DragonCon - Gaming

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The basement of the Hyatt hotel was basically reserved for board gaming, primarily collectible card games such as Magic and various role playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons (TONS of others). There are tournaments as well as "friendly" games for those exited on the way to crowning a champion.

Many of these are played with dice. In the vendor's
area, the variety of dice was rather overwhelming, although certainly colorful. It's hard to imagine making a living celling dice, but I have no doubt, now that I've seen it, that one can.

I picked up a Sherlock Holmes game, no dice involved, that involves researching clues, a map to London, case files... a bit different from Clue or other classic
board games. Not surprisingly, those, such as Monopoly, Life, Parchesi, or Sorry, were nowhere to be found.

One wonders how even D&D and specialty card games will fare going forward in the virtual age.

As a regular of an online role-playing game, Runescape, I can understand some of the attraction with computer hosted games. The main difference is that families (or friends) are not gathered around a kitchen table, sharing the experience personally. Also, many games played over the internet no longer include clear-cut winners. Success is measured by
advancement through ranks or accomplishments, but without a definite end-goal.

Still similarities remain. Socializing has not left the scene. Card games, such as Hearts, or even board games like Risk, can be played on-line, against unseen opponents, but that does not mean that they are necessarily unknown. In fact, technology has enabled many to socialize while playing games on the net. Instant messenges, in-game chat systems, and internet voice chat (one on one or a conference call type group format) allow players to get to know each other very well. This has many benefits, as well as dangers that are read about periodically.

To be clear, on-line gaming is not the domain of just kids or adult predators. There are many adults who play for the enjoyment of the various games.

The point here isn't to debate what is right or wrong in all this. I have many board games from my childhood, and I still enjoy them when I play. But the current generation likely won't carry many of these forward to the next. What will they bring in their place?

Here's some possibilities that have been out there in development over the last couple years. So much emphasis has been placed on portable devices, that the next logical step will be something larger, more "family friendly." Like an I-phone, touch-screen functions are a given:

I know, I wouldn't want to play a game based an image on something like that, either. How about this?

Don't spill your drink on it. But then again, don't think old school. Imagine sensors that understand where you moved your marker, and from that input, dynamically change the game for others playing. In other words, there is another intelligence at play beyond those you are playing against.

A static image is hard to get excited about, but don't worry! Microsoft, our trusted companion for fun things like hacker-free software and operating system world domination, presents the next generation. It's a bit long, but worth the time:

For the scoffers, there is fun to be had as well:

What the financial cost of this or similar hardware systems is one thing. Whether there is a cost from virtual playing on a societal scale remains to be seen.

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