As you might infer from the following, I don't like games much. They
always seemed to me a waste of time. I would rather read a book or watch
a movie. Or, for something to do with a group of people, just sit around
Chess. The problem with chess is that you have to go to a Kung Fu
type monastery and study the game for five years before you know
enough about it to make it interesting. Prior to that, it's just more
frustrating than anything else.
One cool thing about chess, though, is they have all sorts of different
chess sets. I have no doubt that somewhere in the world is a Chess Set
Museum. Or if there isn't one now, there probably will be somewhere down
If you've ever said to yourself "What I'd like is a
chess set featuring mice dressed in ancient Egyptian costume,"
well, here ya go. You can get it here.
Go. I tried this one in college in the 70s. Go is supposed to be
the asian equivalent of chess. It's supposed to be a very subtle
game. If by "subtle" you mean "you have to shoot heroin to make it
enjoyable," well then, yeah, I guess it's subtle.
Checkers. Checkers is a game where you push your pieces across
squares on the board, sometimes jumping over your opponent's pieces and
removing them from play. If you get one of your pieces down to the last
row of squares on your opponent's side, you get to say "King me." Which
is the most exciting thing about the game, just getting to say "King
One thing I will say for checkers, it really is a game where you could
put the board down on the top of a barrel on the porch on a humid
afternoon with a hound dog laying beside you, and think about pretty
much nothing. Which isn't all bad, really.
Card games. There are thousands of card games around of various
levels of difficulty. The thing I dislike about card games is that you
are pretty much guaranteed that at least one person at the table will
eventually get pissed off or at least irritated at the way things turn
out. Which takes all the fun of it.
Aggravation. All I will say about this one is that never was a
game so correctly labeled. I have a theory that 3 out of 4 serial
killers get their initial send-off playing Aggravation. So in other
words, not a lot of fun.
Clue. Well you would know that here at P.M.P.I. that a game like
Clue would get pretty high ratings. And I do like the game. The trouble
with Clue is it tends to wear after about an hour. At that point, you'd
be willing to show every one of your clue cards to your opponents just
to find out who-dunnit and get the whole thing over with.
Risk. This was another one I played for a while in the 70s. The
point of Risk is to take over the world. So if you are a megalomaniac,
this game is certainly for you.
The one thing they really don't cover in the Rule Book for this one is
just what the hell you are supposed to do AFTER you take over the world.
Which is not exactly surprising.
Monopoly. There's just no better way to teach your children the
basics of cut-throat capitalism than Monopoly. Still, I actually liked
this one better than most, probably because I always like being handed
free money, even if it is free fake money. Here's something fun to do
when playing Monopoly: Pretend you are Andrew Carnegie and try to get
all the railroads. Too bad the game doesn't have the steel mills to go
along with it. Or the squalid slums filled with urban laborers.
Monopoly, Angela's Ashes Special Edition.
Scrabble. As a guy who loves language, you think I would like
this one. But to me Scrabble is like spending a couple of hours reading
the dictionary. The only way I like to play it is my own made-up version
called Zen Scrabble. The idea is to make up words. The catch is,
they really have to sound like words and you have to have a good
definition for the word. Such as "oinae" — the language of medieval
pigs. You don't score points in Zen Scrabble and there are no winners or
Trivia Pursuit. I'm very good at this game. What I don't like about it is being
reminded throughout the game how much useless crap I've accumulated
in my brain across the years.
Mouse Trap. The problem with this one is you spend all this time
setting the thing up, and then the mouse trap doesn't come down when it
is suppose to or falls when it is not supposed to at the slightest (and
inevitable) vibration of the board. In other words, it's an engineering
nightmare. I would recommend that you not try this one in the same way
that I would recommend that you not try to drive over that 80 year old
rusty bridge that you come across in the middle of nowhere.
Candyland. This is really for children. I have a pretty childish
mentality, but even I can't play this one. Similar to Go, an adult
wouldn't find this one fun without the use of some way-serious controlled
substances. I've heard that hallucinogenic ones like LSD or mescaline
work best, but that's just what I've heard. So please do NOT go out and
buy Candyland and a bag of magic mushrooms just to confirm the rumors,
Candyland. On acid.
Musical Chairs. I just had to throw this one in. Musical chairs
was invented by a philosopher in the 16th century to teach royalty that
they were chattel. Unfortunately, they just never did get the point and
kept on playing it and kept on ruling. Every once in while, kids will
play it today, even though the original point behind it has been lost.
Pin the Tail on the Donkey. This one was invented by a guy in
Guadalahara, Mexico in 1894 after consuming a quart and a half of
Mescal. We still don't know today exactly what this game is or why it is
still played, other than that it is in the party book.
The donkey is not amused.
Video Games. I have to admit, I don't like them. I didn't really
go for Pong, which is the only video game I've ever been able to play
from a coordination standpoint. Some people I worked with in the early
80s became obsessed with Pac-Man for a while. Luckily, they emerged from
their mania about six months later and began to communicate with people
again. I hated the game.
Some of the new video games these days are very cool. But I still don't
have enough coordination to play them. In fact, I'm lucky that I even
learned to type decently. The only newer game I've ever purchased
and tried out was some sort of armoured tank game featuring the M1A1
Abrams tank in various battle scenarios. But I never could get the hang
of it. One evening I was playing the game and moved my tank in to an
enemy base and had a wild time destroying it. As it turned out, it
wasn't an enemy base after all. It was my own damn base. In fact, I'm
the only guy in history to be court-martialed for a video game. After
that, I gave up trying the new games, too.
The best "video game" I ever came across was simply computer
programming. It was really cool just writing lines of code — words and
numbers — and then having some sort of result at the end that actually
did something. In that sense, I think programming is the "ultimate"
video game. And of course once you learn how to do it, it has a wide
variety of applications — such as designing video games. And so we come