Mercury

Article: Toys - Toy Versus Game

There is a fine line between a toy and a game. If you don't think so, look inside the mind of a child and inside the following article. It may just change how you think about what exactly is a toy.

What's the difference? To a little kid, probably not much. And with games that you only need one person to play, such as solitaire, the distinction can be a very fine one. How many of us have heard our mothers yell at us to "put our toys away" and what's in front of use is a chess set that we used to play war with. Kids have wild imaginations. Has that chess set just become a toy?

In most cases there is a very big difference between what is a toy and what is a game, at least according to our adult minds. But in the hands of a child, either one can be, well, either one.

Dominoes is a great game for two people. There is quite a bit of strategy involved in putting out just the right piece so as to block your opponent from being able to do anything and thus forcing him to pick up a domino. But did you ever see those things in the hands of a small child who's stringing them along the floor in what is turning into a maze of wonders. With the number of dominoes in a set, the number of different mazes that child can make is virtually without limit. So go and tell him that his bunch of dominoes are not toys.

Getting back to our chess example. We all know that a game of chess is one of the most complex games of thought ever created and it takes a superior mind to play well. But did you ever see a kid set up a chess board and start to move the two armies towards each other? As the pawns approach and get within striking distance you're only seconds away from seeing pieces fly all over the place. And so see the knight get up on top of the castle (isn't that what knights do)? and start firing arrows or swords at the opposing bishop is a sight to be seen. And then finally, to see the cat fight between the two queens as the kings stand by and watch is like watching the battle of the titans. Chess pieces can be great toys. And if you've got those new chess pieces that are designed after popular movie characters like Star Wars or Lord Of The Rings, well, who needs real toys?

Take a simple game of cards and it doesn't matter which card game you choose. Did you ever see a kid start to fling those things around the room? They make great projectiles and if you're not careful as an adult passing by, those cards can easily take out an eye. Not to mention the great card castles that you can make. Heck, we all do it. And don't think they're so easy. Kids seem to have a gift when it comes to that stuff.

The truth is, just about any game can be taken apart and turned into a toy. But for the sake of the remainder of articles in this series, we're going to concentrate on toys that were not meant to be made into games.

Not to say they don't ultimately end up as one.