Fun and Games with Google Books

Wednesday, September 22, 2010 at 10:54 AM

[Please note, some images in this post may not be available in full view to users outside of the United States.]

As video games become ever more popular, I've begun to wonder how pre-video game generations kept themselves entertained. Games have always been a part of our culture, whether in the form of a leisurely game of bridge or a high-intensity video game of zombies or fantasy worlds.

I spent an afternoon diving through Google Books to examine the history of games, our source of relaxation, happiness, and camaraderie. The Clip feature on Google Books allowed me to easily to capture these great images from game blasts from the past!

Chess, one of the older games, was derived from an ancient game called Chaturanga, created by Hindoo Puranas 3000 years before the Christian era. The layout of the board mimics the field of battle, with soldiers, a king, an elephant, a ship, and a horse, each with its own accompanying pawns.

Every four years we continue to celebrate the Olympics, which were born from the ancient sporting festivals of Greece. Crowds observed Grecians compete for glory in foot races, gymnastic exercises, and combat-style games like Caestus, which involved gauntlets and the shedding of much blood. The ancient Olympic games in Greece opened and closed with marvelous ceremonies in the city of Olympia, a tradition that was carried on for many centuries thereafter.

As the centuries passed, different games began to evolve, as demonstrated by The Book of Parlour Games by Catharine Harbeson Waterman. The game, Pinch Without Laughing, was played during an afternoon of tea with guests. The object of the game was to pinch the nose of one’s neighbor, who must submit without laughing. Whoever smiled or laughed lost the game!

School, Church, and Home Games by George O. Draper is a treasure trove of games that can be played by children and students. The author shares trick games, games for the dining table, and even competitive stunts. This book details games for everyone, including hide and seek, Simon Says, and musical chairs - games many remember fondly from our own childhood!

If rain has you stuck inside, check out My Book of Indoor Games by Clarence Squareman if you’re stuck inside because it’s rainy. If you’re somewhere sunny and tropical, explore your athletic capabilities with Outdoor Sports and Games by Claude H. Miller, or gather your friends and play some Games For Everybody by May C. Hofmann.


No comments: