Saturday, April 7, 2012

G is for Games!

I have always loved games of all kinds. From when I was very young, I wanted to play games; the more complicated they were, the better I liked them! It was difficult sometimes to find people to play with me, because Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders were boring for me probably about the time I was five.

One of the earliest ones I remember was “Enemy Agent”, a board game about spying that was just perfect for my Scorpio-ness. I also loved going to game events at my elementary school; just the sight of all of those games filling tables as far as the eye could see was a thrill for me.

After all these years, I’m still a huge fan of games. Today, I’m here to tell you about some of my favorites.

Let’s start with board games. My favorite board game hands down is Monopoly. It was practically a spiritual experience in my house. My siblings and I would sit down to play, and after a while it became clear that we had to start using tournament rules because inevitably someone would want to change the rules mid-stream. “House rules” in Monopoly are very popular—money for landing on free parking, loaning money to other players, etc.—but they contribute to one of the biggest complaints about the game: That it takes too long to play. Bullshit! Play with the rules included with the set—and no others—and it will take 45-60 minutes to play with four people. And I mean come on…who doesn’t like financially crushing those around you?

I’ve got Monopoly sets from all over the world but one of my most prized possessions is my Franklin Mint Monopoly that I received from my beloved bride as a wedding present. It’s incredibly cool, and it’s not an heirloom: I play on it! It has some wear and tear but a game is to be PLAYED.

Other board games I enjoy include Risk—I have a notebook that I write my blogs in made from an upcycled Risk game board!—Trivial Pursuit, chess, backgammon (thanks to Mr. Connors, my high school chem teacher!), Titan, Axis and Allies, and more recently, the Settlers of Catan.

I also play role-playing games. I’ve been playing Dungeons and Dragons since about 1980 or so, and I’ve played most of the versions of it. Right now, I run a 4th Edition campaign of intrepid adventurers, one of whom is my wife. (Gentlemen, please take note: There are very few things more attractive than a girl gamer! Just saying.) I’ve played a few other RPGs, like Boot Hill and Top Secret, but D&D is the tops in my book.

Once gaming entered the electronic age, I was in heaven. For home systems, I had the Intellivision, Atari 5200, and the Nintendo NES, and just before I left home they bought a Sega. (As I recall, people around my house would say ‘SAY-GAH’ mimicking the announcer’s voice that said it as you turned it on.) I’ve played most of the different consoles available since the mid-1980’s.

I’ve continued on my own enjoying the console gaming experience. I’m an avid Xbox 360 player, but one of the best memories I have is coming home from my honeymoon and Jen and I deciding to buy the Playstation as one of our first joint purchases as a married couple. At least we had our priorities straight. (Jen’s also asked me to mention Skyrim, a swords and spells RPG that was so incredible that I was content to just watch her play for two straight months. Buy that one and kiss your social life goodbye, folks.)

Arcades were and are some of my favorite places. Now they exist in the form of Dave & Busters and DisneyQuest, but I still enjoy them immensely. Some of my old arcade favorites still exist today; I purchase the games on my Xbox and cringe as I see that 100 of them can fit on a normal CD that we have today. We’ve come a long way, because I can even play many of them on my iPad. The Midway Arcade app is a fantastic one; a ton of arcade games from the 1980s in an arcade setting. I mean, who doesn’t want to play Joust and Gauntlet all day long?

Some of my other arcade favorites were Burger Time, Berzerk, Gorf, Tron Deadly Discs, Gauntlet, Frogger, Bagman, Dig Dug, and Front Line.

One other arcade game deserves a mention here, a weird little Atari game called Food Fight. I only found it one arcade ever, the Dream Machine arcade on Nantasket Beach in Hull, MA. Anyway, you’re a kid and you’re pitted against these evil chefs. You take them down my hurling food at them, which can be found all over the board. Your goal is to get to the other side to eat the steadily dripping ice cream cone; each level was a different flavor. I never got past level 3, but this is a game that likely you missed. Maybe I’ll be able to find a version of it someday, but likely it’s gone the way of the 5 ¼ inch floppy disks.

Table top games? You bet. Ping pong. Air hockey. Foozball. A British friend introduced me to Subbuteo, a soccer game in which you flicked plastic players with rounded feet to propel a plastic soccer ball the length of a tabletop field. That game that took some skill, especially playing the goalkeeper, which was on a plastic stick.

And let’s not forget other games you can play on a table: card games. Mille Bornes. Uno. Poker. Rummy. Cribbage. Scat. I even taught myself to play bridge. Sound odd? Bridge is amazingly complicated; I hadn’t actually played it with a real person before my last cruise…I partnered up with a wily 70-something woman who was thrilled to show me the game. She’d come looking for me at the same time each day, and somehow, Jen wasn’t concerned about that at all. :)

Someday I’d love to have a game room with arcade-style machines and a large table space for D&D games. You’ve gotta dream, right?

As you can see by the sheer length of this blog, games were and are a huge part of my life. I often can remember what games I was playing when particular life events occurred. Honestly, I’ll play pretty much any game once.

What are some of your favorites? Leave a comment and let me know. And look on my Pinterest for images of many of the games I've mentioned in this blog! :)

Stay tuned for Monday’s “H” post!

PS: A huge shout out to Maggie, who I met today at 13 Magickal Moons and who’s a fan of the blog. It was great to meet you! :)


  1. I love atari games. My favorite was Megamania. I also loved frogger, haunted house and bezerk.... I loved trying to get the robots to walk into the walls. I HATED E.T. worst game ever..stuck in the pits... Oh my god hated that game!
    I am currently addicted to igun zombie on my phone. I love this little game too called pass the pigs. Ohhh boy...

  2. Being a girl gamer is awesome! There's nothing better than playing with the boys, especially when you crush them! I recall playing Street Fighter and Mortal Combat in the arcade and seriously distressing the boys when I would kick the crap out of them. Never underestimate a girl gamer!

  3. Pandora...I loved Megamania and all of the Activision games too. I think Pitfall, River Raid, and Tennis were some of mine.

  4. And Jen, you definitely kicked ass at Tetris...I've never seen anyone play as well as you could!