Marti Muses: Back to the Classics

I’ve played games my entire life. I have joked for years that I was destined to be a gamer. I was born in 1985, the year that this lovely console opened the video gaming world wide open:

One of the first video games I remember playing was Dr. Mario. I played the original Super Mario Bros and to this day, I think that Super Mario Bros 3 is one of the absolute best video games of all time. I had a controller in my hand around age 3 or 4 and I have been hooked.

We played games a lot growing up as well. Our family gatherings for Thanksgiving and Christmas were wrapped up with games of Yahtzee (which probably explains my love for random-and-writes), Cranium, Monopoly, Uno, Skip-Bo, and a bunch of other mass-market games.

I was the oldest grandchild by 5 years, and the next oldest cousin and her family usually left shortly after dinner. So, my other cousin and my brother (7 and 8 years younger than me, respectively) would play video games in the living room and I’d go play games with the adults. It was something for them to do while they talked about people they knew and shared stories of crazy crap they did together when they were younger.

This is when I started to see the value in games and their ability to guide social experiences. My Pop (stepdad’s father) had this little paperback book filled with card games of all sorts and I wanted to learn all of them! I never did, that book is long gone, and all I remember is that it was a black paperback book that was about the size of a romance novel (but twice as many pages or more) and it had the four suits as the front image. But, I learned a ton of them.

The internet came along and I started to learn solitaire style games from a website filled with them. At one time, we had a CD-ROM game that had hundreds of solitaire games, and I was determined to try and beat them all. Never did that either, but that’s where I found my love for Tri-Peaks style solitaire, which is still my favorite form of solitaire game (I even have it on my phone).

Then, came college. Cranium was a favorite among my friends, as were many other classics. When I worked as a desk assistant in a dorm, my friends and I would play Texas Hold ’em into the wee hours of the late night weekend shifts.The Settlers of Catan came out at this point, and I also dipped my toe into the world of CCG’s for a little bit.  I got into hobby gaming in my early 20’s, then really into it in my mid-20’s, after I lost my mom.

After I lost my grandma in 2009, and my mom in 2010, all I wanted to do was play Yahtzee. The good kind – where you play with the whole board and get stupid high scores (1000+) when all is said and done. It was relaxing, and you could play while watching TV or having a conversation.

I started thinking about this whole progression of things last night. Why? Because we were celebrating the birthday of a friend’s son, and he wanted to play Hold ’em. And I just remembered all of the fun I had playing it in college. I am nowhere as good as I was in college (haha), but I’ve still got it somewhat. We played the game, told stories, laughed, and just enjoyed being together. Also, I found out my wife is really good at Texas Hold ’em.

Classics are classics for a reason. They are easy to learn, they draw people in, and they’re easy to enjoy over dinner, drinks, or whatever else that you may want to do at the time. Many of them are just as involved (if not more so, in some instances) than some of the hobby games we play. And even some of them that aren’t are worth your time to learn, because it can be a connecting point.

What classic games do you still enjoy? Are there card games, dice games, mass market games that still get out to the table for you? Do you have a “guilty pleasure” classic that still comes out again and again (or at least does on your phone)? Let me know on social media.

And, let me know what you think of this format. I may do it on and off just to share some thoughts or do a brain dump on what I’m thinking about in the world of gaming.

Game On!

Note: All photos have been verified to be free use without need for attribution, as far as I was able to tell via my research. If I missed details and have used a picture that was supposed to be attributed in some way, please contact me and I will be sure to correct my error. 🙂 I know how important it is for photographers to get the attribution that they deserve. 


  1. I don’t play classics. I have 5+ chess computers, never play chess. The most recent abstract game I played was Santorini, and I am so glad I could sell it.
    The only card game I play is solo card games like LotR-ADG, Agent Decker, Haze Islands or Palm Island.
    I would never play Yahtzee, because of the dice rolling. Admittedly I have tiny epic galaxies that is yahtzee with planets, but I never played it.
    Finally, while we do have scrabble somewhere in the attic, we always preferred Wordious over it, and more recently Hard Back.


    • I can totally respect that. Just like with any game, there’s someone out there who enjoy it and others who hate it. And dice aren’t for everyone.

      I can definitely agree with you on Scrabble, though – I never minded it, but now I definitely prefer Hardback, Paperback, and other letter games over it.


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