Thursday, December 07, 2006

At Least It’s Hard To Cheat Yourself

Prompted by jo(e) and Landismom, I present you my twist on the "childhood games" meme.

As I've mentioned, my two sisters are several years older than me. In some ways, I was like an only child, at least in terms of not having a playmate to grow up with.

To avoid making you accompany me on the inevitable meandering self-pity path that this topic seems to direct me toward, I'll also just say, briefly, that I didn't have a ton of friends growing up. I had a few good friends in my neighborhood, but I spent a lot of time by myself.

Hence my weird habit of playing games by myself. And hence my list: Top Ten Games I Played as a Child (Alone). Jeff, shield your eyes.*

1. Stay Alive. Not only would I play this alone, but I would set the marbles in such a way that one "team" would inevitably win -- the trick to that game was to always set your marbles on the white parts of the grid, not the orange. So I would always set the opposing "team"'s marbles on the orange slots, ensuring that "my" team won. Ancillary game: roller derby with the marbles in the lid of the game box.

2. Boggle. Still one of my favorite games, and one that doesn’t seem quite so pathetic to play by oneself. My sister claims, although I have no memory of this, that she would come into the kitchen to see me sitting at the table, Boggle game in front of me and a pile of cheese curls next to the game. Well, I was a big cheese curl addict as a child.

3. Sorry. Let’s just ignore the obvious analogy between the game title and the manner in which I most often played it. This game was always a good time filler. I loved to slide my game peace along the squares of the board that allowed sliding.

4. Trouble.
Popomatic fun. ‘Nuff said.

5. Payday.
I don’t even remember how to play this game, but I recall spending a lot of time doing so.

6. Othello. Unlike with Stay Alive, I posed a serious challenge to myself by playing aggressively on both teams. There was something oddly satisfying about flipping over an entire column of disks from one color to the other. (The online version, I’ve found, is not nearly as fun, perhaps because the computer opponent is a much better player than I ever was a child.)

7. Connect Four. I can’t even rationalize a way in which playing this alone was not stupid.

8. Backgammon.
After teaching me how to play, my sister bought me a really cool leather-bound set with pieces that reminded me of chocolate and vanilla. I think I still have it, although I no longer remember how to play.

9. Battleship. Okay, there was no way I could really play an actual game by myself, but I remember having fun just placing the pegs on the grid and in the ships.

10. Solitaire. See? That’s not pathetic at all!

*Jeff, whose brother is only 18 months older than he is, can’t bear to hear me talk about this because he finds it so pitiful.