When I say I’ve been a life-long gamer, I mean it. I’ve been trying to think back to the first game I remember, but I can only narrow the list down to a few possibilities: Hi Ho! Cherry-O!, Cooties, Candy Land, and Chutes and Ladders. Of those, the one closest to my heart is Hi Ho! Cherry-O!
My grandma and grandpa lived on a farm – grandpa was a dairy farmer with 120 acres of land. As a kid, my brothers and I would often visit. In the summer, my brothers would help with some of the crop work – plowing the fields, bailing hay, and loading the hay into the barn. (Clearly, very little farm-lingo stuck to me!)
While my brothers were helping out, I would play by myself – petting calves, chasing the barn cats, crawling around stacks of hay and straw, playing on the tire swing, and exploring the various buildings on the farm.
However, on rainy days, or in the afternoon when I would grow tired of running around, I would dig through grandma’s stash of toys. One of the few games she had was Hi Ho! Cherry-O! Frequently, I would drag it out and coax my grandma into playing with me.
Hi Ho! Cherry-O! is a kids game through and through – I doubt there is much there for an adult beyond spending time with your kid, as I’m sure I would find out if I played it again today.
In the game, you start with a tree full of cherries (10 of them) and an empty pail. The rules say the winner is “The first player to call, ‘Hi-ho! Cherry-o!’ to show that he has ten cherries in his pail.” To move cherries, you spin a spinner to determine your action that turn. The actions could be: moving 1, 2, 3, or 4 cherries from your tree into your pail, moving two cherries from your pail back onto the tree (the dog or the bird spaces on the spinner), or spilling your pail and putting all your cherries back on the tree.
As a kid, I loved putting the cherries on the trees to set up the game. And I loved spinning the spinner – I mean, I think a game could have just been a spinner, and I would have thought it was the best game ever! Of course, I get great joy out of yelling “Hi-ho cherry-o!” to signal my win – any game that requires yelling was tops in my book. I’m sure I made grandma play it with me over and over. I may have even played solo when she was busy.
Today, my specific memories of playing are a bit hazy, but this game evokes so many feelings, that I can’t help but have a profound fondness for it.
What was the first game you remember playing? Share in the comments below, on Facebook or Twitter!