School has begun again; to some, (parents) it is often a time to enjoy a little quiet time. For others, it is a time to run all over the place trying to keep up with the extra curricular activities. Me, I like to sit back and reminisce about my childhood days and wonder how I made it through in one piece. Sometimes I spent more energy trying to get out of work so I could go outside and play than I would have, had I just done the work. Looking forward to the weekends and dreading Sunday nights became an ingrained emotional part of existence. I would stay up as late as I could on Friday nights (often playing AD&D in my brothers room with so many friends the Fire Marshall would have fainted), and then wake up as early as I could on Saturday mornings to watch Voltron, GI Joe, and Transformers before my dad woke up and flipped it to wrestling or those black and white Shirley Temple movies. If it rained during the summer on Saturday (which happened frequently in Largo, Florida's hurricane seasons), my brother, my sister (and sometimes one or both of my parents) and I would sit down and play a tabletop (board) game together. I learned to play poker, Parcheesi, Sorry, Monopoly, Life, Chutes and Ladders... man, you name it, we played it at one point or another. Are those days gone now? Do people still have marathon game-playing weekends over long, holiday weekends? Do parents and children still sit down to play games and interact with each other using nothing but their imaginations and some game rules/pieces to entertain, engage and enjoy each other? Well, the game industry is HUGE nowadays, so the answer must be a resounding YES... right? In my search to be "discovered" as a game designer, I have learned that the industry is very difficult to break into, more difficult than say... publishing a book even. So, someone has to be playing those games, right? I haven't decided yet if the boom is good or bad. On one level, game sales are at an all time high. But who plays them? Many game stores have long tables set up for people to come in and play, and spend, and play some more. This is great for business, but... has it become a competitive sport? The Trading Card Game (TCG: think Magic: The Gathering) genre has huge tournaments for rewards (money, prestige, etc.) and game stores set up artist signings, conventions and events where people of similar interests can gather together. Ignoring the fear of shooting myself in the foot here... I suppose my big question is this. Are the parents and siblings still growing tighter as a family over game nights and/or rainy days? I hope so. Those big conventions are fun. Sometimes they can be a little overwhelming. Perhaps you're okay with waiting in line for anywhere from a few hours to a few days, and it is worth it to you, but I hope the days of family time aren't lost. When was the last time you played a game with your kids/friends/parents/brothers/sisters? Do YOU have a game you can break out and play by candlelight when the power goes out?
"That's just crazy enough to suck".