Ghetto Games and Penny Candy


Atari Joystick

I am of the firm belief that life was much simpler, back in the day. Imagine this: we subsisted on a diet mainly made up of junk food (our parents never knew we pretty much sold our souls at the neighborhood “candy house”), but it was rare that you ever saw a fat kid. That’s because of all the games we played, long before Atari 2600 (then called the “VCS”) made it into our living rooms. Here’s a quick list of games we played (which kept us OUTSIDE all day–something kids nowadays couldn’t even fathom!) and treats that kept us bouncing off the wall…


– It. No ball, no bat, no glove. Just a bunch of kids running around like chickens with our heads cut off, avoiding that unlucky bastard that just so happened to be, well, “IT”! 😉

– Double Dutch. Girls were SERIOUS about this. So much, in fact, that you could get your ass kicked for jumping in wrong and messing up the flow.

– Strike Out. Got a ball and bat, but only two folks and no playing field? So what?! Play in your backyard and lay waste to your neighbor’s new windows…again! :p

– Hopscotch. Make it to Sky Blue.

– Pitching Pennies. This truly WAS a ghetto game. The funniest thing is that, because we only had pennies, the penalty for losing was usually relegated to a swift kick in the ass. Literally.

– Superman. How the HELL I jumped off the second floor onto concrete and never broke a single bone STILL continues to boggle me.

– Rock Fight. Another game that needed nothing fancy. Just a bunch of rocks and a perfect aim. And, surprisingly, no one ever lost an eye.

– House and Doctor. I won’t even go into details, but if your kids are playing it, you’d better keep a VERY watchful eye out!!!

– New clubhouse. All you needed was the discarded box from a new appliance and an overactive imagination. We used to FIGHT over those empty boxes!!!


– Peppermint with a Dill Pickle. I’ve yet to figure out who came up with this combination, but the girls LOVED it.

– Wine Candies (aka, Jolly Ranchers).

– Boston Baked Beans.

– Cherry Clan.

– Red Hots.

– Hot Tamales.

– Now-and-Laters.

– Jolly Joes.

– Alexander the Grape.

– Mike and Ike.

What games and treats do you remember?


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