Children’s Game – France

“Well, I used to play this game when I was in primary school so basically like from first grade to about…I dunno. I mean I haven’t played ‘til like I was in fifth grade. And basically it was during recess and we would start playing with our marbles! And uh what we would do, we would have like a fanny pack of our marbles and if you wanted to play with someone you would go see someone who had marbles and you’d say ‘Hey, do you wanna play marbles?’ and if they said yes, then you’d compare each other’s marbles and you’d decide on…well, each of you would decide on one marble that you would want to play and they had to be of equal value. So…I mean, if you had one little one, you’d have to play with another little one and then if you had big ones you had to play with big ones or if you had one really nice one you could play like two for one nice one so there’s this like whole set of rules that you had to follow and basically once you decide you both throw the marbles on the floor and then the point of the game is trying to like flick the marble I guess and make it touch the other one and the person who touches the other marble first wins both marbles. I mean, they win theirs back and they win the other person’s marble. Well, there isn’t an official standard for deciding the value of marbles…I mean, I don’t even remember how I found out, it’s probably like through playing and someone’s like ‘No, that’s not worth this’…I mean there’s like, obviously the big ones are worth more than the little ones but then they have little ones that are made of lead that are really like popular and everyone, like, covets them ‘cause they’re like better for going in a straight line so if the marble is in your direction, you flick it and it probably will go in a straight line and touch the other one so those are really, like, nice marbles to have so yeah there’s not really like a rulebook…you kinda learn through other people. I think this is played in other schools too ‘cause I mean like when I get to middle school and high school I would still remember stuff  and how I would use to play with marbles in recess and I remember talking about this with other people and I’ve even seen it in the movie Amelie…the little kid plays with marbles too. Like, it’s a really popular game in France. I mean I know my brother played when he went…we went to the same school – me and my sister – we all went to the same school and we all played marbles during recess and we all had marbles and we always wanted new ones and I’m sure other kids did it in other schools as well. I know that I started wanting some ‘cause the bigger kids had them and I guess that’s how it’s kept going for a while ‘cause like the bigger kids had them and the smaller, younger kids wanted to be like them and also play and have fun.”

This children’s game helps demonstrate how trends work among children. The younger children would see the older children play with something and would want to be like them so they would want to do the same things the older children are doing including playing the same games. It seems like, except for the lead marbles which are prized for their function and the larger marbles which are prized for their size, the value of the marbles would generally vary from game to game because different players would probably have different aesthetic preferences. It’s interesting that although these marble games are not officially taught by adults, the children already learn to take risks and gamble their possessions.