Why You Should Break From Video Games and Give Board Games a Try
It's not breaking news that people like to play games. They enjoy watching them almost as much as they enjoy playing them. For people who aren't athletic, board games and video games are often suitable alternatives to football or baseball.
Everyone knows that board games have been around much longer than video games, but what is it about board games that keep them an enduring part of human culture? Perhaps by comparing the two an answer can be found.
Before comparing board games vs video games, it's important to understand the history of each and the reasons that led to their inventions.
A Brief History of Board Games
Board games have been around for so long it would be impossible to determine a precise history. Ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and even North Americans have been playing table games as far back as history has been recorded, and perhaps even longer than that.
Some games have been in existence for thousands of years, never seeming to lose their mass appeal. Take Backgammon as an example. It's a game for two players that utilizes dice and markers. Each player must develop a strategy in order to get their pieces across the board first.
Many games people play today have been around since before cars and electricity were invented. This includes games such as chess, checkers, and Pachisi.
Imagine having no electricity. That would mean you couldn't have television. You couldn't stream your favorite shows. You couldn't listen to recorded music? What would you do? Well, you'd play board games, of course! That is if it was culturally acceptable.
In early American culture, many families focused on survival and making it through the next winter. Games were generally frowned upon as devil's play, but when printing and manufacturing became more widespread, so did the popularity of board games.
A Brief History of Video Games
Many people alive today can remember the first video games. They started evolving with the first computers of the 1950s. The graphics were sadly crude compared to the realistic depictions seen today. Not only that, but they also weren't practical as they had to be run by computers so large people wouldn't have space for them in their homes.
However, with the passing of time, computers have quickly managed to get smaller and smaller. By the 1970s, home-based consoles had arrived, though their cost put them out of reach for the majority of American homes, which is why arcades flourished for the next two decades.
Video games have not been without their own controversies. While video games can be as sweet as building cities and homes from digital blocks, they can also be as graphic and contain violence associated with crime, war, and fantasy.
Why People Need a Challenge
Just as your body needs exercise, so does your brain. Research has revealed that playing games is associated with an increase in gray matter. Gray matter is important not only for your own intellect, but also for muscle control and spatial reasoning.
Playing games is even more than that. People are naturally competitive and games offer an opportunity to be a winner. People know they can't win every time, but they know every time they play there's a chance they might win.
When they do win, it feels good. Nothing feels better than releasing endorphins and claiming to be the winner fills that need all too well.
Comparison: Board Games vs Video Games
Children grow up with memories of being gathered around the dining room table laughing with siblings and parents. On the table sits their favorite board game.
Board games can be played between friends or family members. It's enjoyment that can be experienced by everyone regardless of their ability.
In all fairness, video games can involve family and friends as well, but you're less likely to come together as a family of 5 around a video game than you are a board game. That's because unlike video games, board games are designed to be inclusive. Video games are designed to primarily entertain the individual.
Board games can be played at your own pace. Between turns, players can get up and grab a cup of coffee or a slice of pie. It's a leisurely event.
Video games often have time constraints. If it's an online game, players are at the mercy of other players. If you walk away even for a second it will almost certainly mean defeat.
When you see someone playing a video game, they're often oblivious to what is happening around them. That's due to the constraints just discussed.
What constraints do board games have? During a game of chess you can leave the board for days while you ponder your next move.
Board Game vs Video Game Statistics
While video games saw a massive spike in popularity as the cost of game consoles came down, they still haven't managed to deprive board games of their own growth. Board games sales rake in a few billion dollars a year, and sales are on track to continue to grow.
It's been estimated that over half of adults in the United States play video games on a regular basis, and the sales support that number. In 2021, video game sales topped $60 billion.
When it comes to numbers, video games outpace board games by a landslide. Is that proof that video games are better?
Why You Should Play More Board Games
Video games allow players to step into another reality. That doesn't happen with board games, but that's probably a good thing.
While both types of games are fun, video games by nature require more time. That's because the makers design them that way. If video games were like board games and the game was over in an hour or less, the player would have no reason to continue playing on their own, or at least not as often.
By keeping the gamer returning, the player can be enticed to continue purchasing more versions of the same product. The drawback, which video game manufacturers don't seem to mind, is that the gamer ends up missing out on real life.
Board games are fun and inclusive. While playing them, you are still aware of your surroundings. When the game is over, you're still in the present. No one's saying stop playing video games, but to enjoy life to the fullest, spend more time enjoying it with people you love.
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