In flight games are a popular pastime for many passengers. Many in flight games are variations on the original game of i-Spy, which has been played by children since the 20th century.
The origin of the game is unknown, although it is thought to have originated in Scotland. The earliest reference to i-Spy was in an article in the Ohio newspaper, The News-Herald, in 1910:
A new game is said to be popular among English school boys – “I spy.” One boy picks out an object across the room or around the corner and after everyone has had a chance to discover what it is, he announces it triumphantly. This can be played by two or more small boys…
It is likely that this reference to a “new” game was picked up from London newspapers and adapted by American journalists. It was first published as a book in 1922 by William Simpson titled I Spy with my Little Eye.
In this version of the game, players took turns looking around for objects beginning with a specific letter and then guessing what everyone else had seen. The first person to guess correctly became the next player’s “spy”. The game of i-Spy became popular after World War II when British soldiers told their families about the
On long flights, especially if you’re traveling with children, it can get really boring. This is why in-flight games are so popular and common. One particular game that has been played by children and adults alike for years is called i-Spy. In this game, players look around the cabin and find objects that begin with a certain letter, such as I. The first person to spot an object gets the next turn or can pass it on to the next person.
The i-Spy game was first invented in 1948 by Milton Bradley and was popularized by British author Hamilton Davidson in his book Alphabet of Games for Children. The original i-Spy game consisted of 50 cards which each had a different picture of something that began with a letter of the alphabet, such as A for airplane or S for sweater. The object of the game was to collect as many cards as possible by spotting the items in real life.
i-spy has become more than just a card game played on long trips. People play it to pass time at home, in school, at work, or even when they’re out for a walk or run. It helps people stay alert and entertained and has helped kids learn how to spell words and letters.
On flights, the majority of passengers will be carrying a device that allows them to play games, watch films and listen to music. So why is it that the vast majority of these passengers are still playing the same game they were when they were children?
The game in question is “i-Spy”. It is one of the most popular games played on flights across the world, yet it is over 150 years old. Now, for those of you who have not heard of this game, i-Spy is played by players taking turns to spot an object and call out the letter it begins with. The other players must then find the object and call out what it is. In order to make this slightly more difficult, there are often points awarded for things such as how rare an item is. For example:
Player 1: “I spy with my little eye something beginning with B…”
Player 2: “Bathroom”
Player 1: “Correct”
The popularity of in-flight games, such as i-Spy, can be explained by the need to reduce boredom and improve mental performance during long flights. Boredom is a significant problem for airline crew and passengers (Lackner et al., 2014; Lackner et al., 2015) and an increase in boredom has been shown to disrupt flight crew performance (Weaver, 2003). Napping may be the most effective method for reducing fatigue (Harrison & Horne, 2000), but it is not possible for passengers to sleep during the entire journey. The time which remains must be filled with other activities, such as reading or watching films, but these have a limited capacity to alleviate boredom and stress (Zhong et al., 2015).
In contrast, i-spy requires passengers to actively search their environment for items on their list. By requiring effortful processing of environmental stimuli i-spy may occupy cognitively demanding tasks that would otherwise be assigned to the default mode network (DMN) in the brain (Spreng et al., 2010). This will limit the amount of time spent thinking about unrelated thoughts and worrying about matters beyond their control, such as arriving at the destination on time or missing a connection. If a passenger is able to stay
In the 1940’s, Douglas Corrigan’s “wrong way flight” marked the beginning of the in flight games. The aircraft mechanic made an illegal flight from Brooklyn, New York to Ireland after telling the authorities that he was flying in the opposite direction to California. The pilot claimed that it was not his intention to deceive anyone and blamed his wrong direction on a compass error. That is why he became known as “Wrong Way Corrigan”.
Although Douglas Corrigan supposedly flew illegally by himself, there were many people who believed that he was accompanied by a one-eyed stowaway. According to some witnesses, he was really in search of the fabled land of Tir na n-Og which was popularly known as the land of eternal youth.
Most people believe that the modern i-Spy game has its roots in the US during World War II. However, this is not true since there are reports about similar games played at least two decades before Corrigan’s illegal flight in 1919. They were known as “I spy with my little eye something beginning with….” or simply “I spy…” and they have been passed on from one generation to another, much like “
The game of “I Spy” has been a long standing tradition on long car journeys, but why? It is a simple concept; A child finds something that they think others may not spot. They then say: “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with…” and then the letter of the item they have chosen. The other passengers in the vehicle must then guess what it is.
The answer can be anything, from a cloud shaped like a bird to the first letter of a number plate. The game continues until someone guesses correctly and becomes the next “spy”.
This game has now made its way onto our flights and is played by many children and adults alike. But why? Why do we play this game in the sky?
One theory suggests that we play it because we are bored. Many of us have played this game so much that we are bored of it, therefore why do we continue to play it on our flights? The answer is simple: being bored makes us fidgety and anxious, which makes some people uncomfortable during their flight due to lack of space. By playing this game, it distracts us from our surroundings and keeps us calm so that other passengers don’t feel uncomfortable
My mother was a stewardess with Pan American Airlines during the 1950’s and 60’s. She has many fond memories of flying with the company, but one sticks out in her mind as her favorite. She would play a game with the passengers that involved asking them to guess the number of people on board the flight.
The game worked like this: each passenger would tell my mother how many people they believed were on the flight and my mother would write down their guesses on a piece of paper for each person. At the end of the flight she would total up all of their guesses and then see who came closest to guessing the correct number. The prize for winning was usually a free ticket anywhere in the world.
My mother remembers this game as being very popular with passengers; she said it was a great way for her to get to know some of her regulars and it also made time fly by as she would write down all of their guesses. She never had a short flight when playing this game. The most common question she would get from passengers was “can you tell me how many people are on board?” The answer was always no because then everyone would give that number as their guess and there wouldn’t be any competition!