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   A Memorial University of Newfoundland Publication

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January 22, 2004
 Student View


Game on

Katie Norman
Katie Norman

As a child board games were something to fill rainy Saturday afternoons. All the kids from the neighbourhood would pile into the basement and spread Snakes and Ladders, Clue and Dweebs, Geeks and Weirdos across the carpet. In no time a whole afternoon would have passed and everyone would need to go home for supper. There was a simplicity in life back then and this was reflected in the games. This Christmas vacation I rediscovered the joy of board games.

I hadn’t gotten a new board game in a few years. The last one I remember receiving was the Survivor game, so naturally my collection needed an update. After browsing some big game Web sites I found a whole set of new Trivial Pursuit editions. This was very exciting. Everyone has played the 1970s version of the game and knows how difficult the questions can be. I have completed the ’70s version once in my life and consider it a great accomplishment. Thankfully gone are the days of questions that occurred before my birth. Now there is a 20th anniversary edition where all the questions span from 1983 to the present and a pop culture DVD edition.

A friend of mine, who probably never thought she’d win Trivial Pursuit while playing any of the Genus editions, won for the first time while trying out the DVD. This highlights the recent developments that psychologists have made in recognizing that there are different types of intelligence. Some of us are better at sports and games while others thrive on buzz.

Multiple intelligence has been further emphasized in the recent breakthrough game Cranium. Offering four types of questions, the game is a hodgepodge of Win Lose or Draw, Trivial Pursuit, Charades, and a spelling bee. This game has been cited as the most popular game of 2003. In fact, Cranium is introducing a whole line of board games under the category of games that use the whole brain. This strategy has led to a host of chatter surrounding this game. So much so that it is not uncommon to hear people say, “I love Cranium. It is the best game ever.”

Board games have come out of the basement and people are centering entire parties around them. Many people I know used board games instead of movies or music to entertain their guests during the holiday season. The interaction of a board game leaves people with more memories of the event. There is also the nostalgic feeling one receives after playing a game of Candyland; it rivals a weekend marathon of Astro Boy and Gem. Plus no one can ever go wrong with a little competition.

This tradition of board games as social events began a few years ago with the rise of the Murder Mystery Party.

People would dress up and the host would cook a theme meal while guests acted out their parts and tried to uncover the clues to determine who was guilty.

After some bad acting and hopefully better food the guests would reveal the guilty character and the evening would come to a close. It is almost like do-it-yourself dinner theatre. The unfortunate part about this trend is that the game can only be played once and some versions ran upwards of $60.

Board games are only one type of game that can bring simply joy to a person’s life. Brain busters come in a variety of forms, my favourite being Rush Hour. In selecting a particular traffic jam it is your duty to ensure that the red car gets out of there quickly so it can get to its appointment. A game of simple strategy and placement, it’s perfect for hanging out at the cabin.

People have been getting together to “game” since games were invented. Whether it’s Pokemon, 120’s, a LAN party (a computer party where people hook up their computers and play online games together) or a simple game of Yahtzee there is a lot of fun to be had in games that exist outside the physical sports realm.

While they may not work your biceps and triceps they work your mind and are sure to work your laugh lines, which is a great thing since laughter is the best medicine.


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Next issue: February 5, 2003

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