I don’t understand this, but the modern-day child just can’t have enough for play.
When I ask a ten-year-old what’s hot on the playfields other than CS and ‘League of Legends’, I usually receive a blank stare following an absurd response ‘I also like cricket, I play it every two months!’
If I continue with the ‘what else’ thing, I am generally termed ‘Pakao’…
And that takes me back into the gaming nostalgia of 1990s, the period of my childhood.
Children of that era were never asked about their ‘favorite’ games. For a 90’s kid, every game had a fun to offer. If a game or a sport ever existed, it was ought to be played. So there was a long list of morning games, afternoon games and evening games. And to try them all, they were naturally set for different seasons.
I may not be able to list them all. But let me take the challenge anyway.
First, the traditional games – or the ones that are somehow played until the present day. I will, however point to the ways in which playing literally everything was somehow possible:
Cricket did not always require long pitches and evening times. And we could play in as small a place as school van. Yes! a paper ball wrapped in scotch tape, combined with a notekeeping register, was all what was needed in a running vehicle to ignite our cricket fever. And at homes, we could play ‘one-tip’. On rooftops, we could be happy with just right/left bat play, and of course on roads, streets, parking plots and playgrounds, cricket was played in much flexible manner.
Football also did not need a long course ground as we see in FIFA leagues. Two medium-sized stones placed across the street were used as indicators for goalpost. Again, no one ever cared about wearing a particular set of sport shoes. If you could make with joggers, that was pretty much accepted.
Badminton courses had to be constructed, but not so much in a professional manner as one we would rather find under college or university compartments. In streets, we would just use limestone to chalk badminton courts. A homemade net tied on tree trunks or house gates would usually suffice for the nighttime sport.
Hockey, like badminton, had to be played in the same not-so-professional manner. But it was still fun. We used to assume plain streets as hockey fields and other than the hockey stick itself, no other requirement of the sport was (could be) met. In place of hockey ball, a rubber made cricket ball was used, for the sake of keeping the game going
And now some games which have already died or slowly approaching death:
Pitto-Maari & Maarm Pitti
It was not a cultural thing, but whenever it rained, children would hunt for a few vase pieces or marbles, set them up in a loose structure (Pitto) on the centre of the street and play what was called Pitto Maari.
The game rules varied, but the general principle was to get the pitto reordered after it was shattered from a ball hit.
The opponent team had to make sure this would not happen, hitting and ousting everyone from the other side trying to arrange the Pitto with the ball hit.
Maarm Pitti was simpler, and it was usually played when the Pitto was totally shattered or destroyed. The teams would simply hit their opponents and get the out.
This was much more popular in girls than in boys. The game only required skip-jumping boxes made on ground from a chalk piece, first with both legs, and then with one.
The last and the most difficult level required skipping twice 3 boxes with one leg!
Chupan Chupaayi / Pakram Pakraayi
The western name is Hide and Seek, but at that time very few of my childhood friends knew it. The game was the favorite sport to kill the time of unexpected (and sometimes daylong) power failures.
Scheduled loadsheddings, and the common use of UPS and generator has almost caused this game to eliminate from the streets.
Pakram Pakaaryi was the simpler form. Children would only chase run after the opponents until all were out.
Ludo, Carom, Chess and Dwarf
Board games were always the best escape for an extraordinarily hot or cold day. Ludo, carom, chess and dwarf were the most common indoor games and were usually played amongst the best friends, siblings or cousins. Although these games have survived, they are only the last resort for the present day child who see ‘Need for Speed’ as a better alternative.
Patangbazi or Kite-flying were used to be our favorite pastimes for the Asr-Iftar period in Ramazan and at the spring time. Nowadays, that time space has been taken by Aamir Liaquat.
Some Bad Games That No Longer Exist
Some games, like Latto and Kancha, formerly considered bad are now completely dead. These games were usually considered as pastimes of the the extreme illiterate people, and those involved with these games were alleged to be gamblers or ‘Jua-rees’. But as games, these had their own fun…And I have tasted both of them.
And finally there were video games, the SEGA, the Nitendo and the Atari.The electronic gaming was just born so we were really excited replacing our old pastimes with it.
When these were not enough, as they usually were, we could explore video game shops, foos-ball (the unpopular Patti), Dabbo (the real big carom), garden wrestling, bicycling, Kings, arm wresting, and I don’t remember.
I’d really like to know if you’ve played anything more than that…