The Games We Play
By Edith Morgan
It was all the rage this Christmas – and boxes were snapped up quickly. I had not really expected to get a copy, as I stay away from crowds due to OMICRON and generally wait until prices and availability are in my range.
So I was pleasantly surprised when I received a brand new, sealed copy of the Worcesdter Edition of Monopoly. I had been following the controversy about what and who was included in this pay to play Monopoly game. I was curious about the details. All of us have probably played the regular Monopoly at some time in our younger years, but I never thought about why this game and its form.
What do the choices of games tell about a people or its culture? I got to thinking about that when “Trivial Pursuit” swept out nation. Do the games we play really say anything about us?
Games involve considerable time sitting around a table with others. We can learn much about the strategies our opponents use to win the game – winning, after all, is the main idea of most games.
But does it make a difference whether you play checkers, which involves planning ahead a limited set of moves, versus Chess, which can involve planning many and intricate maneuvers, to trap your opponent’s King? And which can involve international contests with world champions?
I imagine by now some university has studied the relationship between a nation’s values and the games played there. What does it say about us that our games are such as “Trivial Pursuit” and “Monopoly”? Is “Trivial Pursuit” a comment on the way many of us spend our lives? And is “Monopoly” a commentary on our brutally acquisitive economic system? Both are partially games of chance but also of strategies to acquire your opponents’ wealth or property.
As children we played simple card games like “Hearts,” Old Maid, Fish, UNO and, even before that, we did interminable “tic-tac-toe” until we always ended up without a winner. Playing games begins so early in a child’s life; many teach them and us adults so much. But it also says something about us, as we develop preferences.
I fear some of that information and the skills in both strategy and socialization are being lost as so many of our children pursue the constant lure of computer games with all their flash and excitement and their constant pursuit of ever higher levels of achievement. Often that “achievement” is the destruction of others.
So, if your life is a “Trivial Pursuit,” how about making a 2022 New Year’s resolution that this year your life will take on more important meaning? And, if you are involved in cut-throat competition, trying to achieve a “Monopoly” in your field, how about working for cooperation and peace in your pursuits?
What’s YOUR game for 2022?