What Makes a Great Sherlock Holmes Portrayal?

sherlock-holmes

 

For decades, fictional super sleuth Sherlock Holmes has been portrayed across various forms of media. Whether it’s a radio adaptation, film, television show, or theatrical plays, the creative can always find cool and exciting ways to churn out new versions of this intelligent and charming character. In fact, the Guinness World Book of Records recognized Sherlock Holmes as the “most portrayed literary character in film & TV.” (Reference)

With so many portrayals, you and your friends have probably spent hours debating about the best actor who perfectly played the part. To help you out, here’s a comprehensive guide that’ll help you determine the best portrayal of the popular fictional detective.

The Different Faces of Mr. Holmes

Let’s be honest here. When you hear the name Sherlock Holmes, whose face comes to mind first? Is it Robert Downey Jr. or Benedict Cumberbatch? Well, we wouldn’t take it against you. After all, these two are the most recent faces that donned the cloak of the world’s greatest detective. But just so you’d be knowledgeable of the other actors that put on Sherlock’s shoes, here are a few of them.

 

  • Basil Rathbone, 14 Hollywood films from 1939 -1946 as Sherlock Holmes
  • Robert Stephens, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, 1970
  • Roger Moore, Sherlock Holmes in New York, TV movie, 1976
  • Christopher Plummer, Silver Blaze, 1977 and Murder by Decree, 1979
  • Ian Richardson, The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Sign of Four, 1983
  • Jeremy Brett, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, TV series, 1984 – 1994
  • Charlton Heston, The Crucifer of Blood (based on The Sign of the Four), TV movie, 1991
  • Rupert Everett, Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking, BBC film, 2004
  • Robert Downey Jr., Sherlock Holmes, 2009 and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, 2011
  • Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock, TV series, 2010 – ongoing.

 

There are a few more actors who hit the screens in portrayal of the great detective but those listed above are the ones that, dare we say it, made more impact than the others. Be it good or bad, those actors gave life to Sherlock Holmes from the pages of the book where he was first introduced to the world.

If you search these names on the internet, trying to find how they justified the role and who portrayed it best, you’d find varying opinions about the matter. Thinking about it, what were the criteria through which these actors have been rated and ranked? What were the bases when they were tagged good or bad?

The answer would be: The Book! Sherlock was originally given life through the pages of the books Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a Scottish author and physician, wrote back in 1887. 128 years after the release of the first book about the world’s most genius detective, Sherlock Holmes continues to pique the interest of bookworms and movie buffs alike.

This undying fascination gave birth to a lot of debate as to who played the role best – who gave life to the book best. This leads us to tackling about what was written in the book and try to compare for ourselves who among those men is the best personification of the great Sherlock Holmes.

Fictional Detective

Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective that possesses the ability to solve the trickiest criminal cases that he stumbles upon. He knows where to look for clues, analyze each one, and piece them together. Through these clues, he will re-create the scene inside his head, draw conclusions, find proof of these conclusions, and give his deduction – case closed.

Check out this amazing 221 B Baker St. The Master Detective Game Sherlock Holmes – The Time Machine (Game from Our Amazon Store – The Escape Place)

The-Detective-Sherlock-Holmes

Knowledge and Skills

Sherlock Holmes was presented to have an educational background in chemistry. This is what he uses to perform scientific methods and give out scientific explanations while he focuses on logic, observation, and deduction. He is also knowledgeable in Literature, Philosophy, Astronomy, Politics, Botany, Geology, Anatomy, Sensational Literature, British Law, and plays the violin well.

Combat Fighter

The detective is described to have an above-average physical strength. He can use pistols, cane and sword, and even riding crop which was described in the book as his favorite weapon. Sherlock can box. Actually, he is an adept bare-knuckle fighter. Holmes occasionally engages in hand-to-hand combat with his adversaries and is always victorious. And yes, Holmes also does martial arts.

Forensic Science

He picks out small clues from shoe sole and tire impressions, missing shirt buttons, or crumpled sleeves. He observes the style and attitude of his clients and suspects – noting how they dress, carry themselves, their state of mind, and even the clay on their boots to deduce their origin and recent history.

In 2002, the Royal Society of Chemistry bestowed an honorary fellowship on Holmes (Reference) for his skills in using forensic science as well as analytical chemistry in popular literature. This makes him, as of 2010, the only fictional character thus honored.

