As I stand here waiting for a delayed train home on a Friday night after a day in the office my mind starts wandering.....
What If Video Games Didn't Exist? (I ask myself)
What Games Would I Play?
Well when I was growing up it's true that I played a lot of video games. BUT me and my best mates also knew how to amuse ourselves without video games.
So if video games didn't exist then these 10 would be my favourite games to play........
Some of them are made up games and others are probably games you played as a kid too...
1. "Alley Hake"
Alley Hake was like a kids take on Track & Field Javelin.
Sit on a swing. Start Swinging. Loosen one of your shoes as you're swinging. When you are ready and have enough momentum let out a cry of "Alley HAKE!" and fling your shoe with your leg as far as you can!
Wherever the shoe lands and ends up is the official measurement of the "Alley Hake" fling. Obviously the winner is the one who "Alley Hakes" the furthest.
Loved this game. Shoe sizes matter in this game. We always found that a plimsole was better than a bulky trainer.
2. "Den Building"
Den building appeals to whatever appeals to the gamers who play Minecraft.
We were lucky, we had Epping Forest on our doorstep and knew it like the back of our hands. This meant that we knew all the nooks and crannies to build awesome dens in the beautiful Epping Forest landscape.
One time (at band camp) we found a clearing in the middle of a mass of blackberry bushes. It was almost impenetrable and impossible to locate unless you knew how to get in. It was an oasis for us at the age of 11 years old. We managed to build a structure from plastic poles and a tarpaulin which acted as the den. We then used an old BBQ as a fireplace by digging into the ground and fixing the BBQ in place permanently. Then we located a discarded wheelie bin which we were able to use as a storage area for all of our finds whilst on adventures in the forest.
For me though, the thing that made this den perfect was the elm tree that sat in the clearing. We would use the wheelie bin as a ladder to get up the tree and then climb the tree. We all had our own seats in the tree which we would sit in on sunny days with views out over Chingford. We all carved our initials into the branches closest to our seats which made it even more special.....I wonder if that tree is still there?
3. "Key To The Kingdom"
This is a an absolute classic board game that my mate Paul got for Christmas. Did you ever play it?
This was played so many times by us with Paul's brother Danny and our mate Lee. From memory the aim of the game was to find the Key To The Kingdom!
After a quick Google search I have found this cool site which explains this awesome game in much better detail and also contains the original TV ad!
Take a look @ classicmemories.co.uk
Spot is one of those games that seemed to have various regional variations on the same game. This is how we played it.
Pick a wall, we used to prefer a wall in our Primary School playground that was around 15 feet wide and 6 foot high. Now get a ball, a football or tennis ball will do. Choose an order of play. First person kicks the ball against the wall, then the second person kicks the ball against the wall from wherever the ball ends up. Everyone kicks the ball against the wall until the first person misses. The person who misses goes to S and they miss again they go to SP. The first person to end up spelling SPOT loses and is eliminated. The last person standing wins.
Some variations used involved "doggy lives" for the first person to be eliminated. Doggy lives meant they could miss one more time before being eliminated. Some people also used full stop as the the last life thus spelling SPOT with a full stop after it! Anyway, this was always a firm fave with us as kids as we all loved football and it was great fun getting your opponent to try and play from a seemingly impossible angle to try and hit the wall!
5. "Through The Hole"
Such a simple game but so much fun for any kid who loves football.
In our local park there was a 3 foot hole in the fence.
We would use this hole to play a variation on SPOT.
The aim of the game was to get the ball through the hole to score a point.
It was quite a tough challenge as the lower half of the fence was wooden and the upper half was wire netted fence with the hole in it. If the ball hit the wood then it would end up making the shot for the next person that little bit harder to make. A 25 yard shot into a 3 foot wide hole is quite a tough challenge for most. I think that it was first to 5 wins and we would spend many happy hours down the park playing this one.
6. "Happy Gilmore Driving"
Inspired by the Adam Sandler film, Happy Gilmore driving took place in a field opposite a local reservoir. We would tee up golf balls using plastic coke bottles. Then we'd take it in turns to run up to the balls and hit a Happy Gilmore drive into the reservoir. Running up to a golf and hitting a long drive is tougher than it sounds. So when you do make that sweet connection it's something it's like scoring a winning goal! Great Game, loads of fun!
I always liked the idea of playing Dungeons & Dragon or the Warhammer Games Workshop games. The thing is they always seemed mega complicated and required others who were just as passionate about it. So one Christmas I got given Hero Quest the board game.....
I loved it! What a great time I had making up my own adventures.
I didn't actually follow the rules but I did make up my own as I set up the dungeon rooms as I wanted them to look. Loads of cool adventures were had with this awesome legendary board game.
8. "Goalie Vs"
My best mates brother would go in goal and we would play him at goalie vs.
We were only allowed to score with headers and volleys and he scored if he caught the ball off of one of our shots or If we put the ball over or wide. First to 5 wins. Simple but awesome.
