Posts Tagged ‘Culture’
The use of educational games, e-learning and videogames in school education became one of the main objectives of many research centres around the world.
In United States Microsoft, Columbia University and New York University had started a partnership with the Games for learning institute, to conduct different researches on educational games, e-learning and videogames.
In Europe the need for an implementation of new educational tools in school education is the new scientific research’s challenge.
The aim of all these organizations is to conduct differnet researches on the use of games, e-learning and videogames as learning tools, trying to find the perfect implementation of these new digital tools in school education.
Greek and Roman games are one of the little known aspects of these ancient societies.
In Hellenistic and Roman culture skill games were a recreational activity both for children and adults.
Since prehistoric times is possible to recognize the so-called ancestors of games and toys among the archeological finds and in the works of Hellenic and Romans artists and poets:
We know for sure that in the fifth century BC, Crater, an Athenian playwright, wrote a play dedicated to skill games.
In ancient Rome writer Suetonius wrote two different books one on Greek kids games, and the other on the Romans ones: unfortunately all these works got lost and we know only a few certain things about ancient Greek and Roman skill games.
A lot of references are traceable in the works of philosophers, poets, playwrights who, helped us to understand that in every ancient game there was a deep educational theory to help and support kids development through the use of their skills.
In the ancient Roman world the expression “nuces relinquere” (leave the nuts), meant leaving childhood and becoming adult, because nuts were used by kids to play one of the most popular skill game in ancient Rome . The nuts were used like balls and thrown to to smash other nuts, just like in the modern bowling game.
Scrabble is probably one of the most famous board games ever invented with over 100 million sets sold in all the world.
Today everyone knows Scrabble and have played this linguistic clever game once at least, but few people know the real story of its invention.
In fact not everyone knows that Scrabble before becoming a famous board game was first a commercial flop.
Year 1931; The city of Poughkeepsie, upstate New York, was facing the worst years of the great depression. This was the situation when an architect, Alfred Mosher Butts, lost his job and decided to devote himself to his biggest passion: board games and words. Soon Butts decided to invent a board game to play with words and improve the linguistic skills of the player. Towards the end of 1931 Butts had already developed the basic idea of the board game, which was initially called Lexico. This game was initially played without the board and players calculated their scores according to the length of the words formed. There were also reward points for words formed with less frequent letters (B, F, H, M, P, V, W, Y) and bonus points even higher for those containing unusual letters (J, K, Q, X, Z).
In 1933, Butts tied to register the trademark of is new board game but his request was denied. Similarly, when he proposed the new board game to the two top gaming company In United States, (Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley), he received only a polite refuse.
The triple wall is the pattern of the popular board game called Nine Men’s Morris in England, Morabaraba in South Africa, Naukhadi in India, Molenspiel in Germany and Jeu de Moulin in France. The triple square symbol was find in Italy, UK, Ireland and Afghanistan and in a lot other regions of the Middle East engraved or painted in holy places for Christianity and Islam.
The aim of the Nine Men’s Morris is to form a row of three pieces along the board’s lines and leave the opposing player with no moves.
This is the playing function of this geometric concentric figure, but we can find the same pattern in ancient churches and in the Chinon tower in France, engraved on the walls by Templar Knights kept prisoners during the Middle Ages.
Some researchers suggest that this geometric draw could be the symbol of an ancient and esoteric ritual made by knights Templars.
For example, René Guénon, affirm that this symbol represent, in ancient religous rituals, a sort of holy centre where the world energies can reach the right power to involve a man’s mind on a mystic level.
The origins of the triple square are still unknown but without any reasonable doubt we can say that its symbolism is related to the centre and the balance of the world and the human spheres represented by the pieces of the game have to converge to find the perfect equilibrium.
The geometric scheme of the Nine Men’s Morris game represent the route that men have to follow to find themselves without lose the right way in unethical directions. In this sense the triple square has a manicheistic meanining deeply related to the Middle Ages religious symbolism.
God is the origin and the centre of all the universe and everything has to point in His direction; it’s clear in this interpretation the religious and ethical meaning of this symbol directly derived from the holy circle used by ancient civilizations of the far East to show the solar wheel also called the wheel of life.
All those clues made the researchers think that the symbol of the triple square in the Middle Ages was not used as a game but as a religious symbol and only after several years this geometric pattern was used as the board of the game known with the name of Nine Men’s Morris.
When a parent is looking for a gift for his kid, he should find one of those clever games that will help him build his logical and creative mind.
Parent’s favourite choice in this sense has to be a life skill game such as an educational board game, a quiz game or a construction toy.
Kids love playing with construction and create new shapes with the same pieces and above of all they love playing a board game or a quiz game to learn unknown things.
All those kind of games have something in common: they help the kid to discover something new about himself and our society. When kids play these clever games, they start to use their capabilities and their knowledge to challenge the others in a competitive situation. This is the typical situation that everyone of us has experienced many times in his life;competition it’s the secret of the personal success, we compete for everything, a car park, a better job, or a faster car.
In this sense old fashion board games and educational toys are more modern and innovative than any kind of hi-tech toy because they can teach the essence of those deep and fundamental human relationship of our modern society that we call life skills.
These life lessons sometimes are more effective than many others teaching methods because kids love playing games more than attend boring lessons at school.
Education and games, it’s seems the perfect winning combination for an happy childhood.
The Mesoamerican ball game was a sport practiced by ancient Pre-Columbian cultures of Central America.
More than 3000 years ago The Mesoamerican ball game was very popular, the Maya called it pitsl, the Aztec name was ullamaliztl, but the game is the same.
This game was played with heavy rubber balls in open ended ball courts of different size with two vertical stone rings, one for each side of the court.
The aim of the game was to pass the ball in the stone goal and score the point.
We don’t know exactly the rules of this anciet game, but we know that Mesoamerican ball game could be really violent. In fact some games were played just for fun and recreation, some others were part of a ritual involving human sacrifice; for this occasions the game was played in Huge ball courts by two team of captives and the losers were sacrificed in a mystic/religious ritual.
The importance of the Mesoamerican ball game in ancient Pre-Columbian society is proved by all the diufferent use this game by the Maya: the ball game was used as a recreational sport, as part of a spiritual ritual and as well to solve the disputes among tribes and prevent the warfare.
Sometimes head of tribes play (but was more like a fight) the ball game to re-establish tribes hierarchy, and impose supremacy; this game was so important because it was like a social conflicts relief valve, it was a place where the disputes could be solved with a ball game match instead of a battle.
Probably the spiritual symbolism behind the ball game is the reason of the human sacrifices: the bal represents the sun and the scoring rings the sunrise; the solar movement is tied on fertility and the sacrifice of the player is the ritual of the death and the reborn of the sun. The game was a battle between day and night, born and death, life and the underworld.
This video is a modern reproduction of the ancient Mesoamerican ball game and of the Maya ball game rituals