Responds to Flattery

Sherlock was created to be the ultimate detective that the police turn to when they face a dead-end. He works alone and in secret but likes the fact that his skills are recognized. He responds to flattery and has a knack for showing off. Holmes likes to set elaborate traps to trap and unmask the criminal. He also often does this to feed his pride, wow his friend, Watson, and the Scotland Yard inspectors.

Dispassionate and Cold

Sherlock is usually dispassionate and cold and always wears a straight face. During investigations, however, he becomes animated and excited. The more bizarre the cases are, the more excited he gets and the more he wants to solve it.

Arrogant

He’s arrogant and believes that he’s better than the others. Holmes takes great pleasure in baffling police officers with his deductions. Yet despite all these, he doesn’t actively seek fame and usually let the police take public credit for his work.

Anti-Social

Sherlock was written to be a man who likes to keep to himself. Holmes believes that his field of interest is very distinct that there are no other men around him who share the same interest and that there aren’t any points of contact with them at all. Well that was until Dr. Watson arrived- the man who was able to open Holmes’ bubble of isolation and make room for himself inside it.

  

Uses Drugs

Holmes was described to be an occasional user of addictive drugs, especially in the absence of stimulating cases. He uses cocaine, which he injects in a seven-percent solution with a syringe kept in a Morocco leather case. He also uses morphine on top of his fascination with cigars and tobacco.

Money Doesn’t Matter

Sherlock Holmes was described to be financially stable. In one of the books, Watson noted that the detective would refuse to take the case of the well-off if their cases did not pique his interest. He would rather devote weeks at a time to take the cases of his humblest clients.

 

So, did your favorite actor manage to add these characteristics while portraying Sherlock Holmes?  Hit that comments box and let the discussion begin!

 

Kevin Bacon, Six Degrees, and Connections

(image credits: http://nbviewer.ipython.org)
(image credits: http://nbviewer.ipython.org)

If a Kevin Bacon movie marathon is not enough to satisfy your cravings for this fine actor, then you should definitely play this board game that’s based on him! Known as the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, this pastime activity can provide hours of fun for any die-hard Kevin Bacon fans. Check out this short post to learn more about this parlor game. What it’s About The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, or sometimes called the Bacon Game, was based on the “six degrees of separation” concept that any two people are acquainted six or fewer links apart. In this case, the American actor/musician was believed to have worked with everyone in Hollywood in some way or another. According to Brian Turtle, the creator of the game, the idea flashed while watching “Footloose” on TV, along with two other Kevin Bacon films that were played consecutively after it. This got Brian and his friends thinking that Kevin Bacon must have become the center of the entertainment universe. (Reference) 20 years has passed since the birth of the game, many people are still enjoy participating in the activity, especially the quick-thinking movie buffs. How to Play So how is the game played? Players first follow a dice-rolling process and take turns providing a name of an actor to their opponent. Their opponent, in turn, should think of the shortest path possible between the given actor and Kevin Bacon. Then, he or she may either come up with other actors or actresses with whom that given actor may have worked with in a movie. Or if the player is good enough, he or she may connect the actors name directly to Kevin Bacon, which could be made possible by a deck of cards that offers hints. The player then repeats the cycle of connecting actors to one another through movies starred in until he or she arrives with a way to connect that latest connected actors name with Kevin Bacon. The catch, of course, is that the connection must be done within six turns or lower. Here’s an example. Try to connect Will Smith with Kevin Bacon. Then, one could start by saying:

  1. Will Smith and Jon Voight both starred in “Enemy of the State”
  2. Jon Voight, on the other hand, starred with Burt Reynolds in “Deliverance”
  3. Burt Reynolds, along with Demi Moore, appeared in “Strip Tease”
  4. Finally, Demi Moore and Kevin Bacon starred in “A few good men”

This example shows that it can be done in 4 degrees or steps. But of course, others may come up with a much shorter or longer degree. The Wrap Up The game may sound difficult, but it is actually fun since there are times when a player needs to defend an associated actor or actress, thus requiring some “convincing”. Consequently, the players may find themselves laughing over the explanation. The real challenge of the game, however, was not the pressure of coming up with the shortest possible connections, but thinking quickly and recalling the movies that you have watched before. A vast knowledge with different films, as well as being familiar with its pool of actors and actresses, can be a big advantage. So before you challenge your family, friends, and colleagues in this game of wits, make sure that you have binge-watched a lot of Kevin Bacon films.

