How times have changed – Did you get your Lockdown Game on? – By Sonya Harvey
The good old days
Do you remember sitting around the table playing board and card games, laughing and chatting, arguing, and cheering?
The expressions of joy when you threw a double, lay down the winning hand or picked up the card that gave you a special treat – ‘YES!!!’ The groans of disappointment and being a bad loser when ‘they ALWAYS win!’ The thrill of ‘the best of 3’ when you were on even scores.
Watching for signs that your opponents had the edge on you – their ‘tell’, calling their bluff, stealing their treasures, and sometimes letting them win.
Well, how times have changed, don’t you think? Sometimes we still get the actual games out, maybe at Christmas and on other special days or just if it’s raining or our kids have friends to stay.
Nowadays, we more often play games throughout the year on the iPhone, iPad, Computer, Wii, PlayStation, DS, Apps, Programmes, X-Box, via Online Gaming, etc. But playing these can be quite solitary; even when you are playing against an opponent – the computer, another gamer, or participant – you can’t see them. If you’re playing alone, you’re often really competing against yourself or just passing the time; or maybe you’re addicted and have to have your online ‘Bingo’ fix with your morning coffee! Those ‘YES!!!’ and ‘Arrrgghhh!’ expletives just aren’t the same when you’re in the room by yourself and the ‘chat’ facility with ‘high 5 emoji’ or sad face just doesn’t do it really.
Of course, electronic games can also be played together at home – SuperMario, Gran Tourismo, Wii Sports, etc., but is it the same as the old days?
What do you think?
Time to play
I have a few games I play on my phone that I enjoy for a while, then take a break from when I’ve had enough. They take me away from the world for a few minutes or an hour here and there. I resume life either relaxed or sometimes a bit ‘high’ on Adrenalin from winning a badge, reaching another level, or completing a challenge. I’m really into Sudoku, Yahtzee, and Word Collect which feeds my thirst for building my literacy and logic, albeit at a basic level. I’m not one for reaching great heights of academia or competing with others to win, it’s just for fun.
But I do really enjoy board games and cards and we play them at home often – Monopoly, Scrabble, Game of Life, Yahtzee – more than we play computer games together. We’ve also added new games over time – Rapidough, Monopoly Millionaire, and the new Scrabble; I have to admit as well that, we still have some of our daughter’s childhood games and get them out every now and then for a laugh. Fairytale Bracelet, Build a Beetle, and Hungry Hippos being our favourites!
My husband loves his ‘Call of Duty’ and other computer games and my daughter enjoys the Wii. She’s just bought a selection of new games which are the Wii version of the board games we have including Game of Life, which shows how the market has changed. Is there a demand for the digital version, or have they been created so the demand is there?
During lockdown, I did play a game of Scrabble with Suzanne. We did it via FaceTime and it was good, although we had to improvise as we had different models of the game. The squares on the boards were different, so the scoring was quite off, but we were enjoying the company and chat more than winning the game.
There have been lots of games within and between households during the last 3 months that kept people occupied, happy, and active. Some particular ones I thought were really good were those that helped people who live alone and/or who miss socialising more widely. Facebook Isolation Disco where people posted a video of them dancing at home to a chosen tune. Every Saturday night – they put in so much effort and had so much encouragement that the whole concept took off on a national level and it was on BBC News as a great mental health support network.
Also, the TikTok App offered activities such as toilet roll bowling, Synchronised dancing, and mind-boggling tricks as well as lots of fun things and heartfelt messages that were shared, and mesmerised the global population.
The best of times?
It’s occurred to me that we have been so fortunate to have the technology available to connect with people during lockdown so we can make the best of the situation – enjoying social activities despite being isolated. Having more choice of how we interact and play when the options are limited; incorporating game-playing styles we seldom use to enhance time with others in the same situation.
I wonder, though, did we benefit more than people who had to cope with such global problems before the internet, 5G, and Apps?
Maybe we did, as those of us over about 40 remember what it was like before game technology and maybe we have adapted so we can make the best of the game of life we are playing – Game, set, and match!
Thank You Sonya!
Thank you Sonya for your great article, and to one which many can relate. I know puzzles became very popular too during the lockdown with many online suppliers running out. My kids had great fun with zoom quiz nights with their friends and many parents & children enjoyed family bonding time with their different games.