Games Have Feelings Too · 5 January 2013

Believe it or not, games have feelings too. They do not like to be neglected or put on the shelf. So when they come back into favor, they tend to show their feelings in unusual ways.

Recently, two of our games, one electronic and one board, decided that they needed to be played more. Fortune Street and Scrabble thought that they had been abandoned for either more chic games or for other frivolous endeavors like swimming or reading.

Fortune Street is a Wii game where players acquire properties and stocks in order to gain wealth. The player with the highest net worth above the target amount must reach the bank first in order to be crowned winner. My wife, The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi, has had a winning streak going for quite some time. That streak may have even been the reason for Fortune Street being shelved for a time. After all, games can get tiring when you lose all the time.

It came off the shelf on Thing 3’s birthday, which fell on Thanksgiving this year. We had come back from having a wonderful feast with family and decided that we needed to play a game. It was a rousing game, but I suspect Fortune Street did not want to go back on the shelf too soon because The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi’s seemingly endless win streak was broken that night. She fell to Thing 3. And I know she did not throw the game because she plays too ruthlessly. Besides, she would not want the win to be hollow by not giving her all.

I believe the game wanted Thing 3 to win because, like his father, he had been at or near the bottom of the heap for quite some time, and winning would be a nice birthday present. The element of chance (dice rolls) seemed to be completely in favor of Thing 3 in his quest for glory. While he played well, the game gave Thing 3 every opportunity he needed to win. Even if the game did not just want to be taken off the shelf more, the big win was a nice birthday gift.

Scrabble came off the shelf because Thing 1 had come home for Christmas. We have always loved to play together, but life has been too hectic and video games too alluring to play it much lately. But when Thing 1 is around, we almost always have a game. This time, Scrabble showed it was lonely for Thing 1.

Right out of the gate, Thing 1 drew the lowest tile and got to play first. He played an unprecedented seven-letter word on his first turn! The game was over before it even began. Still, we all made a go of it. The fifty-point bonus for a seven-letter word was not quite the final difference between Thing 1 and the runner up. In the end, Thing 1 had gotten his way. He had fun playing and winning a game he enjoys.

The game got its way too. At least for its family. We played Super Scrabble the next day.

I know it sounds ludicrous that games would have feelings, but it sure seems that way. The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi’s Fortune Street winning streak was interrupted by a birthday win and a Scrabble victory (with fifty-point bonus) was an apt homecoming win. While my boys can and do win on their own merits, it is fun to think that there is more than strategy and chance contributing to a win. It might seem a bit fanciful, but it is fun to think that games help determine their own outcomes because they have feelings too.

© 2013 Michael T. Miyoshi

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    — Adrian Clairmont · 25 January 2013, 04:37 ·

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