Since bingo started somewhere back in the 1400’s the game has always been about bringing people together. Every element of the game lends itself perfectly to drawing in the crowds, who as the game progresses become more and more intensely focussed on scoring off those numbers as they’re called.
Whilst talking during a game may be an offence that will get you glared at or perhaps even expelled from a hall, the time before and after the game makes for an ideal opportunity for people to enjoy each other’s company. It only takes a quick trip to your local bingo hall and you’ll notice people have ‘bingo friends’, it’s clear to see that bingo forms part of people’s social lives.
Whilst technological progress has meant that less people play in the land based bingo halls, the masses have been flocking to the various online bingo websites, which are now numerous. This shift in playing patterns is not always looked upon as favourable to the social element of bingo.
It seems to us however that bingo sites accessible through desktop or laptop do indeed cater for the social element of the game, in some ways players benefit from more of a social community than they do in the halls. This is because online operators allow players to select ‘auto daub’ features which means that the players don’t have to click every ball as it’s called, allowing them to chat during the games – not something that’s permissible in the bingo halls.
The problem arises when the game of bingo is adapted to fit on a tiny screen, such as that of a mobile phone. At this point the issue is space and it doesn’t really seem that developers have gotten over the problem yet. So far we’re seeing software solutions that incorporate only the bingo cards and the calls. We’re yet to see a setup, which allows players to participate in the chat. This is a sad situation and leads us to believe that mobile bingo has lost its social touch.
It could be argued that mobile bingo has lost more than the social qualities of the game, if we take a look at how the game play works on a mobile phone we note that not only can’t the players chat, they also typically don’t have the opportunity to mark their cards. With these two features of the game removed, they’re essentially left watching numbers appear and balls being ticked off their cards, a bit of a boring situation.
As a direct consequence of losing the ability to mark the numbers as they’re called mobile bingo also loses the ability to stimulate peoples brains. It has for a long time being argued that bingo is useful, especially amongst the elderly to maintain brain stimulation; it’s even known to stimulate short-term cognition in Alzheimer’s disease patients.
So in short it seems that mobile bingo as it stands has lost touch with not only it’s social side, but also it’s brain-stimulating qualities. Will people start getting bored of the game and will developers be forced to react?