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Games: Early Vs. Modern


The Royal Game of Goose

The game of Goose was Invented by Francesco de Medici and was taken quite seriously amoung adult players. Now it is seen as a classic children’s race game, you throw the dice and move gradually into the centre of the board with various ‘miss a turn’ obstacles along the way. the first one to the middle is the winner. The game is very good for younger children, this is all about luck rather than strategy. The game is easy game to learn, yet is immensely fun for all ages. Certain special-marked spaces add either a bonus or a penalty to a player’s move. Any number of players can play. Each player needs a uniquely marked, colored or shaped playing piece. Each player places their single playing piece on the starting area. Play is commenced by each player, in turn, advancing his piece by the throw of two 6-sided dice to space number 63. Scattered throughout the board are a number of spaces on which a goose is depicted; landing on a goose allows the player to move again by the same distance. Additional shortcuts, such as spaces marked with a bridge, move the player to some other specified position. There are also a few penalty spaces which force the player to move backwards or lose one or more turns, the most recognizable being the one marked with a skull and symbolizing death; landing on this space results in the player being sent back to start.



The Game of Life

The modern game consists of a track on which players travel by spinning a small wheel (in the center of the board) with spaces numbered 1 through 10. The board also contains small mountains, buildings, and other three-dimensional objects. Playing pieces are small, colored, plastic automobiles which come in red, blue, white, yellow, orange, and green; each car has six holes in the top in which blue and/or pink “people pegs” are placed throughout the game as the player “gets married” and has or adopts “child”. The Game of Life, copyrighted by the Milton Bradley Company in 1963, had some differences from later versions. For example, once a player reached the Day of Reckoning, they could end up at the “Poor Farm”, or become a Millionaire Tycoon, moving on to Millionaire Acres. Today, there are 26 international language editions of Life produced in 59 different countries. The only localized version is the Japanese edition (Jinsei Ge-mu), which makes references to current events and customs unique to Japanese life, such as New Year’s celebrations, an imperial wedding, going on a hot-spring tour, holding a concert at the Tokyo Dome, even buying a nuclear bomb shelter on sale. The Takara Tomy Company, which distributes the game today, speculates that the original popularity of the game grew from its representation of the American Dream – in the 1960s, American life was idolized among the Japanese as symbolic of wealth and success. Life has been re-invented many times, reshaped to fit cultural peculiarities and changing attitudes towards success. Drastic changes have been made to the Game of Life over the years, unlike Monopoly, whose iconography and overarching goal has remained consistent since 1935

Author: Gavin Johnston

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