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The Games People Play

September 16, 2011

Mafia WarsUnless you’ve been hiding under a rock in Farmville or you’re just MIA from life in general you know that games have been an integral part of our lives since the earliest days of man.

No, games were NOT invented as an accessory to the Nintendo. The game of Chess for example can trace its roots back to the 1oth century and within 300 years became essentially the same game played today.

The first playing cards can be traced back to the 9th century during the Tang dynasty in China. Tile games like Mahjong and Dominoes were derived from early card games.

MonopolyOf course we can’t forget Board games. I’m sure everyone reading this has an old game box stuck somewhere. Many of you will be able to look around the room and see one, or at least know where in the top of what closet you can find the Monopoly Board or the Scrabble game. And yes… Yahtzee counts.

The first board game known to historians is Senet, a game from predynastic and ancient Egypt. The oldest known hieroglyph representing a Senet game dates to around 3100 BC.

My point is, games are nothing new. The society of man has engaged in some form of social competition since Moby Dick was a minnow. From Candyland to Shuffleboard there’s something for everybody.

Pac-manThen along came technology and suddenly there was a new game arena to divert the already minuscule attention span of youth – Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Frogger and Donkey Kong ushered in the next bastian of social gaming — the game center. Parents found a coin operated baby sitter in the form of an electronic box with a computer screen and joystick.

From Pong to Kong, technology took over the youth of America. Monoply game boxes sit in the top of closets while our children sit at computers and play the latest generation of Internet games. With the prolification of the game console, Playstation and X-Box, the days of heading to the mall with a bag of quarters is behind us. Now we can multi-player around the world to our hearts content.

Mafia WarsWhich brings me back to Mafia Wars.

As the social juggernaut Facebook has grown, so has its integrated game play. Between Mafia Wars and Farmville and Words With Friends, Facebook is connecting game players in ways never before.

My question is this…

As a planet, if we are so damned social, why are there wars? We are we so intent on causing our own destruction with wars and ecological melt-down.

Oh, I know. It’s another form of games played out between world leaders. What a better world this would be if Obama and Kim Jong-il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should all just hash it out in Cityville like the rest of us.

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