In addition, there were few gaming options that were compatible with the Coffeehouse milieu, which tended to be dark and given over to butcher block. It would be a few years before the first electronic games would show up, and at least a generation before gaming apps for iPhone would give us Angry Birds. Nintendo Wii did not exist, which contributed to the ennui of those late night hours. And there was no Farmville, which was something of a blessing. But there was Go! And there was coffee, which contributed to many a spirited game around the coffeehouse tables. Go! playing was as serious as chess was to chess enthusiasts, and many of the strategies that were used to avoid losing chess matches went into a typical game of Go!
The Go! craze probably lasted longer at MIT than it did in other parts of the country, and when it subsided (about a year later), students went back to playing backgammon, which was two sets of stones on a racetrack and was always popular. These days you can play these games and many others on your phone or your iPad, which is nothing like the real thing. You can always spot gamers (and texters) by the extreme calluses that have built up on their thumbs. And by the general unwillingness of most auto insurance companies to sell them a policy.