Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Indoor & Outdoor Game - Hide n Seek

When they began sailing across the Atlantic to the New World in the 1600s, British American colonials brought with them memories of games played for centuries in England & on the European continent,  Many of these indoor & outdoor games morphed & changed a bit in the colonies.  Some disappeared, but many others remain today in one form or another.

Hide & Seek can be traced back as far as 2nd Century (BCE) Greece. Julius Pollux apparently described a game called Apodidraskinda, which involved choosing one player who would keep their eyes shut for a set time, and then try to find the other players. But this was a variant of the game where everyone else tried to make their way back to the starting point (with the first person there becoming the new "seeker").  The game was well-established in Elizabethan England, again with slight variations. The game "King By Your Leave," seems to be the same as Apodidraskinda.  In 1572, Richard Huloet described it as: "A playe that children have, where one sytting blyndefolde in the midle, bydeth so tyll the rest have hydden themselves, and then he going to seeke them, if any get his place in the meane space, that same is kynge in his roome."  There are also seem to be 2 references to hide-and-seek-like games in Shakespeare: one in Love's Labors Lost, when Biron says "All hid, all hid; an old infant play," and one in Hamlet, when Hamlet makes a reference to a hide-and-seek-like game called Hide and Fox, when he says "Hide Fox, and All After" (in reference to Polonius' body).

Hide and Seek was played the same as today. Using whatever hiding places are available and the restrictions or limits agreed on by the players, play this ancient child's game. Someone is designated at “it.” Everyone hides. “It” looks for them. Usually, the first one found is “it” the next round although there are many variations.

Different versions of the game are played around the world, under a variety of names.  One derivative in game is called "Sardines", in which only one person hides & the others must find them, hiding with them when they do so. The hiding places become progressively more cramped, like sardines in a tin. The last person to find the hiding group is the loser & subsequently the hider for the next round. This game is best played at night in a big area like a park, or in a dark room or just regular lighting inside as traditional hide & seek is played.

In some versions of the game, after the first player is caught or if not any other players can be found over a period of time, "it" calls out a pre-agreed phrase (such as "Olly olly oxen free", or "All in, All in, Everybody out there all in free") to signal the other hiders to return to base for the next round. In another version, when players are caught they help the "it" seek out others. The original term is "All ye all ye, come for free". Over the years this term has taken on various phrases, the most popular is "Olly olly oxen free."

In one variant, once all hiders have been located, the game then becomes a game of tag where the "it" chases after all the other players & the first person tagged becomes the "it."  In another, the hiders who are found help the "it" track down the remaining hiders, but the first person to be found becomes the next "it."

In some parts of Australia, the game is called "44 Homes". The hiders hide until they are spotted by the seeker, who chants, "Forty, Forty, I see you" (sometimes shortened to "Forty, forty, see you"). Once spotted, the hider must run to "home base" (where the "it" was counting while the other players hid) & touch it before she or he is "tipped" (tagged, or touched) by the seeker. If tagged, that hider becomes the new "it."

In Brazil & Russia, hide-and-seek has an extra step. The "it" starts counting with eyes closed & facing the wall while everyone hides. Once the "it" finds someone, they must race to the spot where the "it" was originally counting & facing the wall & whoever touches that spot first, wins the game. Hide & Go Seek in the dark is another variant that is very self explanatory. Participants play hide & go seek at night in a park or field or in a house at night with the lights off.