The game’s the thing.

Book people are word people. I’ve yet to see an exception to this. If they’re number people who like to read, even if all they ever read about is numbers, somewhere along the way they become word people as well.

I love words. I happen to not be a number person at all, but even if I had been, I think I would love words. I am happiest when I am surrounded by words: reading, writing, hearing stories, seeing plays. And like many word people, I’ve always loved word games.

Scrabble. Crosswords. Hangman. Balderdash. Bananagrams (haven’t played it? Look it up!). If you and I ever spend an evening together and you want to make me totally, blissfully happy, pull out a word game and you’ll have significant trouble getting me to go home.

For whatever reason, though, I’ve always been opposed to those word games you play on your smart phone or on Facebook. You know the ones. They look like Scrabble but with a more obnoxious color palette, and people play them instead of interacting with the humans around them. Those games.

Man, did I used to hate those things.

Then recently, my boyfriend asked me to play Words with Friends on Facebook. That’s another Scrabble knockoff, and I do love Scrabble. But I was still torn; I felt like I was being sucked into some weird internet world – a cold world, without cookies or soup. And I love soup.

I told him I’d play if we played it like a real game- if we both sat down at the computer, at the same time, doing nothing else, and played the game all the way through. Not a distraction from real life. Not that flashing light in the background that annoys the person you’re talking to. Just a game I could play with a super special person while we couldn’t be together.

The game was surprisingly fun, and I agreed to start new games, with my best friend and my roommate. But those weren’t “real time” games, and I found myself working on them when I should have been doing other things. Like eating. And sleeping. Not good. I’d rather be reading anyway.

But word games are SO. MUCH. FUN. It was tough. Once I started, how could I stop?

For myself, I’ve decided to set a few ground rules.  Basically, I want to feel like I am playing a real game. So I can’t play multiple games at once, and I can’t play games while I’m doing other things, and I’m certainly not going to play a game with someone without talking to them. I make conversation, online or on the phone, to keep things personal. I am, after all, a very chatty girl.

The internet and words. Words and the internet. They’ve become forever entangled, and I’m not  the first person to try and pull them apart in a way that makes it all work for me. I’m just a people person who loves word games. So sue me.

So where do you draw the line? Are games, conversations, etc. things that should happen in person? Are there things that you flat-out won’t  do online?

Published in: on September 26, 2011 at 9:00 am  Comments (7)  

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I think you are asking great questions.
    Although there were times when I felt the peer pressure to join Facebook. I’ve stayed consistent and have not.
    I’m a relational person, and to me it is not relational in a realistic way.
    Keep asking these question!

  2. Yes! I love this theory. Book people are word people! It seems so obvious but it never even occurred to me!

    I can’t get into the Facebook games – I just can’t. I have Wordfeud on my phone but I only play with friends. Just isn’t the same when playing with strangers!

    But absolutely nothing beats pulling out the game box and clearing off the coffee table!

    • And maybe having junk food while you play!

  3. Interesting post – and very honest! I have a strange relationship with technology and my age is probably part of that. I am not on Facebook (I was briefly, just to know what it is) and only just this past year got a cellphone for emergency use only. I love word games and bananagrams is my favourite; my 13 year old and I love to play it together. I can foresee a time when he and I meant end up playing on line together, when he’s off in the world…so I guess I’m receptive to it.

    I have to say that it’s really refreshing to hear someone of your generation speak so passionately about relationships needing to be based in the real world and real time, but your approach to the grey areas that the internet has introduced to our lives sounds extremely healthy. I think you’ve dealt with it more head-on than I have.

    • We’re forced to deal with it now- though as you say, it’s full of gray areas.

  4. A internet game that I love playing is “Bookworm”. I don’t play very often because if I start, I end up playing for hours and neglect the pleasure reading I could be doing. Oh, the dilema. What to do….what to do.
    I just finished your book, “The Reading Promise”. I especially liked the promise at the end (which I printed and signed). I have already been promoting reading and books for years. Most people, I fear, think that is all I have to talk about. Not true!. I have learned so much, experienced so many people and places and ideas that I would not have without reading. I love to share that excitement with anyone who will listen. What a wonderful world through books! I work at a small community bank and all of us here enjoy reading and swap books all the time. I also have volunteered for an organization in our community “Reading Rocks”. This group meets in the summer at the various parks in our community. We gear the emphasis on the underpriveleged children who don’t have much exposure to books in their homes. They come for a free lunch, listen to a story given by a “celebrity”, choose a book to read to a volunteer and then when they are ready to go home get to pick a book to take home with them.

    • Cool group! And I love that game!

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