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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Loteria gets a millennial makeover

Dated images in classic card game get a tongue-in-cheek update

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The card game Lotería, sometimes described as Mexican bingo, has been played by generations of Latino children. But one Angelino decided it was time for a makeover.

Mike Alfaro, now 30, noticed one card depicting “La Dama,” the lady. It felt antiquated. Then other cards suddenly felt a little racist or classist.

Traditional Loteria images. Photo: WikiMedia Commons

So with tongue firmly in cheek, Alfaro began reimagining Loteria for a new generation.

“La Calavera,” the skull, is now “El Gluten.”

“El Paraguas,” the umbrella, is “El Safe Space.”

“La Campana,” the bell, is “El Notification” — the type you get on Facebook, for example.

His parody project, rendered in Spanglish, has caught fire on social media, and his packaged game sold out quickly on Amazon.

“I think we need to find a way to represent Latinos in a more modern way,” Alfaro, who is a creative director at a Los Angeles advertising agency by day, told the New York Times. “And I wanted to look at Hispanic life through a millennial lens. There’s some tension in the idea: We’re fighting Hispanic stereotypes and we’re winking at millennial stereotypes at the same time. I wanted to make something that does these things with this little wink, a little joy, with some nostalgia to it. And it has really resonated with people.”

Alfaro’s resume lists corporate clients like Honda and Jack in the Box, and among many professional awards and achievements, he includes a “Gold Star in Mr. Adam’s English Class.”

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