From arcades to home consoles and mobile games, the history of gaming is increasingly enriched by an industry that has grown and evolved since the 70s. With 2.7 billion gamers worldwide and a revenue of around $165 billion, the evolution of popular games have remained relevant in our collective culture. The Mario game series, for instance, followed the character Mario from his earliest form as Jumpman in Donkey Kong to Super Mario in Super Mario Bros. — with each iteration adapting to the newest technologies along the way, which allow the next generation to love the game as well.
Impressive as modern gaming may be, there are some games that have truly withstood the test of time and became well-known all over the globe. Here are five classic board and card games everyone should know:
Chess is one of the oldest games in the world, and it has long cemented its place as a classic. The first form of the game is thought to have originated in India, then quickly spread to the other parts of the world. By the 15th century, nobility invested in this ‘royal game’ as a way to learn about defense strategies. Recently, the UN also celebrated the calming effect of chess — how it reduces anxieties and improves mental health — to the benefit of some 605 million adults who play regularly.
Poker is one of the most popular games on the planet, and millions of people play poker at home, on online poker sites, or in live poker rooms and casinos. The basic rules of poker can differ based on the variant you’re playing, such as Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Five Card Draw, and more. Despite their unique rules, however, the fundamentals of betting, bluffing, and hand rankings apply to nearly all varieties of the game. It’s also much easier to study poker now, thanks to all the content available on the internet.
Scrabble is a go-to classic for people who love puzzles and word games. This 15-by-15 checkerboard has been around since the 1950s, and hasn’t really changed much over the years; the game only updates to reflect new, ‘usable’ words — which now include modern terms like bitcoin, emoji, and facepalm. The goal of Scrabble is to make as many words as possible, while connecting them to existing words on the board.
Solitaire emerged in the mid-1700s, but first appeared in writing towards the end of that century. While this group of games were originally played in groups, solitaire has eventually evolved to be played primarily by oneself. The variations of the game exploded with the rise of the personal computer, as Spider, Klondike, and FreeCell were stocked on almost every machine back in the 90s. Solitaire remains a classic, and hundreds of its variations are now available as apps.
Blackjack, also known as “21”, is one of the most widely played casino games worldwide. It’s easy to learn and quick to play. Essentially, players bet against the dealer to see which cards can get closest to the number 21 (or at 21) without going over. The game became popular in the US as winning strategies were devised, and more films about blackjack were made. In fact, a film called The Card Counter premiered this year— so blackjack may further rise in popularity.