Childhood Games: Then and Now - Life is so full of tae!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Childhood Games: Then and Now

I was born in 1985. Needless to say, I spent all my childhood days during the 90's. That time when being stinky, drenched in sweat, and dirty is perfectly natural. That time when smartphones, computers and virtual games did not exist. Or maybe they did, but physical play reigned over gadgets - which is probably the greatest thing that ever happened during my childhood.

Yes, I am lucky.

THEN.
We did not have the luxury of technology back then yet we know how to enjoy the little things the world can provide. We only had tin cans, old slippers, plastic cellophane, twigs and branches, and whatever it is that we can pick up on the streets but we enjoyed it very much.  I was a certified batang kalye. I played on the streets and under the sun. Aside from piko, patintero, taguan, takyan (sipa), tex, chinese garter, luksong tinik, luksong baka, tumba lata, and so on and so forth, here are some notable Filipino childhood games of the 90's that I enjoyed back then which are surprisingly (almost) comparable to the virtual games kids enjoy nowadays.

Since toy guns are discouraged by most parents, we have our own ways of improvising something less harmful but one that teaches competency, loyalty, and of course, strategy. If Plants vs. Zombies have peashooters, we have this:
Pinoy 90's childhood games
A war game played with a make-shift gun like this was a hell lot better than shooting zombies, and those toy guns for that matter.

If you get rewards for matching gems and candies in Candy Crush, we gain extra marbles when we hit one from a distance, throwing it with an unmatched accuracy and precision. Knocking out your opponent's marbles out of the circle to make it yours is way better than crushing out virtual candies just to level up for nothing.
Pinoy 90's childhood games
Image Source
And who would forget about slingshots? Back then, we made our own slingshots using two different sturdy wood (forming an x) tied together with a giant strip of rubber. If you're lucky to find a wishbone (y) shaped branch, you are then a subject to envy by your friends. I remember gathering small stones and knocking down a line of cans and old bottles, and the most number of hits wins. It's like Angry Bird but ten times more fun.
Pinoy 90's childhood games
Image Source
And did you know we played DotA too? The only difference is, it didn't involve a mouse or a keyboard and we call it Agawan-base (tigso). We used our feet and hands, and a skill to outrun our opponents to seize their base all the while protecting our own with our lives even if it would cost a scraped knee or a broken bone. The feeling of being so alive chasing and being chased by a playmate trumps the feeling of dominating, owning, or being god-like in any computer game, doesn't it?
Pinoy 90's childhood games
Image Source
I could still name a lot more. But I guess, I really don't have to mention everything because what I'm only trying to say here is, back then WHEN WE HAD NOTHING, WE'VE GOT EVERYTHING. Because we were that creative. And resourceful. And skillful.

It suddenly dawned on me how lucky I am to have my childhood before technology took over. I am reminded of those bruised shins and skinned knees, and an unrivaled friendship which those gadgets can never give. And it could only mean one thing: I had an awesome childhood.
Meet my awesome playmates in the 90's. 20 years after! Yagit kami noon, yagit parin hanggang ngayon.
Ang mga gusgusing bata noon. If we had gadgets to play do you think our friendship will be as tight as this? 

NOW.
I hope the kids nowadays get to experienced what I've experienced during my childhood too. Because judging from what I see everywhere, kids are now so engrossed to those little-key tapping machines. Zombified by the virtual world as a matter of fact, where human interaction is highly unlikely and physical exertion is almost absent. Technology is great. I mean it. But it kills raw creativity. Sure, kids can learn a thing or two interacting with a screen. I must admit, I am guilty of exposing my son to YouTube at an early age that at two he learned how to sing the Russian alphabet fluently. No kidding. He learned the English alphabet and phonics on his own, and I owe that to technology. But the thing is, no matter how educational an app the child is playing on screen, it doesn't embrace holistic learning - where the whole child's body, brain, and senses are involved.

This is to say that we shouldn't take away a child's carefree childhood by giving them a tablet or a smartphone just because we want them to stay-put and behave. This is the reason why as much as possible I make sure that we now steer clear from gadgets. My son isn't tech-savvy compared to the children his age (He's five by the way). I let him play outside and he's got scars almost everywhere in his body. But I wouldn't have it any other way

If being without a gadget allows him to make-do of anything that surrounded him, then let him find his ways, let him be creative. If those bruises will teach him a thing or two about camaraderie and sportsmanship with his playmates, then let him have those ugly dark patches. If wounds will teach him about pain and defeat, and to stand up on his own, then let him bleed. Let him have those scars. Because one day he'll look back. Those scars will remind him of an awesome childhood like I had. :)

9 comments:

  1. Tama kaayo ka jane! Pagnagatapok2 ta kay magsige lang ta ug reminisce. Sige lang ta ug katawa. Mga bata karon pag matigulang kay wala nay maistoryahan.

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    1. Mao jud. Bahalag magkasamad2 basta nagenjoy ta. Lahi ra jud panahon karon. Hala tigulang na jud diay ta. Hahaha

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  2. Ang paborito ko naman e ang syatok (kung tawagin sa ibang lugar e shatong/ shato). Nakakamiss rin ang mga ganitong laro. Nakakapagtaka rin 'pag pinipilit kong intindihin ang mga kabataan ngayon. Noong dati e meron aknog nakitang mga anim na batang naglalaro ng online na basketball. Aba e pwede na silang mag-3-on-3 nang tunay noon e. Nako.

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    1. We call that shatong dito sa Davao. Iba na talaga ang panahon ngayon puro na online at ipad. Mas enjoy talaga noon.

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  3. I was able to play Patintero, Chinese Garter, Tagu-Taguan back then even though my mom don't want us to play outside. Pumupuslit puslit lang. hehe Despite the sweat and dirt we get from playing these games, walang sinabi ang games sa laptop and tablet. :p

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  4. I'm a 90s kid too! I miss those days when we really don't rely on technology that much to make our childhood happy and fun. So proud that I was a part of this era. ♥ Nice blog!

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  5. Natawa naman ako sa name ng blog! :-) Anyway, namiss ko ang tumbang preso dahil sa article mo :-)

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  6. I'm a 90s baby, and I can say I still experienced playing such games; especially agawan base, holen, or even text.

    Maybe at some point, I wish I have the luxuries of having gadgets should they have invented in such era. But heck, I'd still prefer the typical "laro," like the ones you mentioned here.

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  7. I agree with what you said about gadgets and the internet killing human interaction. The internet, though it made communication easier, "disconnected" people. There's no sense of consequence to what you say as you don't see the reactions of the person you're saying mean things to. You say terrible things to people when in fact if that person is in front of you, you won't say that to the person's face because it's hurtful.

    I'll stop as it seems I'm ruining the mood here.hehe. You're lucky to have such an enjoyable childhood. I was the only one on my age group when I was growing up so I was indoors most of the time. I played jackstone in school with my classmates though! And my sister, 6 yrs my junior, and I played board games a lot. And sungka too! I loved playing sungka!

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