COLONIAL GAMING: I. Kirk Playing Cards

For the previous entry on Colonial playing cards, see this post on the I. Hardy Great Mogul deck.

In addition to the I. Hardy reproduction playing cards produced for Colonial Williamsburg, there is also a reproduction of the “Aesop’s Fables” deck made by I. Kirk in the 18th century. Or, as the label calls them, “SUPERFINE HARRY THE VIII CARDS.”

As with the I. Hardy deck, this one is wrapped in a reproduction of the royal tax stamp, complete with an embossed seal and threat of Dire Consequences for anyone who sells the deck without the stamp. In this case, the penalty is “X Pounds Duty pr. pack Penalty If Sold Unlabelled.” (Remember: that would have been about 1/3rd of the average middle-class annual salary.)

The card wrapper is even more serious about where and when you use and sell these cards. Under a truly awful portrait of a truly awful man (King Henry VIII) is the warning “For exportation. Fifty pounds penalty is relanded [in an English port], and twenty pounds penalty if sold or used in Great Britain.” 

The cards themselves are excellent examples of the printer’s art for the time. Although each card is crowded with text and imagery to the point of distraction, they are quite well made. The actual playing card element is limited to a postage-stamp-sized image crowded, almost as an afterthought, into the upper lefthand corner. The rest of the card is given over to an illustration of one of Aesop’s Fables, along with a little doggerel verse and a two-line moral. As with almost all cards of the period, the backs are blank.
Click to enlarge

App O’ The Mornin’: Crazy Parachute Review

Price: $1

As high-concepts go, “Bird Strike in reverse” is as simple as you can get. And that’s exactly what Colorbox gives us in Crazy Parachute.

Instead of flying up and then plummeting down, Crazy Parachute just has the plummeting part. There are four cute cartoon characters who start at the door of an airplane. After a 3-second countdown, you tap the screen to jump from the plane. 

As your character falls, tilt right or left to avoid certain obstacles while passing over others. Birds, for instance, will slow your descent, while picking up a shield will allow you to smash right through the birds. Along the way, you want to pick up coins and be the first to land safely. This is done by opening your chute at the last safe moment. Open it too late, and you’re a pancake.

As you successfully complete levels, you get to drop from higher altitudes, which means more opportunity to gather stuff. There are a few more powerups to be discovered along the way, such as balloons and birds, but the game is a little thin on content. 

This one is probably a good option for kids who find Bird Strike a little too tough. The production is a bit uneven. There are glitches: sometimes the countdown clock doesn’t appear, sometimes it doesn’t respond to taps. The music is an endless (and endlessly irritating) loop. There are only 4 characters to choose from, but they’re fairly cute and add to the over-all kid-friendliness of the title. It’s not a winner, but it’s a nice little distraction.