9 Apr 2009

Games people play

This isn’t about the games men and women play with each other… it’s actually about the games we play, as kids and adults.

Last night, I was thinking how much I enjoyed pitching marbles (sandy soil was better!) and all the marble games we had in school and out of school. Remember when you had a ‘tor’ and you collected big marbles and small marbles and all the odd colours? Remember hoop, rounders, footsie, hide and seek, hopscotch and others?

Then there was cricket (my days for that done when I get a ‘cork’ ball in my… well, balls – I guess that was a real ‘cock’ ball as we mis-say in Trini parlance), and football. We use to play ‘bang’ on the school’s tennis and basketball courts when we couldn’t get to the football field. I have to congratulate my friend Ian who still is an avid cricket player… me, I’m more sedate. I prefer a gym for my exercise, or jogging.

Then we had the video game craze starting in the early 80’s. I remember the Games World near Fraser Street in Penal where we used to go after school to play old goodies like Vanguard, Gorf, Pacman (remember a song named Pacman Fever?), Space Aliens, Turbo (car racing) etc. Of course, these were the forerunners of today’s high graphics games, but back in those days, they were as exciting as can be. Hell, people fought over whose turn it was at the machines (bloody noses and all), and trying to beat the previous high scores was an everyday challenge.

My cousin Ravi introduced me to Mario Brothers, but it never really caught my fancy all that much. I never got into the games consoles for homes thing…

When I was in primary school, I learnt chess from my friend Ian (the rudiments) and then had lessons at work later on from a real professional, Xenophon Beharry). I still play occasionally - and have a hand-carved set given to me by Xeno when he played in Yugoslavia, but play mainly on my PC now. I learnt draughts (checkers as the USA citizens say) but it never really caught my fancy. trying to teach Punk is a bit frustrating, I don’t think she has the patience. We both like Scrabble though.

I learnt ALL FOURS from my school’s vice-principal, and other card games from my cousin… 99 and ‘Suck the well’ are always a party favourite.

After thinking about all these games, I wondered how could someone sit at a video game console for hours on end, playing ‘shoot ‘em ups’? Even when I am playing chess, I return to my game over a period of time… ah well, to each his own. But I think this summer, I am going back to some of these old games people play.