To some they’ve been a boon to humanity, to others – a curse. But love them or loathe them, electronic games are part of the fabric of our lives. To die-hard gamers, they’ll never replace the nostalgia of good old fashioned boards and dice. After all, if it ain’t broke why fix it? Do we really want all that electronic gadgetry to overpower our minds and senses? Traditional games can give us the space for our imaginations to conjure up all the sounds, smells and excitement of the sea in games like Battleship, or the hustle and bustle of the city in Monopoly.
Assault and batteries
To some, electronic games dull our brains over the long term, replacing the gaps once filled by our imaginations with explosive sound effects and flashing lights, as experienced in Battleship’s Electronic edition. But this game is not all bells and whistles. It also keeps score automatically so there’s no room for error, which can easily happen when adding up with pen and paper. You can also vary your skill levels and play progressively as well. There’s even a hand held version, so you can play anywhere, anytime – so long as your batteries hold out.
For hard core gamers, electronics are not an option. Warhammer players for example, get totally immersed in games like 40,000 – Assault On Black Reach, enjoying the tactility and hands on experience which no amount of electronic wizardry could ever replace.
Electronic games have legions of devoted fans too, who love their versatility. Many games let you play against virtual opponents, such as Colour Screen Uno, the handheld e-version of Uno. Flashier, bolder and in brilliant colour, it takes game play to a new high with more randomness, craziness and speed that will keep you revved until the very end. Another huge advantage of electronic games is their portability. Yahtze’s Pocket Pogo can travel with you anywhere, and you can even redeem a code to play games online. This is territory that your traditional board and card games just can’t compete with, but some gamers just love it that way, finding electronic games too depersonalising.
The best of both worlds
Although there are two schools of thought and many gamers hold very firm opinions on the topic, most play the middle ground with both types of games happily co-existing in their homes. And if you love a particular game, chances are you’ll also want to own an electronic version if it exists. I think that board games tend to act more like social glue, bonding people together, than electronic games, which encourage more solo gaming. But maybe there’s a time and a place for both types of games in our lives.