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Date Added: May 21, 2007 12:30:17 PM

Origin of Games:


It is difficult to trace the origins of games in the history of the human civilization. Games have been around for a long time and the people never bothered to keep record of something as inconsequential as games. There are ancient tomb paintings depicting game playing, or the remnants of ancient games like as the board from Ur of Chaldee but no one specifically maintained information about when or where a game was invented or from which culture it originated originally. Though there are existing records from the middle ages and onwards. It is further difficult to trace the origins of these games as many people take it for granted that games have always been invented for recreational purposes throughout history. However that is not always true. Games have also been used for other purposes like educational or even medicinal purposes.


There are mainly two types of games in the physical sense – those that require special equipment and settings and those that don’t. Tracing origins of games without any physical equipment is even more difficult. Sometimes there are even connections among games which seem to have different roots and origins. For example a standard European chess set and Japanese Shogi set. Although both the board and playing pieces in each are different, one of the pieces in each set features the same unique move. Even playing card from many different cultures have divisions into suits and sequences, no matter where their origins are. Similarities like these have led many scholars to believe that many games have the same origin and were spread out to different societies over a period time by traders, travelers and soldiers.


What is a GAME?


A game is a structured or a semi-structured activity which is undertaken for recreation and sometimes also used as an educational tool. Games are distinct from work and art however the distinction is not clear-cut and many games may also be considered as work or art. The key components of games are goals, rules challenge and interactivity. They involve mental and physical stimulation. They also help develop practical skills serve as exercise and also perform an educational, situational and psychological role.


Games are a universal part of the human experience and they go back up to the prehistoric times, for people of all cultures, genders and ages.


Ludwig Wittgenstein was the first philosopher to address the definition of the word game. He demonstrates that the elements of games like play, rules and competition all fail to adequately define the term. He argues that the concept of game cannot be contained by any one single definition, but that games must be looked at as a series of definitions that share a family resemblance to one another.

Roger Caillois gave the definition of the term ‘game’ as an activity that must have the following characteristics:


  • Fun: the activity is chosen for its light-hearted character
  • Separate: it is circumscribed in time and place
  • Uncertain: the outcome of the activity is unforeseeable
  • Non-productive
  • Governed by rules: the activity has rules that are different from everyday life
  • Fictitious: it is accompanied by the awareness of a different reality


Playing a game is about pretending to be someone else or about substituting the chaos of reality with precise rules. A game could be seen as an opportunity to experience powerful emotions which maybe evoked due to the sheer randomness and the desire to win.


They are generally classified by the components requires to play them like a ball, cards, rackets, board, computer etc. most games require multiple players, but single player games are unique in respect to the type of challenges that are put down in a particular game for a player to face. Where in a multiple player game the competition is with the rival players, in a single player game the combat is against an element of the environment, against the players own skill, against time or against chance.


Types of Games & Advancements in them


Sports are the most popular type of game. Most sports require special equipment and playing fields. It also requires the involvement of a community other than just the players involved in the game. In board games the board on which the players play is used as the main tool. The player’s status, resource and progress are tracked using physical tokens. They also use dice or cards. Most Popular board games many include: Aggravation, Checkers, Chess, Cluedo, Cranium, Deflexion, The Game of Life, Go, Masterpiece, Monopoly, etc. Card games involve generally a deck of 52 cards which are a standard Anglo-American deck of playing cards. The latest trend of video games is actually computer or micro processor controlled games. Computers can create virtual tools to be used in games in place of cards, dice or even complete new virtual worlds.


Playing games is important for adults and children. It is a good way of dealing with problems of business and daily life. Playing games creates leisure time that every adult must have to lessen the stress of every day like and troubles. It improves reflexes, intelligence and in many cases also the physical health of a person. Games provide a good backdrop for family recreation and communication especially between the parents and the children. However today popular outdoor games like tag, hide and seek and others that have been around since a long time seem to be rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Games are especially beneficial to children as they prevent an otherwise sedentary and passive lifestyle habits in them from a young age. By playing together on their own, without constant adult supervision, the children learn how to get along and resolve their conflicta on their own. Games help exercise the illusory capabilities of a person and enhance the creative abilities too.

The advent of video games has created new and exciting possibilities in the world of gaming. However it comes with its own shares of troubles in what is now known as the great American pass time. More than 60% of the population has played some kind of video game at some point in their lives. Half the children playing these games are between the ages of 4-6. The traditional toys like action figures, building sets and puzzles are being discarded for the latest video games. The first generation of video gaming children are being formed who have had parents who’ve played these games as teenagers. The average age of these players is 29 and 17% of them being older than 50 years. American spent almost $9.9 billion on video games last year and consoles like PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube as well on hand held accessories like GameBoy and Nintendo DS. The gaming industry today is a multibillion-dollar enterprise and it frequently beats the earnings posted by the television and movie industry.


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