Bingo: An Alternative History?

May 18, 2021 | 0 Votes by Other Contributors - rate Your vote
What is bingo's history? We kid you not: it has a long and interesting story, from its inception to its current state. WWGDB - Bingo: An Alternative History?

The game of Bingo, anyone? It’s supposed to be a fun way to pass the time, but has it always been like this? It turns out that the game of Bingo has some pretty fascinating history and probably has a lot to do with the present-day way we think. From my research, I discovered that the first bingo game was organized by a small group of prisoners in Virginia in 1848. They wanted to pass the time with some games and so they played a game they called euchre. Some of the players got bored with this game so they decided to try bingo because it sounded much more interesting than euchre.

This is where our present form of Bingo comes from and it is quite surprising how this came about because we’ve actually gone backwards a bit when trying to develop a practical way to play Bingo. The prisoners actually took the numbers from the euchre game and instead of using them to win at cards, they used them in a different way. The euchre game was a card game where every player would have five cards and it was up to the players to play their hand. These numbers were used as bingo numbers, but not for calling out. When prisoners won, they would be allowed to mark off a cross on their prison bars with a piece of coal or chalk.

Bingo cards


The history of Bingo just got even more interesting! The prison’s guards didn’t like this strange new version of euchre and actually asked a guard named George Savage to find other ways for them to amuse themselves.

Savage was the first person to invent a spin off from euchre called “bingo”. A bingo game was simply the numbers from the prisoners' hands that they had marked off with their coal or chalk. The first commercial bingo games were around the same time and these games used cards instead of marking off prison bars with coal or chalk.

The word “bingo” actually comes from the English word, “binge” which means to mark with coal or chalk. The original meaning of this word is derived from Welsh origins where it meant to be intoxicated. When someone says that they binged bingo online, they mean that they were intoxicated by the excitement of playing.

The game of Bingo has undergone a lot of changes in the past and from its first beginnings in prison cells, it’s come quite a long way. It’s no longer just for prisoners but is now played across the world as a fun game that anyone can play. I’m sure that its history must have something to do with how we think when we play Bingo. The history may not be what you expect and it certainly doesn’t sound like something you would want to see on stage at your local bingo hall but it is true! It might be good to keep this tidbit of history in mind the next time you meet to play Bingo.

Bingo set and cards


So what is going on with our brains when we play Bingo? The past 15 years have seen a lot of research into the effects of Bingo on the brain. Some areas of the brain are stimulated by playing Bingo, which includes parts of the brain that control motor skills, working memory, attention and decision making. We know that these skills are affected by gameplay because we can see it being performed in people who have had a stroke or certain neurological conditions but we can also see players experiencing problems on their bingo cards.

The purpose of this study was to work out whether there are any significant differences in how people respond to playing Bingo compared with different types of other games (such as board games).

So the researchers took a group of people and split them into two groups. The first group played one of three different types of board games over the course of a week. For the board game, this included Chess, Scrabble and Backgammon. The second group played an online version of bingo using their computer mouse with numbers on the screen (the researchers used the numbers on their cards as markers for these online bingo games). Every night for a week they were given five cards with numbers in them to play against each other for prizes. This group played an online version of bingo for the whole week.

The researchers found that when people played board games, their working memory improved. This is a skill that helps us with our decision making and memory. When people play Bingo it also improves their decision making but it doesn’t improve their working memory so they can’t apply that to board games. They also found that if they were playing online bingo cards, they couldn’t notice any difference in their working memory from the different board game types.

When people were trying to remember where all of the different numbers were on the Bingo cards after playing for a month, they had an easier time remembering digits on either side of non-digit cards. This result makes sense because you would have to concentrate harder on remembering the numbers that are used in Bingo compared to the board game types.

So what exactly does all of this information mean for us? It might sound like a bit of a bizarre study but its one that shows us how a game discovered by inmates in prison cells has evolved into something that challenges our working memory, motor skills and decision making. We like to play bingo because it’s a fun game and we’ve been playing it for hundreds of years, so who knows what other surprises the future might hold for this simple, little game?

But one thing is clear, bingo is here to stay for a long time! Bingo is available in a wide variety of different forms including online, in person and on television. In fact, Bingo is one of the most popular types of games that we play today. This has a lot to do with all the changes that have been made to the game over the years as well as how it’s spread across so many different platforms like TV, computers and phones.

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