenic it was difficult to limit the photos to a reasonable number. “We chose photographs that are appealing to expats and tourists, so obviously we include all the famous landmarks, but we also tried to catch the essence of Vietnam, taking photos at all different times of day and all across the city,” says Pauline. “The whole project took two to three months. It was quite quick as the idea was already there. Getting the photographs took around a month.”

The game costs VND400,000 and is available at l’Usine (70 Le Loi, D1), Kokois (24 Thao Dien, D2), Gingko Concept (254 De Tham, D1) and Duy Tan (76a Le Loi, D1).

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