Notes from Crew Quarters: Fun and Games
Up here in the frosty North, if we’re not suffering from the wintery temptation to keep warm in blankets and inhale carbohydrates, we might be languishing from the lack of sunlight and over-dependence on SmartWool socks. On the first day of spring, if only for a few minutes, we want to cheer things up by hearing about some of Passages North’s favorite childhood games.
Andrea Wuorenmaa, Associate Nonfiction Editor
I used to play kick the can with all of the kids in my neighborhood. A bunch of us would hide, and whoever was "it" had to try to find players and put them into the jail which was a square of grass around the sewer vent pipe on my front lawn. Eventually, all of us that had been caught were enjoying the sewer pipe party too much and forgot about the prospect of being released from the jail. That's when the game usually faded, even if someone ran by and kicked the can to set us free.
James Dyer, Associate Nonfiction Editor
My best friend and I used to play this game where we'd see who could stare at the sun the longest without looking away. He'd always win. Years later, he would tell me that he cheated every game by closing his eyes. My optometrist's name is John.
Matt Ftacek, Associate Poetry Editor
I remember playing Harvest Moon 64 on the Nintendo 64 and being amazed. The idea that a game could be focused on something other than competition or violence, that it could be about small town life and agriculture, totally blew me away. I spent hours on that game, building my little, virtual farm while my friends were off shooting aliens dead in another game. Good memories.
Annie Bilancini, Associate Fiction Editor
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for Nintendo 64. My younger sister and I bought the official walkthrough from GameStop because we were both too young to make it past Jabu Jabu's stupid belly dungeon without help. My sister was always there because I couldn't play it alone because I would get too anxious. I actually still have Zelda-themed nightmares to this day, and they're only ever in the graphics-style of the N64 games, so that's saying something, I think. When we finally beat the game, the walkthrough magazine had kind of disintegrated.
Jill Harris, Associate Fiction Editor
I loved this computer game called Math Blasters. You had to math aliens away. My tradition was to lie to my elementary school teachers about being sick so I could stay inside and play Math Blasters during P.E. with this girl named Alexis who had this foot disease that required her being in a wagon for a majority of the school year.
Mike Giddings, Associate Fiction Editor
On my block we invented a game called Mine Cart. We strapped a cardboard box to a skateboard with dog leashes and then pushed each other down the street at high speed until the "cart" fell apart. Another favorite was Subway Fishing which involved pulling trash out of the subway grate using kite-string, magnets, and sticky tack. Usually we only caught candy wrappers, bottle caps, and the occasional empty dime-bag (a tiny Ziploc bag; the perfect accessory for a stuffed animal or doll!), but we once reeled in a twenty dollar bill, immediately spent on Skittles and Baby Bottle Pops.