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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Guess Who?

Would you believe that there was a time in my life where I thought about becoming a police detective?

I have always had a keen interest in mysteries and solving puzzles. When I was younger, I would collect and read every detective novel and puzzle that I could get my hands on. Even in my thirties, I still love a good mystery, whether it be from trying to figure out who the killer is on CSI episodes, or playing one of my Professor Layton video games. I've just always had a love for mysteries.

There was one brief moment in my life where I believed that I wanted to pursue a career in police work. In particular, I wanted to be a police detective. One of my idols was Sherlock Holmes. I really wanted to solve mysteries just like him. He made solving crimes, and putting the pieces of difficult puzzles seem flawless. I could have read his stories for hours on end, and my goal was to become the next Sherlock Holmes (not taking into account that Holmes was a fictional character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle).

Of course, those dreams never really came to be. The main reason being that I can't even stand the sight of my own blood, let alone the blood of someone else. Ergo, I would be completely useless at crime scenes in which someone was shot, stabbed, or had their entire head blown off by a bazooka.

(Not that I know too many people who randomly keep a bazooka stuffed in their house to defend their property and family members...but I suppose some probably would.)

Ah well, I suppose that I could always do the next best thing and write my own murder mystery. In fact, I actually started a murder mystery novel thirteen years ago, when I was eighteen years of age. It remains unfinished, and it's really not my best work, but I may give it another go and finish the story. All I can do is try, right?

I've brought up Sherlock Holmes, Professor Layton games, and CSI as influences that helped shape my love of all things mystery. Today's blog topic is all about another activity that I loved doing when I was a kid. In fact, it's probably one of the earliest board games that I remember playing.

It's time to play a rousing game of “Guess Who”!

No, not THAT Guess Who.

I'm talking about the Milton Bradley game, “Guess Who?”, created by Ora and Theo Coster in the United Kingdom in 1979. It would take another three years for the game to arrive stateside.

Now, this was a game that I loved for one main reason...this was a game that had an aura of mystery to it, and it sort of simulated a police interrogation of sorts.

Let me explain. “Guess Who?” is a two player game, with each player having a plastic game board with the faces of 24 people. Each one had their own distinct characteristics, and no two faces were exactly alike. There were also 24 different playing cards included with the game, each one having one of the faces of the people on the board. Here. I'll provide a visual aid.

Now, how the game worked was like this. Each player would choose a card from the deck. The players would then take turns trying to find out which person the other player had. The first person to guess who the person was would win the game.

And, how did the players narrow it down? Simple. All they had to do was ask a series of yes and no questions to the other player. Depending on how good the questions are, and how the player answers, one can eliminate anywhere from one to six possibilities from their game board!

So, what are some of the questions that can be asked? Here's a few examples.

Is your person bald?”
Is your person a woman?” (in early editions, only five women were included in the game...later editions evened up the total)
Is your person wearing a hat?”
Does your person have glasses?”
Is your person a Republican?”

(Well, okay, maybe not the last question...)

You see, the game is designed as such that no matter what questions you ask, the choices will always be narrowed down to one. So, after a few minutes, you can always arrive at the right answer.

I admit that playing “Guess Who?” as an adult isn't the same as playing it as a child...but at the same time, I do appreciate the fact that the game kept me entertained when I was a kid. And, it also helped me use my stellar detective skills (or what I thought were stellar detective skills at the age of six or whatever age I was when I played the game for the first time) to try and find the identity of the other person. Whenever I played the game, we always pretended that our characters were criminals, and it was up to us to find out who caused the crime so we could arrest them. It made the game of “Guess Who?” even more fun!

Special editions of the game have been made since, including a Star Wars version, a Marvel Comics version, and even a Disney version. Travel versions were also made of the popular game, and it can still be found on toy shelves all over the world as of 2012.

But, just to clarify one final thing before closing the chapter on this blog entry. The cards don't actually talk.

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