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Introduction
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Introduction

The word "game" refers to any amusement or pastime with some kind of rules, no matter how loosely structured. Games are played for fun, for education, or both. They are part of universal human experience; there is no culture that has not had them. Evidence of board games was found in Mesopotamia and India by archaeologists. They dated back to at least 3500 B.C. One of the earliest known puzzle games, tangrams, originated in eighth-century China. The nobles of this period also used playing cards, called leaves. Active games such as hide and seek, tag, or tug of war, using hunting-type skills, probably go back to the dawn of civilization. Sports evolved from earlier pastimes which involved physical intelligence and skill. Gambling or wagering games were probably known to humanity's earliest ancestors as well. Practically any game can be turned into a gambling game by betting on the outcome. Many common children's games can be traced to ancient times. As civilization allowed for more leisure time, children and adults invented parlour or party games. With exceptions such as drinking games or murder mystery games, parlour games have been replaced by other types of entertainment. Any game can experience a "craze" or fad, and return to popularity decades or centuries later. Free-form, imaginative or "pretend" games are usually associated with children, but are actually played by teens and adults as well, often in secret because of the stigma attached to fantasy by Western society. Another version of the imaginative game is the more Browsergames structured fantasy roleplaying game. Some types of live-action roleplay based on historical re-enactments and certain books or films are somewhat more accepted. Many of today's computer and video games have their roots in military exercises and simulators. There are online versions of many popular board games, puzzles, and roleplaying games.