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Economics and the History of Boardgames
Board games existed thousand of years before the birth of Christ. The oldest board game known to man that still exists today is the game of Senet. Senet is a game of luck, and it is the known forerunner of another famous board game, backgammon. Senet was played by the Egyptian royalties and records of the game date back to 3500BC. Even commoners were also interested in the game, and ancient game boards were found in many burial sites.
Board games are closely associated to the economic status of the people in the area. Board games are sit down games where people sit down and spend time playing without breaking a sweat. These are also the type of games which require a certain degree of knowledge and quick wit. These factors are essential in knowing the development of the game, especially in its popularity in history.
Considering these factors, we can say that people from the middle class were fortunate enough to play board games. Modern history is the best witness to this trend. It was only during the 20th century that worldwide attention to board games started. After the World War II, there was a significant rise of the middle class in the USA, and people were living the “American dream” – a decent and stable job for the father, a stay at home mom, and kids that are assured of their future in any given career. People now have time to think of themselves and not fear any wars or economic meltdown. People started to notice more games that were around them. Some took notice of alternate sports, and board games started to flourish since that time.
It was particularly the game of chess that captivated everyone. During that time, chess was already an established sport and world the world champions are mostly Russians. Russians were particularly meticulous in this type of sport and showed excellence for more than a century since the establishment of professional chess. Though chess was loved by the Americans for some time, it was only in the 1970s that the U.S. was able to produce their sole chess champion to date: Bobby Fischer. Fischer became the world champion in 1972 when he defeated Boris Spassky, a Soviet world champion. It was through his victory he single handedly created a sensation of chess worldwide, especially in USA. However, the United States has yet to produce the next Bobby Fischer.
Even with this drought, board games are still popular in the United States. Worldwide interest was also sparked by the computer and internet. In addition to chess, softwares was developed to create artificial intelligence. These AIs will play against the human player who likes to play the game but couldn’t find someone to play with. The height of artificial intelligence against a human player is a chess game between then world champion Gary Kasparov and the software developed by IBM, Deep Blue. At first Kasparov was able to defeat the computer, but its upgraded version known as the Deeper Blue eventually defeated the champion. The software was discontinued after its victory. This competition also sparked the interest of playing chess against the computer, but also against another player who happens to be online at the same time.
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