I wasn’t going to write about this because I’ve been covering the upcoming Apple iPad launch, from various angles, almost every day for the past few weeks. But a story about the iPad’s board game potential piqued my interest. A preview of TUAW’s iPad app GameTable has gotten me all excited, primarily because of the possibilities for a new generation to fall in love with board games.
You see, I’m a huge fan of Backgammon. I’ll play against the computer for hours, forgoing sleep on some occasions. I’ve been a bit of a Backgammon addict when it comes to online play, working my way up in rank against other players from around the world. I’m not saying I’m the best at Backgammon (though I am the best at Text Twist), but I really like the game.
And I don’t even think that Backgammon is part of the new GameTable iPad app, but it should be. Still, that’s not exactly the point here. My main reason for writing this article is to sing my praises to board games on the iPad. As Mashable points out, the larger tablet screen makes board game play a great deal easier, especially when you factor in two-player games.
Board games may not be the most exciting in the world, but as I just mentioned, they’re good for two players. And with the size of the iPad, I’m hoping that a new era has dawned for the popularity of board games. Chess, checkers, Backgammon and the like are great learning experiences for people of any age. They help you to maintain your mental activity, strategy and logic. Boardgames aid you in your ability to control your environment, and overcome obstacles. The benefits of board game play reach far beyond those of a global leaderboard and high scores.
The funny thing is, I’m not even sure how I ended up loving Backgammon as much as I do. My mother taught me how to play, and she ensured that I would one day beat her by making me practice against myself. Sounds like a crappy way to spend a sizeable portion of my summer vacations, but apparently it worked out for the best. Even though there were a few years in high school when I stopped playing Backgammon all together, the rise of Yahoo Games revived my interest, as the game was suddenly electronic, on-demand, and I no longer had to play alone.
I’m hoping the same explosion will happen as a result of the touch screen, graphics and overall usability of the iPad and other multimedia tablet devices. Sure, I’m joining the bandwagon of those placing far too many expectations on a new consumer electronic device, but I think that highly of board games. So I’m really hoping GameTable adds Backgammon to its repertoire.