Kids play with the law all the time. This summer, countless backyard games of Cops ‘n’ Robbers will end with a cornered cousin or felonious friend being dragged off—temporarily—to the hoosegow. Normally that happens without a trial—Defendants ‘n’ District Attorneys has never caught on with the small set. Even when kids do stage trials, the outcome is never in doubt: you always get a hanging judge and a dire sentence. Adults have their own versions of legal games too.
Growing up in a small town on a street full of houses populated by kids my age, I always found ways to occupy my weekends and summers. Often that meant playing next door with my friend Christine, either on her front porch or in her horse-themed bedroom. Time with Christine usually involved a game or two. We liked all kinds: card games (war, go, and gin rummy), board games (Life, Clue, Monopoly, and Charlie’s Angels), and my personal favorite, one-on-one strategy games. Christine and I were well matched and equally competitive in our game play.
Imagine the Oscars for toy and game inventors—with a glamorous gourmet meal. That provides a good picture of the Chicago Toy and Game Group’s annual Toy and Game Inventor Expo (TAGIE) awards presentation dinner in November. The Strong is a co-sponsor, along with many other significant contributors, of the event which coincides with the Chicago Toy and Game Fair and Toy and Game Inventor Exposition, where new and established toy inventors demonstrate their creations. Outside of New York’s annual Toy Fair, it is the largest toy industry event in America.
Kids often use play to explore adult roles, and toy and game makers are only too glad to produce playthings that tap into that behavior. The museum’s collection includes a group of games that provide revealing illustrations of adult perspectives on how kids can or should envision their roles as adults.