I often tell people that we’re starting a game company. In fact, I’ll tell most anyone this every chance I get! The near-universal response is to assume that it’s a video game company. *sigh*
This is exactly what we’re trying to change. Our global culture has over the past 30-odd years assumed a perspective that “game” is synonymous with video games and that “play” is associated primarily with children.
This wasn’t always the case. For nearly all of human history, games were a means of bringing people – family members, neighbors, even rulers – together… to share, to learn, to engage with one another in important ways. This has happened for thousands of years.
But things have changed over time. In the modern era, one significant change came about at the time – and possibly as a result of the actions of the Parker Brothers around the time of the late-19th/early-20th century. Prior to the founding of their company, games were serious things. Sure, they were fun and entertaining ways to engage with others, but they also generally had valuable lessons such as the development of skills in strategy (e.g., chess, Go) or even morality and religious tenets. For example, the modern game of Chutes and Ladders was originally a game called Gyan Chaupar, which taught Dharmic-religious players about the cycle of reincarnation.
Another change has occurred in the brief period since personal computers and their descendants – laptops and mobile devices – have become a part of our being. We at Nefer Games are not Luddites; each of us owns a smartphone, and we can find ourselves glued to its screen for unexpected lengths of time. We enjoy this and other forms of modern technologies. But they are no substitute for playing a tactile game with friends and family. It is unfortunate that we are trending toward a society in which we increasingly don’t play with each other; we now play with the computer.
Sure, there are “social” games online. But we don’t talk with each other when we play – and we certainly don’t see the nonverbal cues which purportedly make up 80+% of our communication. Most online social play is focused on our explicit interactions in the game itself – not the important peripheral social interactions through which we learn about each other as human beings.
Nefer Games is partly founded on a principle that people should play together, in what we call the physical-social space – not just through the digital pathways that connect us. In addition to Sedis, we have 21 tactile games under development which are being designed to challenge players’ minds while engaging them with each other. Our goal isn’t to stop people from playing Candy Crush or Farmville, but instead to increase the frequency with which they play tactile games in the physical-social space, and where they can talk with each other, learn from one another, and compete or collaborate to their heart’s content.
Whether it’s with our games or others, we encourage you to play with others. Now, go play!