In an age where we have almost unlimited options for entertainment, most of the toys kids play with and the games and puzzles adults use to occupy their minds, or have fun socially with, have some kind of high tech element. You can play online multiplayer games with your existing friends or meet new ones via massively multiplayer gaming servers. You can pass the time on your commute with a puzzle on your tablet or phone. Kids can have fun training their robotic pet, or fire up their favourite games console.
Of course, all of these things are great – high tech toys and puzzles are generally more portable, can offer interesting experiences, and are easier to play with other people regardless of where you are. However, a lot of people are beginning to also incorporate more traditional games, puzzles and toys into their collection of things to use for entertainment. Board games (with physical boards, not their touch screen counterparts) are making a comeback as a thing to do for an evening at home with friends. Luxury versions of classic wooden puzzles are now popular gifts. So why is this trend towards more 'old fashioned' entertainment occurring?
People Like Objects
One of the issues with high tech media, including games, is that while it is very convenient to have a range of stuff to do all on one tiny device like a phone or tablet, people miss having a physical item they can own, collect, and take care of. People generally like the tactile element of objects, and this is why books and newspapers remain popular even though items like the Kindle are much more portable, and more up to the minute news by the same publications can be read online. With puzzles and board games, the virtual element only replaces some of the experience of playing the real game. Playing Monopoly on your iPad may be faster and more convenient (and nobody has to be the banker), but setting up the board and moving the pieces around is a part of the game some people miss.
Luxury and Style
Because game and puzzle manufacturers are now trying to appeal to people who want to own a nice object and have a nice physical experience, games tend to be more luxurious. Things like wooden or metal 'executive' type puzzles are designed to be almost works of art that look great on your desk when you are not playing with them, and you also see products like the custom jigsaw puzzles by Stave Puzzles which are designed to be unique and to really appeal to their owner or recipient on a personal level.
As with books, the popularity of physical versions of games and puzzles that can be played digitally, or more traditional toys like dolls and action figures for children, lies in the sense of owning a nice, interesting object. As the novelty of high tech games wears off, people are going back to wanting to play board games and do puzzles in the 'normal' way, and a trend towards these kinds of products is emerging.