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Cheap To Play

Today it can be safely said that it is expensize to play. If a child wants to play a playstation game it costs several hundred dollars just to purchase the apparatus and then a few more bucks to purchase the games. But not so twenty five years ago when it can be said that playing games and having a lot of fun was cheap. Most of the time ‘nada’ (nothing).

Children used to play tag and what do you need to play this game? Nothing else but your hands and feet and you tag a person who loses and you have a lot of fun winning. Or you throw a tin can to a kid and you say here kick it. The child kicks it all over the house enjoying the rattle while you the parents run crazy with the noise and that in itself is the fun of the game- running your parents crazy. It is a game where the child can say, “See I am in command; I can run my parents crazy and I won’t stop until they beg for mercy.” What a fun game and it cost nothing!

When kids want to feel tall today, there is this bouncing game called “Pogo Stick”. It is a lot of fun but it costs some $40 apiece. Not so twenty five years ago. You take two tall tin cans, run a string through them and off you go to feel tall and have fun. You stand on the tin cans which you support with the use of the strings. As you walk about the house, you make this annoying sound which gives you the feeling you are wearing high heels. That’s the point of the game- a kid feels tall. Ah, that’s one more thing. When you master walking on these tin cans, you have mastered the art of walking on stilettos.

Another high power tall game is the “sancos” or stilts. Any child took two long pieces of board and adapted a foot rest unto it, two to four feet high off the ground and you practiced balancing yourself on stilts. Once you mastered it you could walk giant steps along the streets. Other fun activities on stilts were walking backwards, running, walking in the mud by the lagoon and, listen to this, walking into the sea with your good clothing on. This was quite a challenge. And what did this high power fun game cost? Nothing, two narrow strips of board and some nails.

Watch a kid today play a game racing cars or motorcycles on his Play Station or X Box. That is a lot of fun but a lot of dollars too. Not so twenty five years ago. The rim of a metal drum or if you were lucky the rim of a bike wheel was all you needed to play ‘wheels’. With a metal hook you pushed your wheel along the street making a whole lot of noise that got the entire village crazy. And that was the point of the game- making a lot of noise and getting there first as you raced with a friend.

Oh yeah, there so many other fun and inexpensive games we played in the 1950’s and 60’s. Take a piece of rope and you play jumping rope for hours. If no rope was available, you go to some unclean yard where there were vines and you obtained a nice long thin vine and there is your rope. Go to an almond tree and find a piece of limb that forms a crutch or is Y shaped and with two pieces of rubber, you make a fine sling shot. Boy this cost nothing and a sling shot was a very challenging fun utensil used for shooting targets, lizards, iguanas, birds that came to poop in your water tank or dogs that came to poop in your yard. With a good sling shot and plenty of practice, you had fun while you kept those unwanted animals away.

With no television, Nintendo, Play Stations, X Box nor computers twenty five years ago, you can bet your sweet lip that there were many other games played by kids twenty five years ago. I’ll wait for your calls to write about your favorite ones so your kids might enjoy.

– by Angel Nuñez, Columnist

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