Games for your mind

Posts Tagged ‘Culture

educational games for kids

Educational videogames

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.

The European Schoolnet recently completed a survey project called Games in School, developed to analyze the use of educational videogames in European schools.
Read the rest of this entry »

ancient roman puppetGreek 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.

Read the rest of this entry »

scrabble-pieces

scrabble one of the most popular games in US

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jacob L. Moreno

Jacob L. Moreno

The term role-playing game has roots in the history of psychology.
In fact, The first to coin the term “Role Play” was Jacob L. Moreno in 1934, after experimenting in 1921 the “theatre of spontaneity”.

Jacob Levy Moreno was a leading psychiatrist, thinker and educator and has been recognized as one of the pioneer of group psychotherapy.

In 1930 Moreno emigrated to the United States and began to develop the technique of psychodrama which is still used in psychotherapy: in the psychodrama technique the patient has to recall and act (like he is on a stage) a past conflict he had against someone.

Then the roles are switched and the patient plays the part of his opponent to try to understand what the other person has felt in that occasion.

But this first sense of the word role-play has no relation with the role play intended as recreational activity, derived from war–games. dungeons and dragons

The role-playing games were played for the first time in the late sixties at the University of Minnesota war-game society.
In 1971, one student Gary Gygax developed in  a war-game with medieval setting called Chainmail, wich become very popular among all Minnesota undergratduates.

But was only in 1974, when Gygax and his mate Dave Arneson invented and released the first edition of Dungeons & Dragons that that role-playing games became worldwide famous.
For this reason, D & D is considered the first modern role-playing game and had a lot of influence on later role-playing games.

Bookmark and Share

classic-board-gamesOnce upon a time families used to have fun playing classic board games, this was before the tv and the digital revolution where fun and games are always condensed into a screen.
Some of us seem really nostalgic for those happy days, when families had fun together sitting around a table and playing classic board games, because they’re ready to spend a lot of money for classic board game.

The board games market begun in the early 20th century along with the rise of the new middle class demand for family entertainment. Soon many games designed by the most creative minds of that period became the favourite pastime
for children and adults and nowadays some of them are considered like pieces of art.
For a rare classic board game of the Georgian period, with illustrations and board in good conditions, like the one in the picture below, collectors are ready to pay up to 500£.

vintage-board-game

old board game

Classic board games are so called because some of them are still popular nowadays despite their old age.
Monopoly, for example, was launched in the UK market in 1935 and sold 200 millions of sets since then. Classic board games like monopoly, risk, connect four and many others remain one of the best options for all those parents who want to involve their children in a fun and recreational activity for all the family, instead of leaving them always alone in front of a computer screen.

In this sense classic board games can build strong and deep family relations and bring harmony and fun in your house, while you can teach always something new to your son.

For this reason classic board games are timeless, because they’re one of the funniest way to teach children about rules, loyalty, honesty, challenge, logic, problem solving and many other skills.

A new level of enjoyment for all the family can be reached with classic board games.

There are so many models that everyone of us can find the right one:
Could be a strategy game, a brain teaser or just a parlour game, the important thing is classic board games can get families around a table and offer an alternative way to confront themselves and learn about life.
I think this is something remarkable and worth to play if we don’t want to miss the best years of our life with our children.

Bookmark and Share
Knights Templars

Knights Templars

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.

the triple square symbol

the triple square symbol

Triple square France

The triple square symbol engraved in a French cavern

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.

Solar Wheel

Assyrian Solar Wheel

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.

Nine Men’s Morris game

The Nine Men’s Morris game derived from the triple square symbol

Bookmark and Share

kandisky-gameWhen 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.

Bookmark and Share
Mesoamerican-ball-game

Modern reproduction of the ancient Mesoamerican ball game

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.

A Maya mural found in El Tajin, showing the sacrifice of a ballplayer.

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

.

Bookmark and Share

The essential components for a good education are reading, writing and basic computational skills.
Among these three reading is considered the most important. It’s necessary to use creativity and patience to teach reading to children.
Nowadays, with internet and others media invading our lives, the pleasure of reading a book seems lost. However, present and past studies show the importance that reading has in student success rates and also prove that forcing children to read yields poor results.
A new approach to this problem is needed to find a new and more effective method of teaching reading.
When you teach child reading, you should use variety of methods and resources for a well-rounded education.
Some educators obtained great results using educational games :
A lot of methods of teaching reading includes reading games and clever gaming situations to help children memorize letters and familiarize with the language.
Kids learn more when they enjoy the educational experience, that’s why reading games are really effective to improve their  skills.
For a kid, a boring standard lesson can’t be catchy as playing a reading game, and this is the reason why fun learning is more effective and interesting than old teaching methods.
Also the contribute of the family is important , but the teacher’s methods are crucial to create an overall educational experience.
The video below shows how reading games for kids can be used; a specific game could provide oral reading, another one could teach how to share the contents with the group, another one could involve the class into a recital.
The “Crazy Professor” video shows a game based reading seminar adopted by many American schools to develop reading comprehension among their young students.
This a clear evidence of how educational games can help children to learn the language and enjoy their reading lessons.

Bookmark and Share

Aristotle-PlatoIn ancient Greece, board games where very popular, especially among the philosophers and their pupils. Plato once said “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation”.
Hellenistic culture gave a lot of importance to games, ancient Greeks invented the Olympics and athletes were considered like heroes.
Philosopher used to teach their scholars using linguistic game and games simulations; philosophy itself was a form of game: to quote Plato once again Philosophy is “like playing an hard game”.
Like Dutch philosopher  J. Huizinga suggests In his book ”Homo ludens” all the stages and the development of philosophy manifest a recreational linguistic activity  in its deep essence: Philosophic rhetoric play  on words during the debates and the clash between the debaters assumed in public speeches the form of a win or lose game. Even in the written form, many ancient Greeks script are a sophistic game of question an answer.
Word games and speech competitions where a sort of recreational activity, used by Hellenic people to shape and rule their ancient society.The winners of those linguistic games where often famous philosophers like Aristotle, Socrates and Plato, great politicians like Themistocles and genial playwrights like Aristophanes.

This fundamental role of playing activities in the Hellenistic culture is manifested also in the Mythology, like in the Myth of  Theseus and the Minotaur.
The Labyrinth and the Theseus myth seems like a perfect representation of a gaming scenario that today could be easily used to develop a videogame:labirint-game Theseus (the player) must overcome different stages in a labyrinth scenario to fight and defeat the final Minotaur monster.
The connection between this myth and gaming was so strong that ancient Greeks invented a board game version of this myth called “labyrinth”, a  game for two, three or four players.
Like in the original Myth, the gameboard represents the labyrinth of King Minos where the monster half men and half animal is trapped. The player acting as Theseus must save the youths Athenians  sent as tribute to King Minos who used them to feed the Minotaur.
Each player has 4 pawns, one for each youth Athenian, the first player to bear off all the pieces at the centre of the board is the winner because, like Theseus, he has saved all the youths Athenians from certain death.

Bookmark and Share

Support The blog: buy your games here

Buy Toys and games

Help this blog - click above and buy the games you love!

Gaming bloggers

free counters

Share Games for your mind !

Bookmark and Share

Enter your email address to subscribe to Games for your mind and receive notifications of new posts by email.
Clever games, news, educational info, history of games, and interesting views of toys, board games
Subscribe Games for your mind to get closer to all the fun sides of the gaming world !

Join 9 other followers

April 2014
M T W T F S S
« Dec    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.