View From The Glen

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Just A Game?

On cold winter nights, when the sun goes down early and the darkness stretches indeterminently ahead, there's something Andrew and I like to do to while away the time.

No, not that. Family site and all.

Scrabble is our fallback game du jour. We've always played, and one year for Christmas I bought him a Scrabble dictionary, lovingly isncribed, "maybe now you'll be able to beat me." I should have known not to challenge Andrew, because of course that's exactly what he did. It's to the point now where I have to struggle to win, mostly because of his incredibly esoteric knowledge and memory of unique words spelled with x, q and j.

We bought kid scrabble a few years back, but quickly abandoned it when it became obvious the kids didn't need it. We had to stop giving them head start points too - they're just too good.

So when I heard the great Scrabble debate about the game loosening its rule structure to allow proper nouns, names, etc, I was disappointed.

It turns out they are not changing Scrabble, but are coming out with another version that will appeal to people who can't spell.
As I was shaking my head about this, I came across another interesting fact: Monopoly now includes a calculator so that people don't have to do any actual subtraction or addition.

It sure does make me wonder. If we don't expect adults to be able to spell or do basic math, what do we expect of kids?

And how sad is it that these basic games have to be adjusted to the lowest common denominatior.

Is it just a game? Maybe. But I think it says something quite depressing about the values and expectations we have in our society.

So I'll continue to play the old fashioned way, thank you very much.


Steve & Cyndi said...

The calculator threw me for aloop too- I have to look long and hard for a version without it!! We ( Steve & I) are RISK players- and it is definately cut throat. The kids recently got involved- and it turns out I am the worst player in the house- all in fun though!! Maybe I should get the dog playing............

Steve & Cyndi said...

OOPS_ I am on the family account- not my personal...I'll sign it:


stayathomemd said...

I love Scrabble. But I always lose because I play the more interesting words instead of the highest scorers. The best job interview I ever had involved playing scrabble during the half hour (I lost--a good career move, perhaps, not to beat your future boss?). I'm not sure what to make of the new game but since it is to be called something else, I don't mind so much.

Denise Nielsen said...

I always lose at Monopoly - way too cautious! so don't feel bad, Cyndi.

And wow - Scrabble as job interview...? Never heard of it, but I like it. Mostly because I'm good at Scrabble - as you say though, probably wise to let the future boss win:)

Jody Hedlund said...

Oh, how sad that they're having to dumb down the games in order to continue to make them appealing to our culture! I agree, I'm going to continue to play them the old-fashioned way! :-)

Jana said...

Me too! You're right--it's annoying that so many of these games are changing to expect less from the players. (Sort of like spell-check. Kids don't think they need to know how to spell anymore. Will proper spelling be a relic from an ancient past?)

I love Scrabble. My eighth grade teacher had Scrabble Fridays, and ever since then I thought I was pretty good. But I'm losing my game a little.