Old Games Vs. New — By John Reed

Old Games VS New
Let’s talk about times BE: Before Electronics. Before phones, computer games, television, or even radio, people had to find more active ways to entertain themselves. Board games, card games, even certain sports filled the spaces we now occupy watching pixels on a screen.
Bridge is one example. For this generation, think of it as Spades on steroids, where any suit can be designated trumps. Rubber or party bridge was played by four people just for the fun of it. Duplicate bridge could involve dozens of tables of four, all vying for scores that added up to a winner at the end of the evening. My grandparents grew up playing bridge a century ago, and they passed it on to my parents. My dad became a Life Master by winning enough tournaments, and he continued playing well into his eighties.
Naturally, I learned the game at an early age, but very few of my generation followed suit [no pun intended]. I’ve long dreamed of starting a local bridge club, but it’s clear I’d have to first teach folks how to play the game.
Golf seems to be another game more favored by previous generations. While some young people still play golf, clearly not enough do so to keep our local golf course afloat.
Board games were all the rage during the Depression, providing cheap entertainment for those on limited budgets. Monopoly, Scrabble, Clue, Risk all became common pastimes. Modern efforts like Trivial Pursuit and Dungeons & Dragons have tried to continue the genre, but with nowhere near the same level of popularity.
Things evolve. Even computer games have developed from simple alien shooters to highly intricate challenges. Played by one or thousands simultaneously, they now have story lines, cinema-quality soundtracks, and passionate followings.
Is progress necessarily bad? No. Humans as a species seem to need distraction. If the distractions channel our excess energy and effort in useful ways, then you can argue things are fine. However, when things take a turn toward unhealthy or hurtful directions, it’s time to take a closer look.
And who becomes the arbiter of what’s hurtful or unhealthy? That’s for another column.
**Update: Appling County native Caroline Hatchett now lives in New York and produces the podcast Cream of Caroline, highlighting the “casserole lifestyle.” She saw last week’s column and invites all cooks to share their recipes and memories at caroline.hatchett@gmail.com.

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