Tales of playing games in school

This kotaku article made think back to my school days where I go behind the school to trade and play Yugioh and pokemon cards, lunch time was getting my GBA out and sharing it with others till one of the bullies want it to take it from me, and watching the gaming club in College bust out a multiplayer game.
What are some of your gaming stories at school?


I remember the last day of school in the 5th grade when our teacher wheeled in two TVs and let us bring in game consoles to play. Mind you, this was at the height of the N64/PS1 rivalry, so we had one half of the class playing/watching Tekken and the other half playing/watching Goldeneye. The Nintendo kids stayed on their side of the room and the Sony kids stayed on theirs. Never before had I seen the console wars play out in the real world, but there it was.

In conclusion, N64 rules, PS1 drools.

EDIT: Not sure if this counts, but I also totally brought my DS to my university graduation and played Mario Kart DS for 2 hours while an ancient “captain of industry” lectured us about “achieving our dreams”. Graduation speeches are the worst.


I was obsessed with my Game Boy Color (and later, my Game Boy Advance especially) when I was in school. If I thought about it, I could probably come up with a handful of actually nice little stories, but this is the only one I can think of:

In the American Midwest, our winters get very cold for a few months. In January and February, you might be lucky if it ever goes above 10°F / -12°C. On days where the temperature (or temperature after wind chill) fell below 0°F / -18°C, we’d be kept inside during recess. These were THE BEST for me, because I had an excuse to dig back into Pokemon. So one time, it just so happened that we had indoor recess on the day that I was about to face Articuno, the legendary ice-bird Pokemon. Fitting. In about a minute or so I whittled it down to 1 HP, paralyzed it, and started chucking a barrage of Ultra Balls. One of my friends came over, and had no idea that a Pokemon like Articuno even existed. We were probably like 6 or 7 years old at the time - so he got really excited about it, and that drew over another friend, which led to another friend stopping over, and eventually I had a crowd of probably 10 people watching me repeatedly try and fail to catch this legendary Pokemon. Recess only lasted 15 minutes, though, and 15 minutes is easily a short enough stretch of time to get bodied by RNG. I didn’t end up catching Articuno, which was really upsetting to the 1st Grade version of me “performing” for half of his class.

When recess ended, I left my Game Boy powered on and stuffed it in my desk. Obviously this did not work out; my battery would die long before classes wrapped up for the day. It was a long bus ride home that day.


We played so much Mario Kart Advance in secondary school, it completely took over breaktimes for months on end. I recall one time I was playing under the desk during a music lesson (we had desks with keyboard shelves underneath them) with my friend next to me watching intently while other people were taking turns to perform the piece they had worked on.

After a bit I guess my teacher noticed and he asked us what we were looking at - thankfully my friend made the quick save by saying that I was demonstrating the melody to him that I’d been working on. Teacher bought it and I was able to finish the GP once regular business had resumed.

(For the record music was one of my favourite subjects, it was less a case of me being negligent in class and more that I didn’t just want to sit on my hands for half an hour while listening to each person doing their short performance.)

I guess that need to keep myself busy never really ended - we had a couple of lecturers in uni who were notoriously slow (even by my standards as a very slow writer), so I would bring in the DS and play Advance Wars or Pokémon while listening to the lecture and then I’d stop every so often to copy the notes down and catch up to where they were currently at. Didn’t have a smart phone until after uni so the handheld was perfect for that.

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I played a LOT of Puzzle Quest in my Biology 101 class… it was one of those gen-ed huge lecture hall style courses where there were over 100 students, so as long as you weren’t causing a disturbance, nobody pretended to care whether you were actually paying attention or not.

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In elementary school I owned the playground playing the Pokemon TCG. No one could top me. We made up our own rules though so it’s not like it mattered, lol. There was such an allure to that game because it was a combination of pokemon reaching a fever pitch and it quickly becoming taboo at schools. Our vice principle told us that there was a shredder exclusively for shredding pokemon cards. Of course, there’s no way that was the case because our parents would lose their collective shit, but it was enough to scare a lot of the kids at the time.

In middle school we all played Runescape, Line Rider, the usuals. There was one day I brought a GameCube to play Melee, which was fun.

