Gamers of all types can be fickle beings. With the emerging popularity of all things digital, how much harm will it do to the humble board game in the long run?
Whenever a new digital gaming platform is launched, generally speaking the first generation of games all give a firm nod back to boardgames. We see classics being converted to digital like chess, backgammon or monopoly. For most people these will never be true substitutes for a real board game – it just doesn’t offer the same experience, or in some cases, the game is significantly different.
Most of us grew up in a pre-digital age where entertainment was a much simpler affair. Every household had a cupboard stuffed full of board games – some bought new, some picked up as a bargain from a jumble sale. They lived in the cupboard much of the time & often had a particular musty smell about them. Board games seemed to be timeless – the same games were playable for decades. Even now, I expect that my mother still has some of our old board games lurking in the loft.
With the evolution of the video game, has come a big retro gaming scene. Gamers that seek out old skool video games to relive times gone by. These same people often also have an interest in board games as well.
This interest in older games will, I think, help preserve the humble board game. While there is no doubting that the popularity has dropped, and will possibly continue to drop off further. There will always be a demand for family entertainment that is accessible, affordable and fun.
Where board games often have the edge over their digital counterparts is that they require brain power and are more often that not, educational. Chess teaches you to look ahead and plan what may happen. Monopoly teaches you about property, London road names, train stations, money and basic maths. Cluedo teaches you to work out scenarios by a process of elimination. This learning happens in a way that has complete focus – there are no buttons, music, beeps, adverts or in app purchases to distract.
While we have seen modern games push the boundaries more and more with fantasy, strategy and adult games becoming more mainstream. These are no longer classed as being strictly for board game geeks or social outcasts. Gaming is once again seen as being socially acceptable…this is perhaps largely due to games consoles, smartphones and tablets being so common place.
While the board game has changed, it hasn’t been forgotten. It is safe to say that they will be here to stay for decades to come and will still provide us with hour, after hour of quality entertainment.