All About Games
Gaming is not only about the entertainment we derive, it is also a learning tool. We love games of chance and competition. It is the root concept behind professional sports. We wager on the outcome, or relax in a friendly game of cards. Hundreds of differing games test eye hand co-ordination, verbal skills, athletic prowess, business management skills... pretty much any facet of society can and is reflected in one game or another.
It turns out that gaming has been around for a very long time. The oldest cultures (Aboriginal) still do not believe in competition alone but rather in non-victorious games... by that I mean 'no losers'. The earliest games were no doubt comprised of activities that would enhance our primitive hunting skills such as hide and seek or tag; these most likely led to marksmanship and endurance competitions. After all we had to compete with other animals for food and shelter as well as protect ourselves.
The Olympic games began around 776 BC. They are extremely popular even today not only as competitions with the self but also with each other. Top athletes become role models and may eventually come to earn great sums. Today's modern Olympic games began in Athens, Greece in 1896.
Board games extend back to the earliest war games. A game similar to checkers discovered in Iraq dates to 3000 BC, although our modern version of the game has been around since about 1400. Chess appears to be even older at about 4000 years when tokens were shaped as chariots and elephants. Emperor Claudius was an avid Backgammon enthusiast in the first century.
The oldest known playing card resides in the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul and dates from around 1520. The word 'card' comes from the Latin word 'charta' meaning 'sheet'. Most people feel that playing cards originated in China since they were the first to have paper. The earliest decks were likely hand painted by local artists and differed widely. Our modern deck of cards appears to have been mass produced as early as 1480. Nearly every nationality has contributed to the design and concept of card games beginning with simple showdowns like 'war' to complex partner games like 'pinochle' and 'bridge'. Jokers were added to the 52 card deck in 1857.
In 1933 out of work salesman Charles Darrow of Germantown, Pennsylvania made a sketch of his favorite vacation retreat (Atlantic City, New Jersey) and created 'Monopoly'. Only 15 years later in 1948 Alfred Butts brought to us the most popular word game of all time 'Scrabble'.
Casino gambling continues to thrive but the future is definitely video and virtual gaming... too bad!