Description by (Amazon.com)  If your reaction to this game's title is "Kevin who?" you might steer clear of this faddish but popular trivia game. On the other hand, if you're a quick-thinking movie buff and know exactly who this tall, angular star of such movies as Footloose and A Few Good Men is, you'll probably enjoy Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.
Description by (Amazon.com)
If your reaction to this game’s title is “Kevin who?” you might steer clear of this faddish but popular trivia game. On the other hand, if you’re a quick-thinking movie buff and know exactly who this tall, angular star of such movies as Footloose and A Few Good Men is, you’ll probably enjoy Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

Click here to check out this game in Amazon.com.

Have you tried playing this game before? Share your funny experiences in the comments!

Five Winning Strategies to Master Connect 4

Connect 4 is a simple but extremely exciting strategy game that has been played by hobbyists for quite some time now. This two-player game comes with a board with seven columns and 6 rows. To play it, there are 42 discs in two different colors. The board is where the players will drop the colored discs one at a time.

(image source: http://zangaru.com/)
(image source: http://zangaru.com/)

The first player to connect four pieces of the same color wins; either it is lined up vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. If the board is filled up of all 42 discs and neither player connects four, the game ends in draw. It can be played by children and adults, as long as they understand the rules. Connect 4 can be bought as a physical board game, but it also has an app version that caters to modern mobile players.

In the past, people didn’t really have a particular set of strategies on how to play it. But as the game became more popular, they started studying the different techniques on how to win. One of which is the master thesis of Victor Allis which stated that the first player can always win through the center column. In this post, you’ll learn the best strategies that you can use in order to become a Connect 4 champion!

  1. The center column is your way to victory

Drop your discs mostly to the middle spot; it’s an advantage since all winning combinations need a disc in the middle row. With this technique, your opponent will most likely experience some difficulties in connecting four checkers. Victor Allis even agreed and proved this winning tactic.

 

 

  1. Look out for possible moves ahead

Your opponent’s goal is to defeat you, and you don’t want that to happen. If your opponent can build a three-in-a-row, block it or you’ll lose. Always think ahead and observe your opponent’s moves.

 

  1. Balance offense and defense

Don’t just focus on offense; know when you need play some defense. Block your opponent’s line up mainly when your opponent is trying to build three-in-a-row diagonal linked with three-in-a-row horizontal. It’s a deadly move, and if your attention is only on offense, you’ll lose to this winning combination.

 

  1. Say no to game-ending spaces

Watch out for the game-ending spaces. This usually happens when a certain area of the board becomes a spot for a connect-four opportunity. Once your opponent fills that portion, the game will be over. Never play below those critical spaces but force your opponent to block drop his/her disc in the space. Try to connect-four that will force your opponent to drop his disc in the dangerous spot.

 

  1. Disrupt your opponent

Building a three-in-a-row will force your opponent to block your move first, instead of building his/her own lineup. You will definitely succeed in interrupting his/her tactics. By doing this, he/she will also waste moves in trying to block you.

Today, there are many new and exciting versions of Connect 4.  Some examples include a fantastic 3D version, an online edition so you can play with your friends anytime and anywhere, and even a gigantic version that’s larger than life! We also have a game Connect Four Classic Grid Game, sold at amazon.

connect-four-game

Got any effective strategies you want to share? Post it in the comments section below!

Improving your game: 5 Easy Tips to Win Scrabble Easy

Since 1931, Scrabble has been busying the minds of word-fanatics, friends, and families. But are you one of many who are having a hard time playing the game? Or are you just looking around for other strategies to beat your scrabble rivals? Here are 5 easy tips you can use to win a scrabble game:

scrabbles

1.     Look for a Bingo

The easiest and yet most stressful way to win Scrabble is playing all your 7 tiles at once. When you successfully lay down all 7 tiles you achieve “BINGO” which means an additional 50 points on top of the points you gained from the word you placed.  The problem starts with laying down all 7 tiles. How can you easily lay down your BINGO word? First, you can either look for words you can add an “S” on or words that already have it. Most likely, these words are the easiest way for you to get a bingo. Aside from looking for “S”, take your time and rearrange your letters to fit words that allow you to add tenses, prefixes, or suffixes. An example is if you found a letter “D” on the board, depending on the placing and the words, you can create the word “D-isagree” or “exclude-D”.

