Children's Blood-Letting Game?
July 28, 2008 10:25 AM   Subscribe

A friend of mine is completely convinced that there used to be a children's game which actually pricked a child's finger and drew blood.

This came up because I always had the vague and ridiculous impression that the game Operation actually gave the player a small shock. I've searched for evidence of this completely unlikely blood-letting game, and of course came up with nothing. But "children" "prick" and "game" are not exactly promising search words. Does this sound familiar to anyone?
posted by thegreatfleecircus to Grab Bag (19 answers total)
 
I don't know about a children's game, but it used to be a common elementary/middle school 'science project' ...
posted by Comrade_robot at 10:28 AM on July 28, 2008


I would suggest I Vant To Bite Your Finger.
posted by robself at 10:29 AM on July 28, 2008


Maybe your friend is remembering elementary school science class? When I was a kid in the 70s, we all pricked our fingers at school to do blood-typing experiments.
posted by amyms at 10:29 AM on July 28, 2008


A children's game like something you bought? Never heard of that.

I've definitely heard of kids deciding to be "blood brothers," by pricking their fingers and smearing the blood together.

I've also seen some 50-60's kids' science books which, among other "dangerous" things they'd never get away with today, instructed kids to prick themselves to examine the blood under a microscope.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:32 AM on July 28, 2008


I also thought "blood brothers". Not a game, but definitely a ritual while I was growing up.
posted by crickets at 10:36 AM on July 28, 2008


Also thought blood brothers/sisters here.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:40 AM on July 28, 2008


Bloody knuckles? It's played by flicking nickels over a tabletop at somebody's fingers-- so definitely the bloodletting aspect, if not the finger-pricking.
posted by Bardolph at 10:42 AM on July 28, 2008


Or the version of bloody knuckles that I've always heard of where you punch each other in the knuckles until someone bleeds.
posted by theichibun at 10:55 AM on July 28, 2008


My guess is that robself has it and he's misremembering "I Vant To Bite Your Finger". You'd stick your finger in the vampire's mouth and it would "bite" you, leaving two red felt-tip marker dots on your finger.
posted by Justinian at 11:07 AM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


another version of bloody knuckles from my junior high school days - hitting people's knuckles with a deck of cards if they lost the round (I don't remember how the card game went though)

Goodness, children are savages aren't they?!
posted by Julnyes at 11:11 AM on July 28, 2008


I also remember playing blood sisters/brothers, early 80s, usually late-night at slumber parties, but not necessarily so.
posted by vincele at 11:11 AM on July 28, 2008


There is a gimmicky game called Kerplunk that I played as a kid, and which is still around. It involves a lot of needlessly pointy sticks (less pointy now than they used to be), although in my recollection, these were used mostly to poke kids' eyes out, not draw blood.
posted by adamrice at 11:15 AM on July 28, 2008


I can see that sort of thing being in an old school science set.
posted by NormandyJack at 11:18 AM on July 28, 2008


My guess is that robself has it and he's misremembering "I Vant To Bite Your Finger".

Ah yes, probably best to point out that there was as much actual blood in IVtByF as there were shocks in Operation. All the excitement of sticking your finger into a hole and not knowing what would happen, though. Oh, the antici............pation.
posted by robself at 11:36 AM on July 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


another version of bloody knuckles from my junior high school days - hitting people's knuckles with a deck of cards if they lost the round (I don't remember how the card game went though)

I played that game as a kid, too, and I can't remember anything about the name or how to play it, either. Funny how pain tends to focus you attention (and memories).

That and "blood brothers" are the only things I can remember from childhood that had anything to do with deliberate blood-letting.
posted by tommasz at 11:53 AM on July 28, 2008


Definitely blood-siblings but I don't remember an official, marketed game in the 1960s/early 70s.

(I had an early version of Operation as a kid, and I recall a vibrating sensation in the "scalpel" as well as a buzzer. I remember running across a later version of the game and thinking it was too tame.)
posted by PatoPata at 12:50 PM on July 28, 2008


Bloody knuckles was where you held a comb between your fists and the other guy would try and grab it and hit your hands with it hard enough to draw blood, you were trying to move your fists fast enough to avoid the *smack*.
posted by zengargoyle at 1:42 PM on July 28, 2008


I haven't confirmed it with my friend, but I bet it's I Vant To Bite Your Finger! Thanks!
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 2:41 PM on July 28, 2008


There was a musical-instrument store near where I lived when I was a kid in the early 70s. I used to go there once a week for piano lessons. I always noticed this little figurine of a clown, way up on top of a tall cabinet. One day, I asked the owner what it was.

He said, "Do you really want to know, kid?"

I said yes. He sighed, got out a ladder, propped it up against the cabinet, climbed up and grabbed the figurine. He climbed down with it and set it on the counter, by the cash register.

Looking at it up close, I could see that the clown was standing on a broad plastic base. Next to him was a raised platform with a red "panic" button on top.

"What happens if you press the button?" I asked.

"Try it and see," the owner said.

So I pressed the button, just for a second. I heard a motor start up, but as-soon-as I released the button, the motor stopped. I pressed the button again, this time holding it down longer. The motor started up again, and the clown started to move. I was so surprised, I released the button. The motor stopped. The clown went still.

Fascinated, I pressed the button again, determined to keep it pressed until the clown did whatever he was built to do. As I held my finder down, the clown slowly turned towards me. Then he raised his arm up.

Suddenly he brought his hand down SLAP on my finger.

It really hurt. I was only about six, and I remember being caught in the strange state in which I sort of wanted to cry. But I didn't, because I was so outraged that this grown man -- the store owner (now laughing hysterically) -- had played this prank on a little kid. And I was also thinking, "How can I get a clown like that?"

I still want one.
posted by grumblebee at 6:29 PM on July 28, 2008 [11 favorites]


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