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TrendWatch ’15: Celebrities Outing Themselves as Geeks

Drew Davidson
United States
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This is the 4th in a series on trends to watch for 2015.
Video Designers Going Cardboard
Business Owners Blogging
"Tabletop" Changing to "Analog"

Board games are cool again. Not since the mid-70s, when Playboy magazine reached its peak circulation, have board games possessed such cachet.

Yes, Playboy. At one time, it was the arbiter of all that was cool in American society. In 1977, Hefner’s publishing empire launched Games magazine, and two years later released The Playboy Winner’s Guide to Board Games.

Playboy said board games were cool, and they were cool.

Within a couple decades, board games lost their mojo and Games hemorrhaged both advertisers and subscribers. Board games, and those who played them, were relegated to the cultural wastelands.

Let’s jump to 2015, where it’s cool again to play games on a table. Jimmy Fallon and Jane Lynch first paved the way back by making party games cool. On The Tonight Show and Hollywood Game Night, celebrities (A-list and B-list, respectively) have had fun making fools of themselves playing silly games on TV.

It’s one thing to play the role of gamer for the cameras, but quite another to admit being a geek and playing games for recreation. Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop series was one of the first outlets for celebrity gamers to come out of the boardgame closet. In Season 3 alone, the show features Alan Tudyk, Aisha Tyler, Seth Green, Karen Gillan and Jason Ritter.

It’s now safe for even major celebrities to admit their geeky habits. Few well-cultured eyebrows were raised at the revelation that Elizabeth Banks & Woody Harrelson frequently played Catan during breaks in filming the Hunger Games movies.

Even rock bands, like Swedish indie group First Aid Kit, are comfortable telling major news outlets that what they enjoy best in their free time is playing games.

It’s a trend that’s going to grow. I believe that in 2015, and on into 2016, even candidates for public office will be seen playing games. At debates, presidential aspirants will be asked what their favorite game is, and be judged on their answers. Politicians choosing Monopoly as their favorite will fade from the race in shame.
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