2.      Switch and Pass

Sometimes you get into a situation where you get stuck with tiles that give you small scoring words which offer you no advantage over the game. When this scenario arises, do not hesitate to switch your tiles. Although you lose your turn from changing your letters, sometimes it is better than pushing your word and giving your opponent an opening for high scoring words. Be cautious about constantly switching your tiles when you’re having a hard time because it might just cause you to lose the game.

3.     Open, Close

One sure-fire way of winning is taking control of the scrabble board. How do you do this? First, you should know how to take sight and create an opening for yourself. Look around the board for those score multipliers and ask yourself if you can take that within your next two turns. If you can, then play your word. If not, then here comes the second condition of this tip. Know how to close those openings you find. If you can’t get the score multiplier, its best to block that area by putting in words that move away from the multiplier or are too short that your opponent can’t utilize your word to take the multiplier.

4.     Hit two birds with one stone

Another great way of scoring big and getting the edge is to create two words in one turn. You can easily do this by attaching a letter from your word to a word that’s already on the board and creating two words at once. Example: you want to play the word “exit” and you look around the board. You see two words namely, “Transit” and “Cut”, and both can be used for your word. However, using the word “Transit” only allows you to use the letters “E”, “X”, and “I” which gives you a smaller score. In comparison, using the word “Cut” gives you the word “Exit” and can create the word “Cute” which gives you a higher score.

5.     Less is More

In scrabble, putting in a very long word doesn’t always ensure a better position or a higher score. In some cases, it is better for you to play short words. It’s a good tactic to frustrate your opponent until he slips up and gives you an opening. Back in high school when I used to compete, I remember one game where I kept playing two and three letter words. I kept the words together, piling them on top of each other which frustrated my opponent because he can’t get an opening. He eventually created long words which I used as a ladder to get score multipliers. This strategy works better when you familiarize yourself with two-letter words like “JO”, “XI”, “YA”, and “ZA.” This tip also works well with tip numbers 3 and 4.

Scrabble is more than a word-game. It also requires you to apply a certain set of strategies in order to win. Did the tips help you or do you have other tips in mind? Tell us what we’ve missed! We’d love to hear from you.

Check out our Scrabble Games Items:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002ZF3ZG4
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000UAK96U
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00000IWH9
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scarbbles-1scrabble-gamescrabble2

A Game You Can Play For All of Time: Chronology Trivia Card Game

Chronology: This is one card game that has surpassed the evolution of social entertainment over the years and has continued to bring amusement to consumers the world over. It’s practically a game of pushing your luck, which can go along with how well you know your history. Nonetheless, the entire goal of the game is for players to relish the sense of interaction with the company of family and friends, or whoever they’re playing with.

Chronology | Trivia Card Game

A Game Already Written In History

The first edition of Chronology, a party card game, came out in 1996. There have been other editions released throughout the years; the manufacturers released a junior edition intended for children below 13 years old and a sports edition – for sports enthusiasts/hobbyists.  The latest version had minor changes made, but in any case, the original essence and quality of the game is still there. The objective of the game is for players to form a timeline of events that occurred in history (with a corresponding year when the certain event happened) written on the cards. First one to correctly align 7 cards wins the game.

Easy as One, Two, Three 

A set begins with one card for each player; then a random player starts by drawing a card from the box and reads what’s in it (except for the year written on the card) to the player on the left. That player will then take a guess where to place the card on his timeline. If he guesses correctly, he takes the card and adds it to his timeline. He then has the opportunity to take another guess; his turn ends when he gets a guess wrong – with this, the cards he acquired in that particular turn must be discarded. On the other hand, if he gets it wrong on the first try, the next player gets to guess at the card and the games proceed. The card game has neither a timer nor a board which makes it easy to setup and easy to store when not in use.

Not Just For History Buffs

The events included in the set are from a plethora of categories – from current events, arts and sciences, entertainment, the greatest inventions, famous geographical discoveries, popular culture, general knowledge, to history dating back centuries. A player doesn’t really have to be a history geek to enjoy the game. Plus the fact that you only have to guess the events in an estimated way is like playing a mystery game; you aren’t really sure whether to trust your instincts or just take a wild guess. But that is the real thrill of the game which makes it nerve-wracking and amusing.

Improvise, Improvise, Improvise

If you find the “Race to 7 Cards” too easy and tedious you can always bend the rules and amplify the race to 15 cards; or you can even set a timer to create a fast-paced gaming sensation to the players.  Be creative: the possibilities are endless!

