Column by Pete Sirianni: Screens make car games too easy Lifestyles

Looking back, I was lucky to have the childhood I did.

I grew up around much of my extended family in a small town with a single stoplight. We had a yard perfect for touch football (and not quite perfect for Wiffle Ball home run derby) and my grandparents were right across the street.

One of the games I remember our Grandpa Joe playing with us was Name That Tune. Never played? The game is simple.

You hum or sing a bit of a song and the first person who names that tune wins. I never said it was the most complicated game.

That’s evolved over the years. One of the downsides of growing up where I did was that it was a three-hour cramped car ride to Pittsburgh for the privilege of watching the Pirates trot out some pitcher who won’t be on the team in three weeks to try to strike out all-stars from St. Louis. A good way to pass the time while traveling Route 66 and the interstate? Name That Tune, of course. The way my cousin Robert plays it, you listen to the radio and for each song there are three points to be won – one for the name of the song, one for the artist and one for the first word.

If you ever want to play, I suggest brushing up on your 80s and 90s rock catalogs and leave all of your knowledge of hip-hop or country behind. Driving to get a photo for the newspaper the other day, I was thinking about Name That Tune while changing my car’s radio. Everything has a screen now. My car isn’t the newest on the road, but it shows the artist and song titles for most radio stations. I often listen to music from Spotify connected through my phone’s Bluetooth. Even Spotify now has the lyrics right on each song.

It’s not to say Name That Tune is dead, but the integrity of Name That Tune is being threatened. It’s harder to play it the old-fashioned way — just you and four other people squished into a Chevrolet Cavalier with no air conditioning listening to Eddie Money trying to remember the first words to “Take Me Home Tonight.” (Answer: “I.”)

Screens have made it easy to cheat, whether on your car’s stereo or in the palm of your hand. There are a handful of smartphone apps whose only job is to tell you what song is playing.

Where’s the fun in that?

Next time you round up some friends for a Steelers tailgate or the next Kenny Chesney concert, try a round or two of Name That Tune. No screens. No phones. No 50/50 lifelines. You’re sure to have a good time.

If not, you just spent 54 minutes listening to Van Halen and Def Leppard.

(Pete Sirianni is the editor of the New Castle News. Email him at [email protected])

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