Linguists are split into two schools of thought, each recognizing a different origin of the word “game”:
– The first school of thought: “game” comes from the connection of GE + MAN (husband/man).
– The second school of thought: “game” comes from the connection of GE + MEN (mind).
“GE” is a Germanic prefix meaning doing something with someone else. From the combination recognized by the second school of thought, the word GEMEN emerges as offering the most straightforward translation to refer to thinking together or spending time together. Over the years, this word has evolved, so today we have the word “game”. Despite the disagreement, academics agree that the word has its roots in Slavic and Germanic cultures.
A game differs from other forms of entertainment, in that it is strictly defined by rules. One or more people may participate in it, although perhaps everyone will agree that playing with family or friends is more pleasant than spending time in solitude.
Such entertainment can be divided into different categories: mental (for example, chess), physical (such as football and basketball), and gambling (for example roulette and poker). There are also games that cross over between these types. Other examples are:
Logic games – checkers, go, and noughts and crosses.
Games of chance – roulette, war, lotto and bingo.
Strategy games – “Age of Empires”.
Computer games – “World of Warcraft”, “Starcraft”.
Role-playing games, known as RPGs; board or computer games, in which the background is often set in fantasy realms – for example “The Witcher”.
It turns out that bingo has a lot in common with the equally popular worldwide game called lotto. It was created on the initiative of the authorities of a small Italian city in the early 16th century. The first “Lo Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia” lottery, which took place on Sunday afternoons, attracted many residents hoping for a big win. Later, the lottery gained prestige in the salons of the wealthiest Italians. The idea was quickly taken up by the French, the British and the aristocrats from Germany. Lotto today is considered quite a common game, but a few centuries ago it was the preserve of the elites only. Americans have modified the rules a bit, speeding up the game and creating the bingo we know today. One legend says the name “bingo” comes from the word “beano”, which means beans – which were once used to cover drawn numbers on coupons. Also important for the game was the cigar box from which the numbers were drawn.
Here is a list of the highest lottery winnings (data from the BBC):
First place – $656 million – 2012
Second place – $648 million – 2013
Third place – $590.5 million – 2013
Fourth place – $587.5 million – 2012
Fifth place – $564.1 – 2015
… for bingo, of course. The beginning of bingomania took place in the suburbs of New York, where, after hard work, the inhabitants of often met in the evening and entertained themselves with drinks high-proof liquor and games. One of them was a game with a bean, which consisted of covering drawn numbers with a bean. The game quickly became the largest attraction of festivals and fairs in Atlanta, Georgia. At nearly every stand, you could buy bean boards and try your luck. Such a form of spending free time raised many emotions among the participants of the draws. It is said that, during a moment of euphoria in victory, a woman loudly shouted “BINGO!” Instead of “beano”. Everyone present particularly liked this name, and it was quickly accepted among the local community. The above described lady (there is also the theory that it was a man) was a close friend of toy manufacturer Ed Lowe. The businessman, while strolling through one of the city’s playgrounds, looked carefully at the people playing the bean game and saw in it not only a form of good entertainment, but also a golden opportunity. In the end, he made no mistake, and the promotion of bingo brought him a substantial injection of American dollars.
After a few years, Ed Lowe began selling bingo kits in bulk. Seemingly free bingo for fun brought the trader huge profits. Over time, he even recruited a mathematics professor to develop new patterns for card combinations. Rumors say that, after completing work on the creation of cards bearing more than 6 000 different combinations, the academic was struggling with psychiatric problems.