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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

Player of Games, #90: Flashlight Tag

The tag is out there...

As kids, we would eat sugar all day and then once it was dark, go outside and chase each other through the woods with flashlights. In retrospect, it sounds like a slightly Disneyfied prequel to The Purge movies, or preparation for careers as off-kilter FBI agents seeking aliens. In reality, it was just one more example of the untethered relationship between our generation and the concept of safe play. We were the last analog kids, and sufficient ink has already been spilled on how loosely supervised we were in our free time, how we invented ways to entertain and terrify ourselves without any help from screens or interwebs.

Flashlight tag was just one of the games we invented or inherited that required little or no equipment and carried few if any rules. You only really needed one flashlight, for the hunter, while the idea for the runners was to be as invisible and silent as possible to avoid detection. To repeat, the fundamental premise of this game was to run around blindly in the dark while the one source of illumination was to be avoided at all costs. Yes, people ran into buildings and slipped on ice and fell out of trees and may have blundered into ponds. I don't recall any serious injuries, though I do recall a lot of laughs and a lot of stories, none of which were captured by cell phone cameras or social media. So, as far as you know, they're all true.

Tag. You're it.

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