I’ve talked about the magical properties of the word “vintage” before, but I’ve never addressed its dark side. You see, “vintage” these days tends to be a catchall term used as a euphemism for “old”. Personally, I don’t have any problem with old things, but recognize that “vintage” is next to meaningless. Call something “vintage” and you could be talking about Don Draper or you could be talking about the Ramones.
In the case of Vintage Halloween Cards, the app doesn’t even tell you anything about where the cards are coming from, although from the looks of them, I’d guess most of them are roughly Victorian era, and probably all freely available in the public domain. The $1.99 probably doesn’t buy you any exclusive or original content you couldn’t dig up on the Internet yourself, but the app does the digging for you, so all you have to do is hand over your pennies and enjoy.
If your taste runs to the Victorian, this is a handsome collection, with a fair amount of pretty and colorful variety. The app itself is very barebones and minimalist, really nothing more than a photo gallery, but it does give you access to over 100 images that you can download and save to your hearts content. They’re lovely images, but the scans are not high quality, so while they look fine on the iPhone, I wouldn’t plan on blowing up any of these to poster-size.
Even though I liked the image gallery, I absolutely hated the interface. It’s easy and intuitive to use, only requiring a quick flick to move to the next card, but flipping through over 100 images one by one gets very tedious after awhile. Although you can download as many as you please, there’s no easy way to mark out your favorites, so have your own organization method on hand if you plan on downloading many of these.
Also, there’s no built-in sharing mechanism, so if you want to share the cards with others, you’ll have to go into your phone’s photo gallery to email it out. There is also no way to write on the cards, so if you want to include a message, you’ll have to write it separately in the email or text rather than writing it onto the card itself.
Ultimately, it’s a very lovely collection of cards, but the app doesn’t give you much more utility than a simple Google search would, and it leaves out features I would have considered crucial, like the ability to email images from within the app itself.
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