A noble effort presented with flawed execution, UNPLUG & PLAY! 50 GAMES THAT DON’T NEED CHARGING is author Brad Berger’s attempt at bringing friends and family together for some old-fashioned fun that’s devoid of “screens.” Released last year by Keller International Publishing (of which Berger is President), we’ve had a review copy floating around here for months, and my hesitation to write about it can be pointed toward the fact that it’s just not that exciting or fun.
While I completely agree with Berger’s stance that electronic devices have killed a huge part of family (and social) interaction, these pen-and-paper based games are often too complicated to play in a group where younger kids are involved, or again, just not that fun. That’s not to say that there’s not some good ones in there – “Who Drew That?” and “Spelling Bee” come to mind – but they’re among the most simple, and you really don’t need a $20, comic-sized softcover to tell you that. In fact, ours looks beat-to-hell from just moderate use.
As the back of the cover itself states, “For five minutes or five hours… they were unplugged,” and with this book I’d say the “five minutes” is more likely. Coming out of Christmas, I just reorganized our game closet, and it’s loaded nearly floor-to-ceiling with games that don’t require devices – games that “don’t need charging” and can be enjoyed by kids and grownups alike.
In fact, as I type this very review, the only sound in my house is that of my wife and the girls laughing and playing… completely unplugged.
Available from Amazon.