You can find the Chronology Card Game almost in all toy stores and on ecommerce sites such as eBay and Amazon. If you have comments or suggestions, feel free to share them below.

Call of Duty: World at War – Final Fronts Review

Call of Duty: World at War – Final Fronts is similar to the original Call of Duty: World at War but it follows very different missions and campaigns. It was also developed by Rebellion Developments instead of Treyarch and was released for the PlayStation 2 in 2008 alongside World at War.

Despite the fact that this game wasn’t developed by Treyarch, it looks and feels like their games which was no doubt done to ensure the game mirrored World at War. Anyone new to the PS2 would find this game to be pretty entertaining but anyone experienced with Treyarch PS2 games will quickly find themselves become bored due to the lack of innovation with repetitive gameplay. There is very little new gameplay for players to be excited for; Final Fronts seems more like an expansion for the Treyarch game than an independent game.

Call of duty - World at War

Campaigns

Players have four unique campaigns to play through with two Pacific based campaigns and two set in Europe; it provides a nice range of plots, settings, characters and action as a result.  However, none of the campaigns go into much detail and the story is quite lackluster. Call of Duty games aren’t known for having amazing campaign modes, most players purchase into the series for the competitive multiplayer modes and zombie modes instead.

Call of Duty: World at War – Final Fronts doesn’t actually feature a multiplayer mode and also lacks the classic zombie mode seen in the COD series. It does feature 13 missions which are spread across 4 campaigns however.

The game starts with a training mission where one of the main playable characters is introduced; Private Joe Miller is a Marine and is the main character for the Pacific Campaign. The tutorial mission teaches the basic controls before suddenly sending the player into war where they fight to complete objectives to help the allies win the Pacific Campaign. The game is split between the Pacific and European Campaigns which have different characters who are all fighting towards the same end goal.

While the settings are varied, the plot is very basic for a game that is campaign based; there’s nothing special about the story or campaigns which is disappointing considering that there is no multiplayer or zombie mode for players to spend time exploring instead.

Gameplay

Like with other Call of Duty games, most missions in the game have a number of friendly AI squad mates supporting the player by attacking and distracting enemies; this doesn’t always work out very well however.

The AI in the game is pretty bad for both enemies and squad mates where they both do strange and stupid things that will either get themselves killed or cause the player to die. Enemy AI can be entertaining to watch in this game as they can even turn around to face away from the player or just run straight into the line of fire; this does become frustrating after a while as the game lacks difficulty due to this. Squad mates are just as bad in the game, they can push the player out of cover and into enemy fire while automatically moving to their assigned waypoint.

There is nothing spectacular about the gameplay but there are several aspects that make the game even easier; when aiming down the sights of a gun, the aim will automatically lock onto an enemy’s head and guns in the game have a huge amount of ammo available for them. For someone new to FPS games, this works pretty nicely but experienced gamers will quickly become bored with this.

Just like with World at War, players are given a flamethrower to kill enemies with which is a nice change of pace from the typical gunplay. The weapon is given to players almost instantly in the game and have immediate access to the new weapon.

Players can carry two guns at one time and must replace their current guns to obtain a new weapon; this is nice as it limits what the player can do in situations but, there is no real need to constantly switch guns due to the large amount of ammo in the game along with how versatile most guns are. Grenades are important weapons in the game and are used by all characters including the enemies; they can also be thrown back at enemies if the player has fast reaction speed.

Away from this, Call of Duty: World at War – Final Fronts uses the classic COD gameplay seen in other PS2 titles for this series; players complete missions by killing enemies and completing objectives which using a first person perspective.

Graphics & Audio

While Final Fronts doesn’t look terrible, the graphics are nothing special and certainly don’t make up for the rest of the game. For a PlayStation 2 game, it has nice graphics and features a great atmosphere that suits the World War II setting for the game. The game includes some pre-level intros with footage from WWII which are a great addition to the game to increase immersion, they’re also interesting and worth watching.

Unfortunately, there are also some issues with the graphics. There are quite a few bugs, strange clipping issues and some bad animation during combat that are immersion breaking and completely frustrating to see. Most of these issues could have been dealt with before release but it feels almost like the game was rushed to market instead.

The audio has similar issues; sound effects in the game are considerably weak where the weapon sounds and explosions sound quite dull in comparison to previous games in the series. Players will still be able to enjoy the nice soundtrack while playing the game but gamers shouldn’t expect too much from the soundtrack either.

