Game Set Match

Game, set, match are words you will not hear this week as Wimbledon has been cancelled, but there are plenty of games people have been able to play in lockdown and isolation, from real cardboard playing cards on a real table to computer games.

Humans have been playing games since forever. Adam and Eve probably got bored playing hide and seek; Eve for sure, that’s why she went looking for new interests like the tree of knowledge. Our cave dwelling ancestors collected shells and stones and drew lines in the dirt, but got annoyed with their children for time wasting.

‘Will you stop playing with those sticks and stones and go and collect some berries like I told you to.’

…and onward millennia to the last years of the twentieth century when parents would be telling teenagers to get off the computer ( the one household computer bought by fathers across the land because it would be educational for their children, though they really wanted to play with it themselves ) and do their homework, or read a book, or get out in the fresh air. At one stage I was heard to say I would never have got married let alone had children if I had known home computers were going to be invented…

And who would have imagined that their son in his thirties would still be playing computer games with his school friends; not still going round each other’s houses, they live hundreds of miles apart, but playing on line with X Boxes …

Call of Duty Warzone – 150 players in teams of 4   – already my mind is boggled.

‘This game uses something called “skill based match making” which uses a combination of different player statistics to fill games with people mostly of the same skill level. The result is that as you get better you never feel like you are getting better. The advantage is that players do not feel like they don’t stand a chance against very good people. It’s very controversial within the gaming community.’

The world of computer games is a total mystery to me, but one advantage of blogging is that you can write from a position of total ignorance. I do understand that computer games have been made by very clever and creative people and they are just as valid an art form and interest as any other. Now portable personal electronic devices are the latest entertainment for older generations to worry are time wasters and just plain bad. Books, radio and television have all been frowned upon in their time.

I informally interviewed a few of the first generation to play computer games, the first parents to not mind their children playing.

In contrast to Call of Duty fans a professional chap enjoys single-player games such as Batman and Uncharted 4 ( which seems to have ‘real people’ in it ) . ‘I don’t have any online friends to play with, or the time to play online. Zelda: Breath of the Wild is probably one of the best games ever made.’

Lego Harry Potter sounds more fun, a favourite of a lady in her thirties. ‘It’s all about collecting studs and learning spells and defeating He Who Must Not Be Named!’

Lego games are all good for children and parents to play together. Another couple have bought a Nintendo Switch and the first game they are trying is Mario Kart, basically racing, to play with their young children.

Why you play is different for everybody, a mum in her thirties says ‘I like to play co-op games rather than competitive ones, otherwise it’s too annoying.’

Another professional man who enjoys computer games for unwinding says ‘How can they be called time wasters, at least they are interactive, not like slumping in front of the television.’

If I wasn’t busy blogging, writing, reading, gardening; perhaps if I tried some of these games I would enjoy them. It’s never too late to start. On Woman’s Hour this week they were talking to some ladies in their seventies who love playing computer games and their grandchildren love being able to play games with them. They like the challenge of… what are all these game about? Getting out of places, through a maze or something completely different?

 Minecraft is a game created by Microsoft where players can explore a 3D world, discover natural resources, craft tools and build houses or other structures. Now that sounds quite fun. I read in the newspaper that an archaeologist has recreated a Bronze Age landmark – with a great deal of technical help from his eleven year old daughter. Doctor Ben Edwards and Bella have created a digital version of Bryn Celli Ddu, a 3000 year old burial mound on Anglesey, with further help from other experts.

I think I would like a game where you create your own country estate with beautiful gardens which wouldn’t need weeding. If such a game exists let me know.

A more exciting thought; can authors turn their novels and short stories into computer games, will that be the next thing on Amazon KDP? I think some of my writing would be perfect, I just need a few artists and people who do coding, whatever that is…

You’ve read the books, now play the amazing games.

Do you or your family play computer games? Love them or hate them?

14 thoughts on “Game Set Match

  1. My son and I enjoy playing Nintendo Wii Sports. He is also an adult but enjoys the opportunity to play games online with friends and others from around the world. To me, it is a great social outlet. I remember when Space Invaders came out, and I was addicted. Then it was Pac-Man…

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  2. ‘… one advantage of blogging is that you can write from a position of total ignorance’. Amen to that, Janet.
    I’m not a gamer myself but I try not to judge (I did say try). Besides, since when did distraction from others and the slings and arrows of the world become a bad thing? Probably could have prevented many human catastrophes. “Herr Hitler, the Allies are invading!” “Bugger off, I’m about to hit the next level on Minecraft.”

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  3. I never got involved with video games, but I remember my son going through that phase, where he was playing with many people online. We are so starved for sports these days that one of the sports stations is showing athletes competing against one another in video games. I’m desperate for sports, but not that desperate.😎

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  4. My husband is a very keen gamer and he has been since he was a kid. He’s a software engineer (he writes codes for desktop applications) and is generally just a bit of a computer boffin so it makes sense that computer games would be his hobby of choice. He thinks of gaming as entertainment and escape, like watching a film or reading a book only more interactive. He borrowed a virtual reality headset from a friend recently and I had a go with it… it really is incredible, you very much feel like you’re inside the game seeing it all for real. It was a real step up from the basic Playstation games I used to play as a kid! As for your gardening game, there’s a game called Gardenscapes which you can play on a smartphone or tablet that might fit the bill, but it is stupidly addictive and you will likely lose several hours at a time to it!

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  5. Hardly surprising about Wimbledon. I find it amusing that the organisers of these huge events, put off the decision, and put it off, and put it off, until the eye-rolling is oi overwhelming that they finally capitulate. And their decisions, or lack of them, are always predicated by ‘the bottom line.’
    I had to have a chuckle a while back when I read somewhere that ‘elite’ gamers are often referred to as ‘athletes’. Love it! 😀

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