Games We Used to Play

Amazing how few toys and games were available for kids of the 60’s. Unlike today, we had very little with which to play. Maybe that’s why we were far more active back then as opposed to today’s kids whose thumbs get the biggest workout. A couch potato back then was simply a leftover Lays Potato Chip that dropped between the cushions of the couch.

We played a lot of ball, rode our bikes anywhere/anytime, and could walk into town unimpeded. Granted, times have changed with the security concerns, but let’s take that off the table for the time being and go back to those more innocent times.

Some big name games from the past were:

Monopoly: There was only one Monopoly game growing up. Never saw the appeal of the game. Took too long to finish…plus I ended up broke and in jail every time I played. I didn’t do anything and I served time in jail? Seemed too much like school so I bailed on that game.

Today there are five versions of Monopoly on the shelves at Toys “R” Us, while Amazon has Simpsons, Star Wars, James Bond, Godfather, and countless other varieties in the “collectible version” category. Yes, Monopoly has its own monopoly on board games.

Trouble: Remember that – the Pop-O-Matic game? We went through three of those because in our excitement, the Pop-O-Matic plastic bubble would break. No bubble, no Trouble.

Battleship: One version is now electronic as it has been for sometime. Where was that version when I needed it? Would have saved me the embarrassment of making very poor explosion sounds which negated the joy of blowing up my buddies’ ships.

Simon: Has anybody out there ever beat this thing? I think the best I ever achieved was Gomer level one – seven signals, before I vapor locked and called it a day.

The Game of Life: Four versions at Toys “R” Us. Played it once in my life and was so bored, I thought it would be the death of me.

Scrabble: Too mature for me. So I scrammed when it came to Scrabble.

Sorry: Sorry I ever bought it. Pretty to look at, boring to play.

Operation: I made a lousy doctor because I never had patience.

Mouse Trap: It always looked great in those commercials, but once you played it at home it would get stuck halfway through the maze. Never worked properly and we eventually scavenged the game for parts.

Candy Land: Usually played with Grandma. If I dared play it with anybody in my neighborhood I’d get beaten up.

Twister: Loved playing that game. Particularly when I cheated with a pretty and limber girl.

Coleco Table Hockey: A great neighborhood game! We had leagues, stats and playoffs. The only problem was that the board would warp and rendered useless after you played…oh…2000 games on it.

Knock Hockey: They should have called this game “Knock Your Knuckles and Get Band-Aids for the Blood.” Still it was fun. Mainly because I was really good at it.

Besides the usual ball games, the boys played Hide and Seek, Tag, and King of the Mountain, while the girls played Pensy Pinky, Jacks, Jump Rope, and Lincoln Logs.

Objects of Desire That We Soon Retired

Slinky: I tired of this nut-job of a toy before the thing even made it down its first flight of steps.

Super Balls: I must have had six or seven of those ‘maniacal’ balls, all of which bounced away to who knows where. I think the name came from the inventor who might have had the following chat with his assistant:

“Okay…where’d that other crazy ball go to?”

“Well, ummm…it bounced away, sir.


“I lost it. Again.”


Play-Doh: Talk about a smell that’ll bring you back to your childhood, besides poopy diapers.

G.I. Joe action figures: Loved my ‘Joes’…had two of them but the figures never seemed realistic with those oversized, rubberized brown fishing boots.

Silly Putty: Oh so nutty. Its claim to fame was you could lift images off of comics and newspapers and stretch or widen the faces to ridiculous proportions. All well and good until our dog ate the Silly Putty and left ridiculous creamy portions all over the house.

Yo-Yo’s: Never got the hang of them.

I guess I was lucky and maybe even spoiled, but at least I got out and about with my toys and games. Games used to be interactive, social experiences. The memories around the games are richer because of the people I played them with.

The biggest lessons learned from those childhood games were sportsmanship and that there were winners and losers. Not everybody was going to get a medal for just participating. The games caused us to turn off the TV and maybe get outside, and certainly use more than just our thumbs for entertainment.

What were some of your favorite games while growing up? I’d love to hear about them.


  1. Your feelings about each game are my exact feelings about them as well Tom. I had all those games on the top shelf of my closet. Rarely brought them down for the very same reasons. Also like you, it was Twister I hoped to play with a little cutie. Have we perhaps become like what we heard and therefore perceived from our parents when they grew up? If so, that kind of makes me happy. As little as our parents claimed to have had, there always seemed to be something special about their time and how they grew up. I know I/we had a whole lot more than my/our parents. It seems though that we had less than what the kids have today,perhaps in quantity and technology, but, with less…we had so much more!

    Be well Tom,

    1. Hey Mark,

      This is what I was talking about last night when I mentioned I would reply. Again, thanks so much for reading the articles and commenting on them. And your comments here are very meaningful.
      Regarding our parents, sometimes “we mock what we are to be.” I forget who that quote is attributed to, but it looks like for both of us it turned out very well if indeed that’s the case.

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