We all grew up by playing games with a small group of people or alone playing with our parents, games in childhood is basically a medium where humans evolve and think differently, it is a part of basic development in human lives through their own experiences. These games teach the younger generations about the cultural norms and also other norms like social norms which helps children to understand how they should act towards a particular group and how to imply their norms into the society they live in, some of the cultural norms are split into four different categories such as folkways, Moores, taboos, and laws. Culture shapes us and they define who we are as a person such as some cultures have different views of marriages like in Canada, America people view marriage as a choice between two people whereas in some parts of India they encourage in arranged marriage where two families come into an agreement, so in other words how people view marriages depends mainly on their culture and what they have been taught as a child . Children playing the game think and act differently according to different situations such as playing chess which reflects to their cultural norm, as Ethan Watters says in the chapter, “Being Weird: How Culture Shapes the Mind”, ” the very way we think makes us distinct from other humans on the planet” (497). The childhood games like chess or robbers and cops help us learn about the society, how it works and ultimately the cultural norms we are bound with.
One of the many childhood games which were popular in my country was Cops and Robbers a two- six-player card game that pits a deck of Cop cards against a deck of Robber cards. Each player races to occupy the locations provided to either gain loot as the Robber, or protect the city as the Cop. The Cop player also attempts to arrest Robbers that are in locations. The game ends when the Robber has gained 24 loot, or the Cop has 24 arrests. The cop can also win by stopping the Robber from getting 24 loot after all the locations have been played. The Cop and Robber each have a deck that includes Units, Items, and Actions. The Units and Items are used to occupy the locations. Each location requires a different number to occupy, and a specific number of turns. There are 4 locations out at a time and 24 locations in the game in total. The Action cards are used to affect things like occupy time, defense and attack buffs, and hand management. If a player wins a location uncontested, as a Robber they win the loot, and the Cop gets 1 more location off the game board. If the other player does contest while occupied, they must play that same number of Units and Items required against the occupied player. Each Unit has a level and it becomes a war type-highest number wins after all levels are added up, action cards are played, and a die is rolled. Along with the win, the player also gets an Event card, which can be played for big bonuses and affect the game positively or negatively. Lastly, each player has a home base. The Robber has their Hideout, and the Cops stay in the Police Station.
The game starts by players shake each other’s hand in a form of greeting other and treat others with care as this norm is one of the most important norms in India since people are taught to treat guests or other people equivalent to god. The game itself portraits or shows the kids that robbers are the people who the society dislikes and are not respected by others whereas the cops are well respected and the kids should try and help other people when they are in need or danger and ultimately it teaches the younger generations about the culture and the norms that should be followed in the society. Childhood games have a great impact in our life as it shapes us, “Researchers say that over time, students who played violent games became less likely to show empathy and behave in helpful ways, whereas those who played prosocial games became more empathetic and helpful”(Cultural Differences, Iowa State University).
The other popular game in our country was a card based game called UNO, it is a game for 2-10 players The first player is normally the player to the left of the dealer (you can also choose the youngest player) and gameplay usually follows a clockwise direction. Every player views his/her cards and tries to match the card in the Discard Pile.You have to match either by the number, color, or the symbol/Action. For instance, if the Discard Pile has a red card that is an 8 you have to place either a red card or a card with an 8 on it. You can also play a Wild card
If the player has no matches or they choose not to play any of their cards even though they might have a match, they must draw a card from the Draw pile. If that card can be played, play it. Otherwise, the game moves on to the next person in turn. You can also play a Wild card, or a Wild Draw Four card on your turn. If the first card turned up from the Draw Pile is an Action card, the Action from that card applies and must be carried out by the first player to go . The
exceptions are if a Wild or Wild Draw Four card is turned up.If it is a Wild card, the first player to start , can choose whatever color to begin play. If the first card is a Wild Draw Four card Return it to the Draw Pile, shuffle the deck, and turn over a new card. At any time, if the Draw Pile becomes depleted and no one has yet won the round, take the Discard Pile, shuffle it, and turn it over to regenerate a new Draw Pile.The game continues until a player has one card left. The moment a player has just one card they must yell “UNO”. If they are caught not saying “UNO” by another player before the next player has taken their turn, that player must draw two new cards as a penalty. Assuming that the player is unable to play/discard their last card and needs to draw, but after drawing, is then able to play/discard that penultimate card, the player has to repeat the action of calling out “UNO”. Once a player has no cards remaining, the game round is over, points are scored.
Uno card game helped us in many ways mainly in problem solving and as stated in the Indian culture we are made to think smart and make better decision by play games like Uno or Chess which developes our thinking skills. Many games like uno cards have specific rules which helps us stay on track and also make us more organized which is one of the main points followed in our culture. “Recent research has shown that people in “tight” cultures, those with the strong norms and behaviour(think India, Malayasia, and Pakistan), develop higher impulse control and more self-monitoring abilties thanthose of other places”(499), which means rules that are part of the game can be related to the the strong norms and behaviour in our culture.
The games we play as a child has an impact in our lives as it teaches many important things about the culture like how to treat others, never cheat or the individual will face punishments and also how to live by the rules we are bound with. In overall it shapes us to become better human being in the society. “Culture appears to have become key in our interconnected world, which is made up of so many ethnically diverse societies, but also riddled by conflicts associated with religion, ethnicity, ethical beliefs, and, essentially, the elements which make up culture”(De Rossi).