Forget Dan Brown’s “Lost Symbol” memory app

Sep 24, 2009
Games

The Lost Symbol Memory Game takes a classic game of memory and adds an ancient twist to promote Dan Brown’s new novel. The game’s design takes on the theme of the book, which delves into the mysterious history of free masons and uncovers secrets that undoubtedly keep characters running throughout all 528 pages. With 24 […]

The Lost Symbol Memory Game takes a classic game of memory and adds an ancient twist to promote Dan Brown’s new novel.

The game’s design takes on the theme of the book, which delves into the mysterious history of free masons and uncovers secrets that undoubtedly keep characters running throughout all 528 pages. With 24 scroll-like shutters and 13 paired symbols from an unknown ancient alphabet, you have to find all matches in less than 33 turns or you lose.

At first this free app’s sound effects are so cliché they’re endearing. The shutters slide open with a quiet click, but guess wrong and they’ll close again like a cathedral door slamming shut.

In the background, a haunting piano is playing accompanied by deep drums and a clarinet that instantly reminded me of the soundtrack to a poorly acted A&E murder mystery film. The problem is there’s no mute option, and you quickly realize that the song is playing on a 15-second loop that abruptly restarts in the middle of a measure.

The app doesn’t record high scores and doesn’t seem to care about anything more than promoting the novel, which was released September 15.

Not that Dan Brown really needs help selling books—his last novel The Da Vinci Code holds the record for the best-selling novel of all time at 81 million copies and The Lost Symbol sold more than 2 million copies in its first week.

What’s most fascinating about this app is the marketing strategy it represents. In a burgeoning iPhone world, ladies and gentleman, I give you digital swag.

We all love to get free stuff, but you’ll quickly forget this app like all those t-shirts and Frisbees rotting away in the trunk of your car. And that’s okay.

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Steven Yaccino

Steven Yaccino has written for Esquire and U.S.News & World Report, among other magazines. He is currently freelancing in Chicago.

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