Verdict

It’s easy to see why fans of the Call of Duty series forget about this game; not only was it released alongside one of the best Call of Duty games ever created, almost everything about the game is very weak.

There is no replay value to this game and the single player campaign is relatively short which doesn’t combine well with a lack of other content. While other COD games lack strong or long single player campaigns, they typically have an online multiplayer or a zombie mode which can provide hundreds of gameplay hours.

For players who are looking to purchase a good Call of Duty game for the PS2, there’s no point in picking this game up as there are much better COD or other FPS titles available for that platform. The only people who will enjoy this game enough to warrant purchasing it would be gamers who are new to FPS or collectors looking to obtain every COD game ever created.

Sonic Heroes

The story of modern gaming includes two almost historical figures – Super Mario and Sonic. Both trademarked by Nintendo, they are easily considered the most popular characters in gaming history and have delivered staggering results in the gaming community. With the release of PS1 and PS2 the rules changed and the figures had to adapt to the newly-founded consoles, so Sonic went 3D. This was not appreciated by the Sonic community and therefore the Sonic Heroes is by some reviews considered one of the less-likeable Sonic games to date but a clear improvement over the Sonic PS1 and PS2 games released earlier.

sonic heroes

Sonic Heroes definitely improved in level design and playability and certainly satisfies even the most devoted DreamCast fans out there. What also brings on the great diversity of the game is the option to switch between three characters at your disposal during the game (more on this later). This makes the single run definitely more entertaining and unpredictable.

Sonic Heroes does not involve a single storyline, but rather focuses on four different stories, depending on which team you select. The storyline is manifested only through cut scenes and not applicable to the gaming itself. The teams you select vary from Team Rose to Team Dark and each of them features a significant character from the Sonic universe. Team Rose is essentially easier and more forgiving on some levels, while team Dark requires some advanced skills and knowledge to pass.

In Sonic Heroes, each team consists of three different characters, each of them representing one individual strength – speed, power and flight. While most levels can be completed by each of the characters, some of them require a certain character for a certain location, where his ability is especially needed. It is sometimes hard to maneuver between characters, but a couple of tries of practice will probably do it for you.

The game’s huge flaw is the difficulty of 3D gaming for the Sonic Hedgehog run. It is sometimes too hard to see what is up ahead and therefore you must be very careful. This is remotely better in the older versions of the game, where the 2D presentations ensure that you get clear view of the troubles ahead of you. These camera issues can get pretty annoying and severely damage the overall feel for the game.

The campaign is not really a challenge for gamers and it can be completed in couple of hours. It is possible to complete it over and over again with different teams and that gives it the lasting appeal it desperately needs.

Sonic Heroes is a solid and fun game for fans of the franchise but also for those that are yet to discover the magic of this figure.

The “Operation” Game

As the dark clouds moved across the sky, and the warmth of the sun hit my cheeks. I remember being promised, it was going to be a perfect day. I was lucky the clouds decided it wasn’t time for rain just yet. It was my sisters and I, coming back up the coast from having a picnic at our favorite spot by the trees that shared their shade along the jagged rocks that went on for miles. For my parents, I knew they couldn’t wait to get back fast enough, rain or shine to get a break from us always at each other’s throats. Who could blame them? That day was promised to be a perfect day, but it didn’t quite turn out that way.

Until we got home.

The heavy dark clouds that were moving swiftly across the sky, decided now was the time for heavy rain. First, it was the rain storm, and then the thunder. Then, the lights. Within 15 minutes of leaving the beach, there was the storm. As my mom was holding me and my two older sisters in the darkness on the living room floor. I remember her saying “I hope we have batteries for those flashlights.” And chuckled softly. We could hear my dad scrambling around to find the flashlights in the utility drawer.

Finally, there was light.

We were not prepared for this to happen, and managed to eat some sandwiches my mom made, as we waited out the storm. My mom had this brilliant idea as we waited patiently in the darkness with a hint of dim lights.

And that was the first time I played Operation. I guess this was supposed to wait for Christmas, but I guess my mom was getting as bored as we were. As my mom was trying to read the instructions, I remember me and my sisters taking turns to jab the unlucky guy on the operating table over and over again, just to see his nose glow read and hear the abrupt sound when you touch the metal along his body. We never really played the game according to the rules. That game was the funniest game to play just to hear that “zapping” sound, and see his nose turn red.

