Saturday, August 04, 2012

Jane McGonigal - Excellent Talk

After watching this informative, inspiring, and fun video I order McGonigal's book, 
Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World.  She also invented a reality game called SuperBetter.  And "there's an ap for that!"  And it's FREE.  She talks about this game in the video .  I've downloaded it to my iPad and love the feeling of improving myself in manageable increments each day.  Each day there are new "quests" to do and you can choose between two.  One of the first day's  "quests" was to shake hands with someone for 6 secs.  So Candleman and I shook hands and commented on what a 6-second kiss could do for us.

As a child I didn't think my family was particularly close knit, but as grown-ups we have stayed in touch and enjoyed semi-regular gatherings to play games and enjoy each others' company.  My husband's family didn't play games and they are not as companionable as my family.  We had to teach my husband the card suits, what 'tricks' were in Hearts and other games.  When we play Mormon Bridge I always have to give him a little nudge when it's his turn.  (Mormon Bridge is the LDS player's name for Oh, Hell or several other bleepy words.)

When Candleman and I were first married and living far from home we would play games together.  We had a notebook that we kept a running score total for several games.  I would always beat the pants off him when it came to Rack-o.  (You thought I was going to say strip poker, didn't you?)  Nope, I didn't feel comfortable with my body back then.  Anyway, back to Rack-o - I would get all my cards in order, including the run of 3, but would feel bad for him so I'd throw my middle run card away and start all over on a run.  He still only one a handful of games.  I still don't know what game he was trying to play...

As a mother I loved playing video games.  We used to do that "heavy, heavy hangover thy poor head" thing when we gave each other birthday presents.  For my 30th birthday I was hoping for a Game Boy - they were new then!  My present from my husband didn't get wrapped and when he did "heavy, heavy hangover" my girls eyes grew as large as saucers and they jumped up and down squealing.  I knew I had my Game Boy.  Yeah!  And I did share it often with the kids.

In our family room we had 2 banana chairs set up in front of an old tv that was for video games.  We were always slow in getting these new gadgets, but when we finally broke down and bought one we used it a lot.  I remember playing the first Zelda with my 3rd daughter (she was the one who liked to play electronic games).   When I was stumped I would call this Jr. High boy that I knew (who was also my 2nd daughter's age) to ask him for help.  This embarrassed daughter 2 to no end.

We played lots of other games in addition to the electronic ones.  Now as a grandmother with my only 2 grandchildren living through the back gate we continue to play games.  When school was still in session my granddaughter organized "Canasta Club" for Friday or Sunday afternoons.  My 2 daughters, granddaughter, and I would play a variation of Canasta called Hand and Foot.  She received the game for Christmas and we are still playing it!  Candleman and I played it several times with a neighbor couple and they fell in love with it and order one for them, one for each of their 6 grown children, and several for friends.  The rules are horrendous, but the game is easy.  We adopted some rules from online to make it funner.

During the summer, both grandkids get bored easily and almost every afternoon we get together -their mom, them, and I - to play Hand and Foot or Chicken Foot, a dominoes game.  I'm looking forward to school starting and going back to 1 or 2 afternoons a week for games instead of seven.  I think these are good bonding moments and help the kids learn to socialize, take turns, learn how to be gracious winners, and learn how to lose without crying.

Just a side note here:  We do lots of other activities in addition to playing games.  Little Miss Granddaughter likes to help me cook or bake, mix essential oils, share pins on Pinterest, sew (she's made pjs and an apron), garden, etc.  She's enjoys reading but only at bedtime.  My grandson likes to make model airplanes, learn about WWII, build paper airplane models - you could say he's focused, but he will join us occasionally for a game.

Do you and your family play games?  What are some of your favorite games?  I asked that question of my sister-in-law last summer when she was visiting from Cincinnati and ever since then I've played the online version of Settlers of Catan almost every day - once while I eat lunch and once before going to bed.   She also shared some good book recommendations with me.

Let me know what are your favorite games.  It's getting close to Christmas and I could use some good ideas.  We have a Thanksgiving tradition of buying a new game to play during that long weekend and into the Christmas holidays.  I love family traditions and, in our family, one of those traditions is playing games.

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