The Thing With Playing Hard To Get Is…





“Are you ready?”


It’s the Kenyan version of Hide and Go Seek. Brikicho for dummies coming up. You close your eyes and shout “Brikicho!” (pronounced bri-ki-cho. I hope I have helped) while the other kids find good spots to hide all the while responding with “Banture!” every time. After every few brikichos, you ask if the other kids are ready (if they are done finding a place to hide), and if they are, the hunt starts. You look for the hiding kids and when you are sure you have identified someone, you shout their name while running back to the original spot where you were shouting brikicho making sure the kid you identified or any other kid doesn’t get there before you do. Now, one thing you don’t want to do is misidentify someone. When you do, the kids will reveal themselves in a real craze and start shouting “Amevunja nyungu!” (You have broken the pot) to suggest you made the wrong call repeatedly and annoyingly. I remember one time at my cousins place, we exchanged shirts then made sure the guy looking for us got a glimpse of a piece of the shirt! It was hilarious! Anyway once you hear this phrase you know you are done for, because you have to redo your turn!


The object of the game is who can hide the best or who is the best at finding people’s hiding places or who can run faster right? Ok, ok plus having fun. I remember this other time I was playing the Hide and Go Seek version with a childhood friend of mine somewhere in the suburbs. They hadn’t made their bed and I instinctively hid myself inside the pile of blankets and bed covers. It was perfect. Add the fact that I was very tiny, you couldn’t tell there was someone there. My friend came into the room several times, even jumped on the bed but he still couldn’t find me. And at the end of it he gave up! I jumped out majestically! I had proven adept at hiding. He acknowledged.

But can you imagine if he gave up looking for me and stopped playing the game altogether? If he simply resolved that I was too good and he wasn’t interested at the game anymore? Started watching tv or went out for a bike ride or something. Can you imagine being so happy that he hadn’t found me that I get cozy and snooze off. I’d wake up three hours later angry at him. I’d ask why he was watching tv while I was dead asleep. I’d question if he was really my friend. I’d wonder what happened to all the good people, where did the fun times go? And we’d not speak to each other for all of two minutes until I realize he was watching a football game and I’d join him.

But who is really to blame? The one who gave up? Maybe. The one who hid too well? Probably. You see, the game is usually played in open places, but perhaps the most important factor is that the game also has BOUNDARIES as to where you can and cannot hide. You break the rules and the game isn’t as INTERESTING. Those two rules ensures that one cannot hide for long, and therefore making possible the continuity of the game. Another thing is that once you are caught, YOU DON’T CONTINUE HIDING. You now become the person who looks for the other kids and this interchange of hiding and looking is very FUN and EXCITING because you get to experience thrills of both sides of the game. I mean it ISN’T MUCH FUN for one person to keep looking for you or for one person to keep hiding. You would quickly get bored with the game right?

And if you’ve played for a while, you MOVE ON to ANOTHER game or just STOP PLAYING.

A game is only as good as it’s rules, boundaries, it’s ability to make the experience fun and to keep you interested all the while giving hope that you have a chance at winning.

But hey, that’s just me.

Check out this awesome song that will take you down memory lane!


14 thoughts on “The Thing With Playing Hard To Get Is…

  1. Daleen says:

    Loved this! Brilliant analogy, cleverly used and well written. I like it when a writer makes the reader think and does not underestimate his audience intelligence to make the connection

  2. You might enjoy Vernon Scannell’s poem “Hide and Seek” which poses a similar question about the game and a player. I’m not sure if it would violate copyright laws to post it here but you can find it online if you are patient and willing to wade through a lot of online essay writing sites as this is used for students in the IGCSE programme. Or I could send you a link?

    • I found it. It’s rich in meaning that one. I don’t know whether to be happy that the boy won or to be sad because by him winning it brings the aspect of ‘it’s lonely at the top’..
      Awesome poem. Thank you for bringing it my way and for commenting!

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