Number Games and Familial Ties

“A game that my family has given meaning is we play a number guessing game, especially on road trips and it started out as a joke by my dad because my sister and I would always ask for things to do or things to play.  But it’s evolved into something that we unironically choose to do because we’ve given it such meaning. To me, it, it, it symbolizes … it’s hard to describe, it symbolizes, like, the nature of friendly competition and always loving to challenge each other to silly little things. It’s really a simple and rather stupid game.  You give them a range and you give them a certain number of tries to guess the number, and you tell them ‘higher or lower’ to see if they can guess the number.  and while it may seem like it’s sort of just luck, we’ve gotten to the point where we can make more informed guesses based on who came up with the number because we know each other so well. and then that way it also just symbolizes our connection…”

Background: The informant is a 19 year-old college student who went on road trips often with his family growing up.  The game shared with me was created by his father when he was 9 and has become a staple part of their traveling as a family in the years since.

Context: I was told about this game in USC’s Annenberg Hall during a quick interview.

It’s interesting how simple games can become a symbol of a family’s close connections to each other.  Shared activities like the number game can become a small group of people’s defining characteristic, and the informant was enthusiastic about how they could guess the patterns that each player used in the game as an indicator of how well they knew each other.