Rethinking Family Game Night

Many of us here at CloudKid HQ have fond memories of our own family game nights growing up. From whole families strategizing around a Monopoly board, to intense Duck Hunt stand-offs between siblings, we can recall the fun (albeit competitive) times that were had by gathering to play as a family. The way families are playing together, however, has changed. The need to gather around a table or hook controllers up to the same gaming console no longer exists. Technologies the likes of XBox Live and apps such as “Words With Friends” make it possible for gaming together to happen anytime, anywhere.

Although many may point out what is being lost in the shifting definition of family gaming (e.g. a displaced emphasis on physical interaction), there is a lot to be said about what is gained. For one, the ability to extend the net of what is meant by “family” from those who live in one geographic location to those who live virtually anywhere with access to technology is heartening. Similarly, a shift can be made from a “one size fits all” difficulty model offered by board games to an experience that can be appropriately scaffolded to meet the abilities of gamers of all ages.  Websites such as Let’s Play Please and Ohanarama are two examples of how technology can provide significant advantages in redefining what it means to play as a family.

Our hope, and challenge, as content creators is that technology will continue to evolve in a way that provides new and most importantly meaningful ways for families to play together. For our fellow dreamers, we suggest thinking about creative ways to defy conventions of one-place, one-time and one-difficulty gaming so that family members of all ages in all locations can gather for the next generation of family game night. We are excited to see what you come up with…