In my house we play loads of electronic games but often slow down on the weekends to finish jigsaw puzzles and play anything from The Game of Life to Super Mario Monopoly Jr. to one of the newer versions of Uno. A recent trip to Target showcased a dizzying array of new (to me) games, including Jumanji (which I snagged and actually can’t wait to play even though we all know how that movie ends!).
It all made me wonder, when it comes to game selection, what’s your fancy and what does it say about you?
Games offer more than just distraction. Some offer insights into how we think. Take the scary Ouija board, for example — as Kathleen Murphy writes, recent research has revealed possible clinical applications for the game that “may in fact provide a portal into the secrets of human consciousness.”
They also offer respite — especially the silly ones — says Ryan Rucker, who suggests Taco vs. Burrito, a fun, easy-to-play food-fight romper invented by a 7-year-old. “The game is insane, and it’s the best,” Rucker writes. “My three-year-old likes to play, and although she plays wrong most of the time, the quality time we spend playing is priceless.”
Of course, popular titles like Scrabble, Othello, or Risk are only as good as their design. UX designer Michael Molen goes into detail about tabletop, card, and electronic game design for the publication UX Collective. Molen offers deep insight into card designs and color choices depending upon the type of game. In part, he writes this:
“Minimalism is sometimes fought against because minimalist graphic design can look flat or too similar to other designs, but minimalist interfaces help guide the user [to] not feel overwhelmed by distractions, decorations, or irrelevant information.”
What are your thoughts on game design? Are tabletop games a lost art, have they made a comeback, or have they never left? Whatever your relationship to boxed games, I’d love to hear about it and what your favorite game is. Your story might help someone discover something new to play, or perhaps a new way to strategize their family time over the upcoming holidays.
Thanks for reading and thanks for writing.
Adrienne Gibbs, Director of Content at Medium
What We’re Reading
In the hurry-scurry press of holiday shopping, I’d like to stop a moment to ponder why we give Christmas presents. It’s something deeply embedded in Western culture this time of year. There was a point, a reason it became traditional to give gifts on a day honoring the Christ. It hasn’t lasted these centuries as just Constantine overwriting the pagan Saturnalia of Rome.
Published by Nathan Chen
Who knows, maybe one day we’ll all get to work in an office where a Pikachu is your project manager and a Snorlax is your HR rep. Until then, just remember: the Safari Zone that is your workplace may be full of challenges, but it’s also a goldmine for stories you’ll laugh about later. Or write about. Or cry about in therapy. Whichever comes first.
– Carlos Arguelles, a Senior Staff Engineer at Google, goes deep on coding interviews, but this time from the perspective of the interviewer, in “My favorite coding question to give candidates (and why).”
This week’s final word goes to Scrabble enthusiast Jome Nartatez, who writes of rediscovering the classic game during turbulent times.
“I stumbled upon the old Scrabble board in my attic on a gloomy Saturday afternoon. I laid out the board and started a solitary game out of sheer boredom.
I found myself laying out words that seemed to resonate with my feelings: ‘alone,’ ‘dream,’ ‘hope,’ ‘drift,’ and yes, even ‘pain’… It’s a different experience, playing Scrabble alone. There’s no competition, no time pressure, just a quiet communion with words.”