Boargames and past-times of the 80s and 90s

The truth is I’ve always loved games but was never heavily exposed to the family board gaming culture or video game scene in my household. Being Caribbean Canadian my siblings and I grew up with dominoes and moody and some of the more traditional board games like chess, checkers, and chutes and ladders. Like most kids growing up, entertainment is key in keeping a busy bodied child from mischief and danger… Usually. Watching TV, reading books, drawing, colouring, building things, breaking things, doing chores around the house, homework and listening to music seemed to be what made up 90% of our “busy” time during the 80s and 90s. At least for me it was. Sports were always a go-to for me when it came to entertainment. Gaming however wasn’t. I enjoyed drawing more so than games, but then again I chalk that up to access and exposure. My parents played one game religiously… Scrabble. I grew upon Scrabble. Mom, dad, aunts and uncles. My grandmother (dad’s mom) had a backgammon game set, you know the one in the leather briefcase with the ivory-like disks, a chess/checkers table with pieces and a hand painted ludi board. I remember my uncles and my dad and his friends playing dominoes at every get together. There was no Monopoly or Connect 4 or  Chutes and Ladders. I’m from a Caribbean background so ludi, dominoes, dice and card games were primary pastimes for my elders.

My passions laid in two things; sports and arts. Every moment I could, I spent it outside either rollerblading, skateboarding, playing baseball or hockey, or riding my bike. Most of these activities weren’t limited by my residence at the time. Ive lived in huses and apartments growing up. Whether it was a hallway, a basement, undergeound parking, a backyard, someones’s driveway or a playground, we went hard. Living in an apartment building isn’t the most exciting thing. Especially when you’re young and can’t venture outside of your own floor for the most part. I made up for that time spent not outside by drawing and colouring. I never had a game console until I was 16 and I never owned any board games so indoor activities were limited to throwing around a paper ball or playing hockey with a tape ball and out hands (doorways as the net), making paper car racers or designing cardboard activity games like pinball, basketball and hockey. My creative nature and thirst for boardgames fused into a passion I would later realize as not only exciting and challenging for me, but globally recognized as a movement in entertainment.

In school friends had introduced me to said “common” board games like Monopoly, Clue, and Game of Life. I remember never really having a hunger to play board games but I did like card games. In elementary school I found ways to create my own card games and dice games. Even making my own roll your own adventure game for a class project with my peers. The ideas were fun but what as more entertaining were my G.I Joes, my Lego and my crafting. Regarding video games, my first major exposure to that was my best friend, Mike, from grade 5. He had the latest  console that we’d play after school almost religiously. NES, SNES, and PlayStation when it first came out. Video games were cool.

I never thought that decades later I’d be able to actually create games at home in my spare time with tools and software for everyday use. I didn’t have to spend 4 years in college programming games on a full time basis. Our access to technology and knowledge these days have made it possible for the layman to exercise his or her interests in the comfort of home without heavy time or monetary investment.

Now as a grown man with a family I’m trying to instill that in-home activities aren’t any less eventful than outdoor activities. Especially when you have guests or when the weather doesn’t permit. Don’t get me wrong though. I love being outside with my wife and son, and I know he’s up for anything that requires a lot of activity. On the aspect of tabletop gaming, my son loves dice. No matter what type they are or what game they’re a part of, he wants to hold them and roll them. Even at the early age of 2 he was gripping them in his little hands and dropping them just like his elders. My wife isn’t much of a boardgamer. She likes a couple games here and there, mostly stuff she enjoyed when she was younger, but has no real interest in delving into games. It makes it really, REALLY hard to get her to give me an enthusiastic once over when I ask her to play test my game ideas. She’s a trooper though and usually is willing to entertain my ideas for 5-10 minutes. I’ve pleasantly surprised her on very few occasions which I guess goes to show no matter how cool I think an idea is, it may not be widely accepted by partial boardgamers. That’s okay though. I’m not in it to make money from it and realistically the market is ridiculously saturated. I don’t have the bankroll to give my ideas any real weight to outdo some of the other indie game developers who have experience and published work well ahead of me. I do this because I love to share my creativity, and that’s the real key. Sharing my creative output, whether it’s in arts, comics, storytelling, game design, web design, whatever. I want to create enough pieces of work to leave a legacy for my child and his children’s children. My mark on the world starts with ADL Design+Web, ADL Interactive and ADL Revelworx.

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