That is one of my most memorable and favorite memories with playing a board game.

Cool Jigsaw Puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles are one of the most popular kinds of puzzles in the world. It is a tiling puzzle where you have to connect oddly shaped pieces together in order to form a complete picture. These pictures are usually of buildings, animals, nature, landscape, or people. Each puzzle piece is one tiny part of that picture. The solver studies the shape and picture of the pieces to figure out which ones connect together. The more pieces that connect together the closer they’ll be to solving the puzzle. There are jigsaw puzzles with big pieces for beginners and smaller pieces for those who want a challenge. The bigger piece sets have fewer pieces, so it is easier to solve the puzzle whereas the smaller piece sets have hundreds or sometimes even thousands of pieces to put together.

 

jigsaw puzzle

The very first jigsaw puzzles had geographical maps mounted onto hardwood and then their national boundaries would be cut using a jigsaw tool. These were called “dissected maps” and they were used to teach geography to King George III’s children. In 1760, a London engraver and cartographer named John Spilsbury was the first person to create these jigsaw puzzles. Back in those days, jigsaw puzzles were not made out of cardboard like they are now days. They could only use a rectangular piece of hardwood with a picture painted or mounted onto it. Then the wood would get cut up into tinier pieces with the use of the jigsaw tool. This is where the name “jigsaw” comes from when describing the puzzle. However, this name didn’t actually start being used until fretsaws were used to cut the wood in 1880. With all of the wooden pieces cut out, the objective was to fit the wooden pieces together so that the original picture would be revealed.

ravensburger jigsaw puzzle

Near the end of the 19th century, cardboard jigsaw puzzles were introduced to the marketplace but their popularity had a very slow start. Many manufacturers were afraid that people would think cardboard puzzles were lower quality. But the evolution of cardboard puzzles really took off during the Great Depression of the 1930s because they were a cheaper form of entertainment that people could afford and enjoy. Once World War II was over, companies started charging more money for wooden jigsaw puzzles and this led to their decline in popularity. People were already happy with the cheaper cardboard jigsaw puzzles and the sales of these puzzles increased by a lot.

Now days there are all kinds of jigsaw puzzles that you can purchase with a variety of different pictures to choose from. Some companies will even create personalized jigsaw puzzles using any picture that you give them. There are also virtual jigsaw puzzles that you can piece together on your computer. As for the cardboard puzzles, they continue to dominate the marketplace after all these years.

Rubik’s Cube History and Popularity

The Rubik’s Cube is a 3D cube-shaped puzzle that was invented by Erno Rubik in 1974. Rubik was a professor of architecture from Hungary, and he was also a sculptor. The six sides of the cube each have nine smaller squares that are different colors. You can move each row or column of squares around the cube in order to change the colors on each side. But when you move the squares around on one side then it moves the squares on every other side of the cube that are in that same row. The objective of the puzzle is to twist and turn each row of colored squares until you get nine squares of the same color on each side of the cube. People have been known to spend hours on this puzzle without even coming close to completing it.

Rubik's Cube

One year after Rubik invented the cube, he found a Hungarian toy manufacturer named “Politechnika” and made a deal with them to have the cube mass produced. Two years later in 1977, the Rubik’s Cube was first sold in toy stores located in Budapest, which is the capital of Hungary. But it wasn’t called the Rubik’s Cube at the time. It went under the Hungarian name “Buvos Kocka,” which means “Magic Cube” in English. The cube was quickly a success after it was sold in Hungarian toy stores. However, the cube was not being sold outside of Hungary because it was a Communist country and it wasn’t easy to globalize products coming out of there. It wasn’t until 1979 that the Hungarian government finally agreed to have the Rubik’s Cube sold outside of Hungary, so that the Western countries could have it in their stores as well. Rubik made a deal with the Ideal Toy Corporation to distribute the cube to these countries. Before they did, they spent the next year coming up with a new name for the puzzle. They eventually settled on “Rubik’s Cube,” which is named after its inventor. In 1980, it was released in Western toy stores and became a popular item there too.

The Rubik’s Cube has become an iconic puzzle in world history. In 1982, there were annual competitions held in Budapest where people competed to complete the puzzle in the fastest time. In 1983, there was even a children’s television show dedicated to the puzzle called “Rubik, the Amazing Cube.” The Rubik’s Cube has sold over 300 million times and it has been deemed one of the most popular toys to ever be created in the 20th century.