9. "Bike Hike"
Living near the Epping Forest meant that adventure was always on our doorstep. One of my favourite activities was Bike Hike. We'd make a pack lunch each (cheese n tomato ketchup sandwiches, Scotch Eggs, Club Bar and a can of coke) then pack it into rucksack. Then we'd get on our bikes and ride into the forest looking to explore. We'd stop for lunch at a spot where we could play footie and munch our lunch. Then on the journey back home we'd come home via "The Death Route!"......
The death route was the steepest hill in Epping Forest (Pole Hill) that we'd kamikaze our way down to get home. Scary but awesome!
One Sunday we all visited the local Car Boot sale and bought a Black Widow catapult each. From that point onward the catapults came with us no matter where we went and we'd go deep into the Forest to practice our shots on old tin cans. Lots of cans were harmed in the making of this article!
11. "Cricket Power Bat"
We made our own cricket bat out of a spare piece of wood. We then stuck a Panini Sticker of Jurgen Klinsmann the bat which made a "Power Spot". We then used to visit a disused patio area that had a roof over it and set up our own cricket arena. We'd score extra runs for hitting the ball through the perspex roof of the 'arena'.
12. "Subbuteo Penalties"
Subbuteo always seemed like a good idea when you set it up at the start. You'd lay out your teams and make the pitch look quality and away you went. 5 minutes in and you were getting annoyed with the players flying off the side of the pitch or getting stuck in the back of the net.
This is when we came up with the idea of using the corner taker figures ,which I owned, as penalty takers. This was much more fun and proved to be an awesome take on Subbuteo.
13. "Tomy Super Cup Football"
This battery operated football game was like a dream come true for me. The miniature players were able to run up and down the pitch using the knobs on the control panel and the miniature ball could be spanked into the goal with a twist of the knob. It was like foosball miniaturized and then sped up to 150mph. I could happily play my mates at this for hours on end.
14. "Test Match"
A cricket board game that actually felt like you were playing a game of cricket. Field placings were essential. The bowlers sort of bowled. As a batsmen timing was key. It had the lot but best of all it had Sir Ian Botham and David Gower on the front of the box!! Me and Paul couldn't get enough of this awesome game. There's nothing quite like a game of this on the dinner table.... HOWZAT!!!!!!!!!
15. "Owzat Dice"
Keeping on the cricket theme, let me tell you about 'Owzat Dice'. My friend Chris used to bring these into school. They were a set of dice in a tin that would enable you to play a game of cricket.
Generally we'd pick a team of our choosing and Chris would note the names down in a spare science book at the back of a Physics class. Then once all the teams were noted it was a case of playing the match using the dice. The dice had scores on them for the runs and every now and again a chance for a wicket would come up which meant roll another dice to see if you were out or not. It was brilliant and before long everyone had a team and were taking part in Chris' league....
Chris is now 35 and an accountant but we still talk of those Owzat Dice and the fact that he's gone and lost them!!
16. "Soccer Supremos PBM"
Play by mail football games were all the rage in the school playgrounds of the 90's and everyone at my school played Soccer Supremos. You would pick your team each week, make some tactical decisions, scour the transfer market and then send your selections back by 1st Class Post with a cheque for that weeks match fees.
Then you'd wait by your post box for days for the results. I remember going on holiday and getting my Soccer Supremos delivered to the address on my hols! That's how keen I was to make sure I didn't miss out on that weeks Norwich City result.
Kenny Irons was my star player and the greatest thing about the game was that you would get calls from other managers to do transfer deals!
"Hi, this is the manager of Blackburn, i'm looking to offer 1.2 million for Kenny Irons"
Of course the answer was always "Kenny Irons is NOT for sale!"
17. "Golf Ball Collecting"
This was a summer time pastime for us which meant that as kids we could make some extra cash to afford a load of penny sweets and treats during the summer hols.
The first thing we created was a specially made collector tool. It made from a long pole which had a half a 5 litre squash bottle attached to the end of it. Then we put a load of small holes in the bottom of the half bottle to allow the water to drain out.
We then visited our local pitch and putt course which ran along the side of the River Lee. Naturally lots of balls went into the River and were never retrieved.
This is where we came in with our golf ball collection contraption. We'd basically clear the River as much as we could by using the collector. We'd always come away with tons of golf balls. I remember once seeing Paul's brother Danny wading through the River with the collector tool in hand while I just laughed from the side of the River.
We would then take the balls back home and begin the task of cleaning the balls as they would generally be covered in algae and mud. In they went to the bucket full of fresh water and we'd gather round with rags and clean each ball to a shine.
Then the next day we'd head up to the 9th hole of Chingford golf course and sell them to the golfers as they went round the course.
It was our very own golf ball business and thinking back now it was a great way for us to make £1 a golf ball so we could gorge ourselves on cola bottles and Virgin Cola!
With that little lot I'm surprised we ever played video games!
What Was YOUR Favourite NON Video Game That YOU Played As A Kid?