Sunday, December 13, 2009

Did Game of Life miss the bus???

I know I’m not old enough to be a fossil as yet: but sometimes when I just sit back and think about all the things happening around me- I am forced to ask myself, “Is there something terribly wrong about me that I am still searching things from the past even today???”

I have often referred to myself as someone who grew up in the era of Doordarshan, first generation to experience Internet as it expanded from being a mail service to being a virtual world of its own- but I also want to call myself from a generation which was possibly the last one which grew up to board games.

So if I learnt how to identify the dice and count with Snakes ‘n ladders, Ludo and Bingo, Monopoly (or Business as released by Speedage Games in India) was the ultimate game if handling money, building houses & hotels and seeing the other person weep when they landed on your estate was wanted. But I guess what I loved the most was ‘Game of Life’ or just “LIFE”. I guess it was the most intriguing and entertaining game I have played.

But what hurt me was a recent incident where I realized that the boards have just lost out to the screen heavily. Over a casual discussion at work, someone mentioned, “Pay day is still 3 squares away”, and we had question marks bigger than the one’s on the “Chance square” glaring back at us. Okay, so even though just a few years younger, there are three people around me who have no idea about Monopoly and Game of Life??? And it did not end there- Ludo and Checkers was at par with Latin and Chinese. What followed was an equally interesting debate as to how Ludo was played.

So it was crystal clear: board games and my endless memories around them are history…

But how did this happen??? How did the joy of sitting in the Monopoly Jail, calling it the ‘Safest place’ (Even the Underworld has realized it) and make money from others suddenly die out? How did the hours of excitement of starting from scratch, graduating, getting married, having kids (even twins sometimes), awaiting the Pay Day and retiring rich not have the charm today?

I guess what happened was Computers just changed it all. Computer games were new to my generation. Even if the 286 machines ran on DOS, I remember having played ‘Prince of Persia’ and ‘Where in the World is Carmen San Diego’ in groups with cousins and having as much fun. The difference I guess was we adapted to Computers coming into our life- children after that were born with one already in.
So if Fisher Price replaced its alpha numeric blocks and chimes with a Cool School Computer, may be Milton Bradley should wake up and smell the coffee as well. I feel it is time to revamp the Game of Life! If since 1860, the only major change has been a change in the look of the board and maximum number who can play- it is time for Operation Brainstorm. My only suggestion, take a leap further than anyone has… its LIFE; anything is possible.

I personally feel facebook is the place it should be. After the kind of fanatical following of Farmville, Fishville and Café World, I feel people have lost their sense of reality. I guess there are more happy Indians as farmers on Farmville than on any place in India. The size of my brother’s farm is a discussion topic amongst my cousins. Fishville is not affected by cyclones. I also heard my friends fight for the lone net access in the apartment to serve their customers in Café World.

So let us just get into our dreams and play the Game of Life on facebook. And I believe this can be some serious learning as well. This game has potential to replicate any situation. .. Yes ANY!!! It can help you cope with family, work stress, decision making in real life- it is can be like a simulator for life.

What’s more, it will be more than hilarious to read the news feed then. Imagine:
•Bhopoo is on his Honeymoon and urgently needs a pack of Condoms
•DevD ran out of Vodka, only No. 1 is now in stock; Oh No!!! – Maal Laya Uncle likes this
•Brady was on a vacation in Somalia and found a lonely urchin on the street and adopted him – Angie said WTF!!! One more 
•Balbir Paasha has now been awarded a Gold Ribbon from NAAC for testing negative again!!!
•Dharna Halal wants to share her very original recipe for Hyderabadi biryaani in one cup of water- Sanjeev Gafoor loves it!!!!
•Baagh Lakdi wants to thank all the girls he has visited during the days of his PGA championship- muah!!!

At the end of the day; all I hope is someone saves the board games… and I sincerely hope… Game of Life should go on…