Apples to Apples and A'yiti
Not all games are the same. Some are video games played to merely entertain. Others seem to be designed to inform and educate. A good game should be fun. While some are played simply for a break from the real world. Whatever game it is, the goals are always the same: to win. In this way, games have a competetive side, and a little competition is something I enjoy. I also enjoy playing games because of their ability to bring people together.
I occasionally enjoy video games, card games, and word games: Spit, Apples to Apples, Chinese Poker, and Wii Tennis. Anything and everything that is fun but requires strategy, thinking, and competetivness. I love to quickly slap down the final card in Spit , make a hitting motion with the Wii for tennis, that feeling you get when you have 8 cards in Apples to Apples among the 3 of the other players, a well as knowing that I have all the right cards for Chinese Poker. I enjoy knowing that I'm one step closer to the final card in spit, and the wining match in Wii tennis, to being a winner. If I happen to lose, I do what any other player would do. I tell myself that I did my best and that I'll destroy them next time. I always play Apples to Apples several times, no matter how many times I lose because it is so fun to play. After all, Apples to Apples is a good conversation, it requires wit and humor.
Recently, I've been spending some time playing the game Ayiti: Cost of Life. This is a game in which you have to take care of A Haitian family of five (two boys, one girl, two parents). You decide their hospital treatments, their jobs, their education...everything, over a four year period divided into four seasons. The goal of the game is to keep the family alive, but above that, give them a good life, and as many degrees as possible. This is a goal easier said than done. Members of the family are easily sickened with disease, their town struck by hurricanes. If you run out of money, it's much more difficult to keep the family alive and work your way back up. By the end of the game, if you are lucky enough to make to the end of the game, I usually have earned the family a total of 5-7 diplomas, but I hope for that number to increase as I figure out the tricks of A'yiti.
The first time you play the game, you think it's impossible to win. You get into debt easily, and are unable to keep them healthy, the family dying by the second year. It really isn't until the third or fourth time when the game starts to get repetitive that you truly realize that this game isn't fictional, this is the life of many families living in extreme poverty in Haiti. You understand that there are many children who have to work instead of go to schools, that can't afford medical treatment when they ge sick. You begin to realize how much you have compared to those who have so little.
There are times when you are playing this game that you want to quit. You don't want to have to watch the family's survival struggle fail, yet again. When things get bad, you have nothing left to fall back on, and all you can do is helplessly watch the family form into their neat little row of graves. But you keep going because there is still hope for a better life, a chance off success. So you keep playing, keep trying. Trying to get the family an education, Baccalaureate degrees, and most of all happiness. You want to give the family a chance at a better life, the possibility of a brighter future. as each season passes, you must follow your gut instinct and use strategy to make the best possible choices for your family each season. Most importantly, you must never give up, and remember that no matter how difficult it gets, there is always a chance of survival. You never know. Ayiti is a haunted house, full of terror and surprises.