The Concentration Game


This piece is about a childhood hand game called the Concentration Game where it is important to generate new things and not repeat what their opponent has said before.

Main Piece:

“L: Have you ever heard of the concentration game?

M: How do you play?

L: So you and a partner are doing almost like the patty-cake, like, right to right, left to left, then both, hand clapping. While you’re doing it you’re saying a rhyme.

M: How does the rhyme go?

L: The rhyme starts off, well it’s not totally a rhyme, it’s just how the game starts. You say together – Concentration, 64, no repeats or hesitations. One person says – I’ll go first and then the person says – And I will follow. And then you both say Category is anything.

M: Can it be anything or do you choose things specific?

L: I’ve always played that you have it as anything and then just name things. And it’s harder when you’re thinking of everything and not just one category because you get stuck on the thing the person said before you or what was said last.

M: Can you give me an example of what you would say?

L: Boat. A boat.

M: So you would say boat and the next person would say anything?

L: Yeah anything else like cow.

M: How do you lose?

L: You hesitate or repeat. No repeat or hesitations.

M: How long does the game go for?

L: With my friends not very long. Like less than ten seconds.

M: Do you know why it’s called 64?

L: No. That’s just what it’s called.”


The informant is a 13 year old girl who is a military brat and has lived in Kansas, Virginia, and Germany. She is currently a middle-schooler in 8th grade and learned this game in elementary school. Currently she lives in Arlington, VA and attends HB Woodlawn since 6th grade. She was introduced to this game by one of her close friends, but she can’t remember exactly what age or when. She says it has been a staple of their free time for many years.


The concentration game is a hand game that I think a lot of children learn at a young age. In other variations, there is a specific category that is chosen that things must be named from. I think this game is popular with children because it is easy to remember and easy to play either for long periods of time or short periods of time. I think the game also helps improve memory and promotes creative thinking. You have to constantly remember what you said before, and remember what the other person said so that there is no repetitions. The creative thinking aspect comes into play with the “no hesitations” part, having to constantly create new things on the spot. In that way, I can understand why an “everything” category can be tricky and mix up the players. Sometimes too many options can be overwhelming and the topic gets stuck no matter what.