The power of games

Chess setGames are fun!  They challenge us, they entertain us, they bring us together with others who may not share our interests.

Games aren’t all about fun, though.  Look no further than the two biggest books-turned-movies this fall — the Hunger Games and Ender’s Game — for games that are deadly serious.  Even a much less sinister game of Monopoly, though, has a serious side.  It can teach us how to interact beneficially with systems, sharpen our logical thinking, and develop our planning skills.Calvin and Hobbes playing Calvinball

Games can shape how we think about language and communication.  The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein challenged his readers to come up with a single definition of a game — a statement that would be true for all games, but false for anything that is not a game.  Give it a try; it’s harder than it sounds!  The Oxford English Dictionary, for example, says that a game is “an activity played for entertainment, according to rules.”  Calvin and Hobbes don’t have any rules when they play Calvinball, but nobody would hesitate to call it a game.  Playing music together can be entertaining, and requires us to follow rules of melody, tempo, and harmony; but is it really a game?A boy and a ghost playing a game of Go

Most importantly, games can be used to share culture and develop relationships.  Societies use games to pass down their culture, values, and traditions.  And they are a fun experience to share with others; there are few things that are more fun to share with a group of people than a fun game.Schedule for International Games Day

We’re one of almost 1,000 libraries celebrating International Games Day this Saturday, November 16th.  We’re offering workshops, tournaments, and over a dozen games throughout the library, and it will be open to all ages:

  • At 12pm, we are holding a chess tournament for kids and teens
  • At 1pm, members of the Bellingham Go club will lead a workshop about this ancient Asian strategy game
  • At 2pm, we’ll hold an all-ages Scrabble tournament
  • Throughout the day, we will hold a battle league for Yu-Gi-Oh, an exciting trading card game based on a Japanese manga
  • Throughout the library, we will have dozens of card games, board games, and strategy games available for anyone to play

So please stop by the library anytime between 11am – 5pm on Saturday and share the power of games with us.



1 Comment

Filed under Adult programs, Children's programs, Teen programs

One Response to The power of games

  1. Phil Minchin

    Great post Jane! Despite being a game buff, I had missed that we had two big blockbusters themed around games this year. (I am perhaps too focused on games and not enough on movies!) Games of all sorts really are coming into their own as cultural forms right now, and libraries have so many opportunities to do so much intelligent stuff with them if we only look. So thanks for helping us see it! Best wishes from Oz for your IGD!

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