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  • Writer's pictureashnudua

Hangman: What is it Really?

“The game hangman teaches you how much words can affect whether someone lives or dies.”- Anonymous

I feel like everyone has played the old school favourite, hangman at some point in their lives, whether this point was when they were bored in school, or if they just wanted to have some fun.

Hangman is a word game in which you draw a square with a line extending above and to the right. On the side, one person writes a word, movie, book, phrase etc in blanks, telling the other person/people the topic- whether it’s a children’s movie, or a horror novel etc. The other people have to guess what’s written by either calling out letters that they think the written thought contains, or voicing what they think fits into all the blanks. The author of the word, has the choice to give three letter hints throughout the game, but I think that we can all agree that unless what's written is really long or tough, these hints ruin the game. With each wrong guess, the usually inconspicuous box and line become a man hanging from the line. If you have too many incorrect conjectures, the completed man is killed by making a noose dangle from the line. The goal of the game is to guess the word without killing the human.

This innocent diversion actually has a lot to it than just entertainment. It is often used in classes to teach vocabulary or other lesson materials, and to pass time. It goes down a lot beyond just the surface too though. The implicit meanings of the game, the responsibility of knowing that a person’s life is in your hands, knowing that one wrong word could kill him… Even though it’s just a game, it holds a lot of lessons. It teaches us that if we don’t think about our words and actions, there could be disastrous effects, not just for you, but for another as well.

Time and again, we blurt out what is on our mind, potentially blundering into a delicate situation with the grace of a hammer, without any regard for the other person’s thoughts. We don’t always know what someone’s been through or their mental state, so our comments on them, even if meant as a harmless joke or a teasing jibe, could cause them to take it seriously. This could result in mental illnesses like depression, or if the comment was about their body, eating disorders or self consciousness. These are serious matters and might end in self harm or suicide.

Even if we don’t think the comment is offensive, someone else could take it as so, and it could drastically alter someone’s life. Hangman shows us the power our words and thoughts hold, and that we must think logically before actually acting out.

There have been many conversations on the internet about whether or not Hangman is actually offensive, as it shows a lot of violence, considering we are slowly killing someone, however, this game in the end is only entertainment, and considering the amount of violence in our day to day life, this game teaches the concept of responsibility for your words.

In my opinion, Hangman is genuinely a game which is both enjoyable and educational.

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