Growing Up Gaming
Updated: Dec 27, 2019
Board and card games have been a part of my life since I was a little girl. It was a great way for babysitters to entertain us. A way for new people to meet each other in a way that wasn’t awkward. Plus, a perfect thing to do when the weather wasn’t to our liking.
My first memories of playing board games was before kindergarten. When my dad owned and worked a coffee cart in downtown Flagstaff, AZ. I would hang out and drink Italian sodas while playing with the wine store owner’s son behind the cashier counter. We would play human chess with the checker tiled floor, play my least favorite game Scrabble because I’m a terrible speller and Chutes and Ladders. Somehow these games kept me entertained day after day. I even learned to play pool for the first time with friendly bikers like Kenny in the Billiard room. How many kids can say that? I loved being in Old Town with my dad and all the friendly shop owners. I was just as socialized there as I would have been in a pre-school.
What got me interested in Indie games was our family friends the Godwins. Scott Godwin would teach us a new game almost every time we came over to play with his sons. I found out fast that I liked the puzzle strategy games the most because I hardly lost. My favorite strategy game was Cathedral. It was a two-player medieval puzzle game like Blokus. Scott and I would play it when the other kids would play whatever Nintendo system was most recent.
I started to create my own games using toys, cardboard, sketch books and markers. I’d use my siblings as game testers and at times my classmates. It was surprising how willing my classmates were to play a game I made. One game especially, a Digimon board game where I used small miniatures as the player pieces. We played that game at recess for a full month.
Games became a part of our traditions. For Christmas our Aunt KC would always buy our family a game. The Hersheys and Reynolds would play that game while Christmas Story played in the background on Christmas Eve. As for Thanksgiving and Christmas we always played Loaded Questions with the Shannons. Parents and kids would all play together which at times got raunchy. I loved this game because I got to come up with witty answers and pretended to answer like other players. My brother was always easy to impersonate because he wrote marathon answers. My dad wrote raunchy. But the others were harder to impersonate/guess. I currently don’t have a favorite game but this one holds a special place in my heart.
As I grew up I continued to play games with my family and friends and it wasn’t until College that I started to have regular game nights. I did what my friends called “pulling a Danielle” where I’d invite friends from all walks of life to these game nights. I grew up always wanting to include everyone and thanks to that continued philosophy people have made new friends through gaming. Even now a few years out of college I have friends over most Fridays to play games. It’s not a consistent group but there’s always a group of people willing to learn a new game and meet some new people.
I have lots of memories of gaming, but these are the ones that stick out the most. Someday when I have kids I hope they will enjoy playing and creating games as much as I do.