10 childhood games (today’s teens won’t be able to relate with)

Years before the proliferation of the Internet in the country, games referred to something that required physical movement – that involved more than the subtle hands and wrist movements. It was a period when people got scratches, burns, cuts, and bruises from the games they played. The games took place when there were at least two players personally interacted face-to-face (I mean that in the literal sense).

The games and the training took place in school before and after classes. That was the only reason why we, kids at the time, came to school an hour early. We usually leave the school grounds when the church tower rings for the 6pm Angelus.

  1. Jackstone . Played mostly by females and some deviant males. All one needed was an even, smooth floor (preferably marble but tiled and concrete floors would do). This game required intense training especially in the exhibition. There’s one small rubber ball the size  and ten stars. The creativity was put to test in coming up with new exhibition for the games.
  2. Ten-twenty. This was, by far, the most famous game in elementary. If you were skilled in this sport. You’d definitely be famous in the whole school. Each grade level has their own star players. Being tall and the ability to jump higher than normal was a great advantage. All star players have their own ring of braided rubber bands. Having the longest braid of bands was also a status symbol – it meant you’re rich enough to buy that many rubber bands and you were diligent enough to do the braiding.
  3. Chinese Garter. This one’s for the tall kids – and the skilled not-so-tall ones (I’m thankful I have tall parents). The braid of rubber bands are raised as the level increases for the players to jump on to.
  4. Agawan ng base. This is a game of strategy. There are two bases. The goal is t conquer the other team’s base by leading the members of the other team away from their homebase.
  5. Football (which is anything but. Its more like baseball except that the player kicks the ball instead of using the bat). You have four bases and a round ball. There are two teams for this game. It’s a hodgepudge of mechanics from different ball games.
  6. Syato. Teachers constantly complain about holes dug in the school grounds where we hold the flag ceremonies. Flat grassy grounds are the best areas to play syato. In the game, the are two bamboo sticks needed. The shorter one’s about half feet long and the other one’s spans about five to six feet. The width is usually two inches.
  7. POGS and text. In the 90s, children collected text cards. They were 1×2-inch cards with old comics-like illustrations. School boys traded text cards. They text collections would be their source of pride. Pogs were released initially as a novelty item in a product I could not remember. If you played text, your were okay. If it were Pogs you played with, you were part of an elite group. Pogs were more expensive.
  8. Spider fight. Weekends and afternoons are spent in trees, basements, house ceilings, hunting for spiders in time for school spider fights. Kids can have up to ten match boxes, each housing about two spiders. They take care of the spiders, feed them, and then organize fights. This is the boys’ game – usually.
  9. Super trump cards of just about everything. 
  10. Sago Wars. Outside the schools, cold drinks with tapioca pearls (known locally as sago) were sold. Students either request Manong,the seller, to add more pearls or buy just the tapioca pearls. They use the straw to project the pearls towards the polo of other students initiating the sago wars.
Not included in the top ten is habulan (ice-breaker, etc). Basically, one runs. The goal is to avoid the identified taya. The Taya’s goal is to tap or make contact with another player. There are variations to the mechanics of this game. These are usually set before the start of the game. In some versions, the Taya needs to tap all the players before identifying the Taya for the next game. 
For the physically less active kids, they had paper games like POP, SOS, LOL, FLAMES, CAMEL, HOPE, MASH, , and more.
Before the game consoles, before the wires, before the screens, these were what we meant by games.
I stand corrected. I consulted some junior college studentsand they were still able to relate with the games – at least most of them. Syato was the game they were least familiar with.

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