Thursday, December 08, 2005

Bowling Alone no more?

This may be a bit of a stretch regarding what most consider to be "technology” but it does relate to community and game play.

I was recently in a Barnes and Noble or Borders the other day and I was surprised to see an inordinate amount of games for sale alongside the best sellers. Sure, finding books on poker, crosswords and sudoku are to be expected, but actual board games such as Age of Empires or World of Warcraft (games that are traditionally computer / internet based games)? Not only that, but there were a lot of niche board games that I would only expect to read about on All of this was rather unexpected. Of course, favorites such as Monoploy and Scrabble were readily found.

Maybe it's my naivety, or maybe it's been a long time since I set foot in a bookstore like that, but regardless, I think this is a good thing. Games are no doubt close to my heart -- perhaps more so after working with the casual game community for several years. There's something quite wonderful abut challenging oneself (in terms of things like crosswords and sudoku) and also about playing with others in games like chess, Monopoly or whatever.

A few years ago, Robert Putnam wrote about the decline of social capital in Bowling Alone. I don't know what the recent statistics are for bowling, but if the amount of games sold in stores is any indication, I would think that Putnam was wrong.

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