Prior to the advent of video games and “virtual reality” the youth of cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, etc., relied on their creativity, “reality” and the inner city environment to produce a complement of games that were unique and specific to the inner city life. The rules and the names of these inner city street games could vary from city to city, (such as Ring-a-leevio vs. Ringolevio) but in concept they remained broadly consistent.
This compendium is dedicated to all those who, as youngsters, lived and played in city neighborhoods and the surrounding suburbs and participated in the wide array of inner city street games. Some of the games were seasonal; some were more ritual and yet others were more activities or traditional fun pastimes and were played at any time of the year. Not all were played actually in the street. “Stoops”, sidewalks, curbs and sides of buildings, alley ways, school gymnasiums, vacant lots, building hallways and city parks were also required settings for some of the games. For many of the games a key requirement was the “spaldeen” (or “pinky”) described in greater detail in the book. Additionally there were many other creative “props” and equipment, and unlike the virtual reality of today’s hi-tech pastimes, the inner city street games were actual, real world and three dimensional happenings which required active participation and varied skills and agility. Volume one of this compendium describes the inner city games in terms of their setting, rules, objectives, props, and seasonality and in some instances alternative names are provided.