With the advent of high-tech video games and the technologically advanced iPad, have classic board games been moved into the closet? Pooja Patel investigates
"I love playing games like Cranium, Twister, Connect 4 and even Boggle!" exclaims Maniishkaa Patil from Hiranandani School. An eager cartoon addict, she divides her time between homework, friends and the television. Her time on the Game Boy is strictly monitored, but her parents don't object to her playing board games regularly. When asked if the board game has gone out of fashion, her answer is a very vehement, plain and simple "No."
Through our interviews we learnt that board games have grown beyond the usual Snakes and Ladders and Ludo. In fact, board games have evolved considerably to avoid being overshadowed by fancier gizmos.
Simplistic game boards have given way to those designed to develop skills like management, entrepreneurship, investigation and leadership! Others challenge the player's general knowledge. These games are thus brought into classrooms to make learning a lot more exciting and experiential.
Faisal Moisin, a student of class 8 from MSB Educational Institute says, "I love to play Scrabble with my mom and my brother. The game helps me improve my vocabulary and makes my brain sharp. It is also great fun to play board games with my friends when we are stuck indoors on rainy evenings. At least it keeps us away from the TV."
While Scrabble is among the top favourites, games like Business, Life, Scotland Yard, Monopoly and The Da Vinci Code are absolute must haves. Parents also prefer such games as they are educational, not very expensive and sturdier as compared to their digital counterparts. Nitya Trivedi, a class 5 student from CNMS School says, "I love playing Business. It's extremely challenging. It's very similar to Monopoly and includes buying and selling of houses and property. The advantage is that the game gives me an idea about what one should consider before buying property."
Scotland Yard is another hit among children and adults alike. Children are fascinated by the thrilling experience of investigating a case. Atharva Kotasthane, a class 7 student of Ryan International School says, "Scotland Yard is so much fun. I enjoy playing the role of a policeman and solving cases. It is a brain teaser and requires a lot of analytical thinking. There is a lot more to the game than just fun and enjoyment."
The Da Vinci Code is another great board game, which is best suited to those who love learning about history and culture. It is almost like a crash course in international culture as it teaches you about ancient symbols. It is not surprising that the all-time favourite board games are also bestsellers in their digital and online versions. Some games like Boggle and Scrabble have even made it to Apple’s iPad. Other iPad favourites include games like Mirror Edge, Real Race and Flight Control.
The Disney, Barbie and Ben 10 sites also host a lot of games. Ayesha Shah, a class 5 student at Witty International School says, "I prefer playing online games. The main reason is that they are very convenient and can be played any time. Also, I don't have to wait for a partner to play with me. These games allow me to compete with as many partners as I want."
While online games are becoming increasingly popular, parents still prefer to keep children away from Internet-based games and bring home games that can be easily monitored. Moreover, the feeling of rolling the dice, the fighting over a single point, the possibility of cheating to win the game and the euphoria of 10 people ganging up against one can only be felt with board games.
Today, games like Monopoly have brought in credit cards and credit card swiping machines instead of paper money. These innovations help keep children up-to-date with changing times while still maintaining the classic entertainment value of familiar board games. One still has to wonder how long board games will be able to keep up with gaming gizmos and graphics. We guess only time will tell, but for now children are busy putting their heads together to solve crimes, spell words and build castles out of nothing.
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