The popularity of gaming is seeming to hit a peak with several films and tv shows adapted from gaming properties. There are also professional gaming teams playing everything from League of Legends to Fortnite in stadiums full of gaming fans.
Mashable defines gaming as a “colloquial term that generally refers to the act of playing video games, or sometimes tabletop games”.
Also from Mashable, “Surveys indicated that around 65 percent of adults in the U.S. play video games in some form, which can mean on a dedicated console, on a personal computer, or on a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet”.
In the 1970s, gaming was mostly done in arcades. When the Atari 2600 and Nintendo Entertainment System came along, gaming moved into people’s homes in the 1980s. PC gaming also came into people’s homes in the 1980s but grew during the 1990s and early 2000s.
Now that I’ve given you a look into the background of gaming, let's look at just a handful of adaptations based on games.
Tomb Raider: Angelina Jolie took on the role of Lara Croft in the first two Tomb Raider films in 2001 and 2003. Alicia Vikander went on to take on the role of Lara Croft in 2018’s Tomb Raider film. Pheobe Waller-Bridge is prepping a Tomb Raider TV series for Amazon Prime.
Mortal Kombat: The first film was released in 1995 followed by Mortal Kombat: Annihilation in 1997 and Mortal Kombat in 2021.
Witcher: Starring Henry Cavil as Geralt of Rivia, Witcher is going into its third season on Netflix and also has a spin-off series called Witcher: Blood Origin.
Assassins Creed: Starring Michael Fassbender, the film adaptation was released in 2016 and a Netflix live-action series is currently in the works.
Arcane: based on League of Legends characters, Arcane became a hit series on Netflix.
With a look at just a few of the adaptations of video game properties, let's take a look at the popularity of e-sports.
E-sports have risen in popularity within the past handful of years, but e-sports have been a thing since the 1990s. E-sports have become a billion-dollar industry and offers the possibility of six-figure salaries to competitors. High schools and colleges even have e-sports programs for students.
Now that we’ve investigated electronic gaming, let’s look at tabletop gaming. Tabletop gaming is just as popular as electronic gaming with adaptations and competitions allowing players to make a great deal of money.
First, let’s talk about the history of tabletop gaming. Gaming has been around for a long time, from dice to card games and backgammon, people have kept boredom at bay with games for centuries.
In a Medium article from 2016, it’s stated that the first board game, a dice game, was played in 5000 BC. The game was discovered in a burial mound in Turkey and are the earliest gaming pieces ever found.
In 3100 BC games became a royal pastime in Egypt with the game of Senet found in predynastic and First Dynasty burials. Senet is even referred to in the Book of the Dead.
Evidence for humanity’s longest-running board game dates to 2650 BC. The Royal Game of Ur gets its name from its founding within the Royal Tombs of Ur in Iraq.
The game of Backgammon dates to 2000 BC, while military strategy games date back to 1300 BC. It wasn’t until 500 BC that games became a part of childhood.
The earliest versions of chess called Tafl were ancient Germanic and Celtic strategy board games that were modified as they traveled around the world and eventually became the chess we recognize today.
The first evidence of Mancala dates to 700 AD and many, many centuries later, The Landlords Game is invented by Lizzie Magie in 1903. She would sell her patent for the game to Parker Brothers in 1935 and it would be renamed Monopoly.
The Settlers of Catan became popular in the United States in the mid-1990s and is the most popular board game in Utah. Then, in 2013 Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day changed the perception of board games with the TableTop web series.
The TableTop series involved Wil Wheaton demonstrating how awesome games are by playing them with TV and web personalities. In 2013 Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day held International Tabletop Day with the event spiraling into a worldwide celebration the following year.
Whew! Now that we have that very abbreviated history behind us, let's get into some of the adaptations that have stemmed from tabletop games.
The Legend of Vox Machina: based on a Critical Role Dungeons & Dragons campaign The Legend of Vox Machina has been a huge hit for Amazon Prime and has been renewed for a third season.
Dungeons & Dragons: first adapted into a film in 2000 it was again adapted into a film in 2023 called Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.
Clue: made in 1985 the film starring Tim Curry and Christopher Lloyd was based off the popular board game.
Battleship: the 2012 film starring Rhianna and Alexander Skarsgard was based on the game we’ve all played at least once.
Now that we’ve covered a few of the board game adaptations, let’s take a look at some of the competitions associated with tabletop games.
Magic The Gathering has many tours and competitions associated with it. One of those tours is a pro tour that is documented in Enter The Battlefield narrated by Wil Wheaton.
Other competitions include Warhammer 40k, Final Fantasy, Digimon, Yugioh, and of course, chess just to name a few.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look into gaming and have possibly been inspired to stop by your local comic or gaming shop to pick up a new hobby.