Monday, January 19, 2009

Games Are Art?

I don't have answers only questions.

Art or what?

Are video games a form of art or are they a simple, inferior form of entertainment? Some say (probably gamers or game designer) that today's most advanced video games represent the highest form of art of the new millennium, combining more traditional forms of art painting, literature, music, etc. Others, film critic Roger Abert for example, state that video games' interactive nature rules them from being considered an appropriate form of art. But that would not stop games are arts advocates from reminding that similar arguments on whether cinema is art or entertainment used to be held hundreds of years ago, but now everyone agrees that movies, at their best, are high art form.

That's video games. But what about classic games? They don't have actors, scriptwriters, or soundtrack designers, yet don't you think that the inventor of let's say senet (the oldest board game in history from ancient Egypt, similar to backgammon) saw himself as an artist?

A Senet game from the tomb of Amenhotep III - the Brooklyn Museum

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Travel Games – Special Holiday Edition

Two days after Christmas I'll be on a plane to Southeast Asia. I'll be visiting Thailand – for the second time, and Myanmar, for the first time. Feel free to send my trip advice. Took my vaccinations and I'm almost packed. Still need to renew the sunscreen mosquito repellent supply. Oh, and to decide which games I am taking with me this time. These are my all time travel games favorites:


Classic. Games are short, yet interesting enough to pass an evening/night/all day. Played almost everywhere in the world, so it is also very communicative and a chat that begins with how do you say backgammon in your language can lead to funniest findings on foreign cultures (guess where the game is called puff. Hint: not in the UK). If you don't like the tiny backgammon/chess sets, there are fabric (I think) backgammon sets that can be rolled and packed along with your sarong. The rest of the staff you just put inside a small bag. If you are creative, you can improvise a backgammon board yourself, but will you do without the dice and checkers? Draw numbers on shells?


You won't take scrabble with you right? Amazing time killer in airports, train and bus stations. It is easily packed and you can even roll it into your trousers' pockets. Just remember to take more than a couple of pens and a waterproof bag.

Pen & Paper

Talking about pens: battleship, hangman, tic-tac-toe, draw caricatures of one another, I don't know whatever creativity and alcohol takes you. Like backgammon, these games are very communicative, cause everyone knows them, though in different names, and everyone has special childhood memories of them, so these are good conversation starters. And some games can be played by more 2 people.

Card games

Even if you are not into strip poker, a card deck surely will not be a burden on your luggage. In fact, if I was to take just one game along with me, it was a card deck. That's because you can play solitaire when you are alone, play stupid war games when you are a couple, and play poker or whist if you are travelling with a group of friends.

It has been short cause I'm in a hurry, back in a month. Marry Christmas all ya!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Multiplayer iPhone Games

Being a huge fan of online multiplayer games on the web, I try to check almost every new multiplayer game available on the iPhone, at least the free ones. In this post, I will bring my pure objective findings of this research.

Board Games: Backgammon, Chess etc…

Backgammon, chess, checkers and their alikes are my ultimate choice for a multiplayer game. I know people who use their iPhone or other devices to play chess solo, but in my opinion – and I'm taking as the head of my high school chess club! – chess is all about psychology, and as such, it requires an actual opponent, a live one. I like to play on Versus Chess - and I swear I'm not related to them or anything – it's priced at $4.99 and there's good competition. I read good words on Chess with Friends. For multiplayer backgammon, Backgammon Classic has really cool graphics and features, such as shaking the iPhone to roll the dice.

Sports Games

The variety of multiplayer sports games for iPhone is not huge at the moment, but I believe it will grow in time. I got to play pool (far from the real thing), air hockey (fun time killer), tennis (needs some improvement), and there's also golf, and of course all sorts of sports but on a single player mode, playing against time, for score and such.

Online Poker

Like chess I mentioned earlier, poker needs company, but what's the use of playing poker for virtual money? But Politics aside. Multiplayer Championship Poker deserves the respect for being the first multiplayer poker game on iPhone. Secondly, it is connected with the facebook app, guaranteeing large pool of players. It supports up to ten players and the poker game played is the classic version of "Texas hold'em". Not very free though - $5.99, something you can write on your Christmas gifts list…