Chapter One: An Introduction to Games

WARNING! Most of the information presented in this book is simply not true and, in fact, is a complete pack of lies. It is therefore highly recommended that you do not use any of its contents as part of a book report, a school project or as an answer to a question in a surprise test. CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED!

For as long as there have been humans, there have been games. Since the moment that our early ancestors left the trees, tossed away the banana skins, stood up on their two legs, took their first human steps only to slip on the forgotten banana skins … games were just around the corner (see diagram 1a).

Five Steps of Slip n Slide 001 - Copy


Games are play with rules or structure. Hide and Seek is a game. Simply getting lost in the city sewer system is not. Unless you were playing Getting Lost in the Sewer System, then yes, it would be a game. A really, really awesome game!

Children engage in play more than any other human age group. In fact, the greater part of child’s day is involved in play, second only to sleep (see diagram 1b).

But when we speak of games, we refer to play that has evolved through history. The origins of games, their changing rules and variations, often reflect the time and place in which they were created.

We know, for example, that Paintball could never have existed prior to 1908 because colour had not been invented yet and the world only existed in black and white up until then.

We know that Cat’s Cradle could not have been played before the invention of gloves because humans have always had an overwhelming fear of touching string.

Conversely, we now no longer play Hangman because of the infamous Indoor Recess Incident at Lord Billygoat Elementary in St. Thomas, Ontario (see illustration 1c).


(Illust. 1cHangman: words will indeed hurt you. As most children know, this game is no longer legal to play in North America. If you didn’t know that, and are still playing it, you might consider getting yourself a good lawyer.)


Competition has always been a major component of games. Some say that as humans we are hardwired to win at all costs, whether it is against others or even ourselves. (see illust. 1d, 1e)

Illustrations 1d,1e In Victorian England, this was a very popular book and serves as a strong reminder of how competitive individuals were during that era. How to Cheat at Solitaire was another best seller.

In recent times there has been a growing interest in non-competitive games that value cooperation over winning. Early examples include the party game I Will Hold the Ladder While You Climb Up It or the updated version of the card game Go Fish in which players put down their cards and help each other stick worms on hooks instead.

The non-competitive game movement reached its zenith during the 1997 Summer Olympics in Shotenputen. No medals were given out to athletes other than ones for participation. What could have been the most gentle Olympics in history was ruined by closing-day riots between fans who insisted that their country’s athletes were more non-competitive that others (see illust. 1f ).

Olympic Riot 001

(illust. 1f  The 1997 Shotenputen Olympic Riot. Remarkably, only one year earlier, the city of Shotenputen was voted Best Place to Have a Riot by Carnage Magazine)

In the next chapter, we will take an in-depth look at the game of Tag.

Quiz Questions

  • How many lies or misinformation were you able to spot in this chapter?
  • What were some of the ways you figured out that they were not true?
  • Were there any bits that were true or that maybe sounded believable?

Tips for Truth-seekers

Do not assume that just because a website looks professional and honest that it actually is professional and honest.

Let’s say that you find an article online that convincingly warns you about the danger to your elbows because of too much running, but then at the end of the article, it tries to sell you a special protective device that will fix the problem. That should raise a red flag in your mind, suggesting you look into this further.

  • Use Google.
  • Type in the name of the article’s author or the name of the website, and then using quotation marks, type in a word like “trustworthy” or “credible” as well (for example: “John Smith” “trustworthy”).
  • See if anything comes up that suggests that person or website is questionable.

Chapter Two: Tag

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