High-school I had the same off period as a few friends, which is when we’d all bring our PSPs to play Dissidia and Monster Hunter. Very nostalgic times for me.

In college I didn’t play games during class, but I’d actually warm up before a lesson with Super Hexagon or Tetris. It really helped to wake me up and get my brain running. College is when I had the most time to play videogames ever, though.

We were supposed to have a biology teacher for our senior year of high school but no one filled the position so we just kept get substitutes that could not control our class. Eventually we got a teacher that would teach for 20 minutes and the rest of class time was open to whatever we wanted to do. So someone brought in their 360 and we played Fight Night and Halo for the rest of class until someone from the school office told us to cut it out. Which was a bad idea because it quickly went to chaos as paper ball fights and actual real fights started happening.

In elementary school there was a brief period of time where everyone had the Pikachu Tamagotchi toy and P.E. was just a bunch of kids running or walking around shaking the living crap out of the thing since thats how you progressed. It was banned fairly quickly.

I still say the N64 had the best controller I’ve ever seen and I will fight anyone on this.

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Oh man pokemon during recess was such a big part of school. There’s one instance I remember pretty well where me and another kid were playing our games, they on their brick gameboy and me on my gameboy colour. They got to rock tunnel and I wasn’t there in my copy, so we traded gameboys for a few minutes so they could see where they were going without needing flash.


I have no idea how this happened or why the school let it continue once they found out, but when I was in the 11th grade, someone in my high school installed Team Fortress Classic on all of the computers in one of our computer rooms. Recess was usually not long enough for a game, so we ended up missing a lot of classes from that day on - which was pretty OK, because I was quickly running out of patience for my Bible* and lit teachers.

*And yes, we do have Bible classes in regular school, because I live in an incredibly progressive country.

Not just 15 mins ago in my Civil War History class, the dude in front of me was engaged in an intense game of Civ 5. Literally had enemies on all fronts. The best part was when he would strategically tab to his “notes” window when the professor made her way around the lecture hall.

used to bring my VMU to PE and play snake with the TrickStyle save. pocket snake baby hell yea

When I was in High School someone got their hands on a copy of Counter-Strike that downloaded the game into RAM and then deleted it when it closed so we could get around our school’s strict rules regarding putting stuff on the computers in the labs. It was sketchy, but it worked.

We played a loooot of Counter-Strike when we should have been paying attention in class. I don’t know if this was just my school’s general shitty authoritarianism that kind of started after an administrative change in my last year or was directly our fault, but in my last semester the school put a new security system on the computers. It banned running any .exe files that weren’t on a short whitelist of specific apps and programs.

I’ve always felt bad that I may have had a hand in barring other kids from playing games in class.

It was a lot of flash games for us! Took some painfully dull 3D design and robotics classes back in middle school and we would speed through our assignments and just play massive amounts of 8-ball Pool on miniclip or whatever gory inappropriate shit popped up on newgrounds that day.

Also have great memories of a close friend of mine and I playing the surprisingly good iOS version of Call of Duty’s Nazi Zombies on my old iPod Touch in study hall. We would take turns each wave and it got really heated trying to focus and simultaneously not make a scene in the back of this completely silent classroom full of kids actually trying to get work done. Huh, maybe school was alright.

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I remember that the final few days of school at the end of high school were pretty much free for alls, since everyone had completed finals and AP exams and were essentially waiting to graduate. As such, I brought in my DS and played a BUNDLE of Pokémon Diamond for several days. It was pretty excellent having a bunch of fake classes where I could play games during the first days of summer.

Oh boy, I have a bunch of these stories.

Myself and some friends put a bunch of NES games and an emulator into our school network accounts and would play NES games during Computer Science class after finishing the work. At one point, our teacher ended up throwing a fit about the games and vowed that “the person spreading these games” would be held responsible. That was mostly me. The next class period, she started the class by saying “The person who was spreading all those ROMs was caught and severely punished, so I highly suggest any of you who still have those games should delete them now instead of risking getting caught the same way.” Like half the class looked at me, sitting there, and I shook my head, since, obviously, I hadn’t actually been punished or even talked to. After the class, we even tried to figure out if somehow she’d messed up and pinned blame on someone else, but as far as we could tell, the whole story of someone being punished was just an obvious lie. A real mistake by that teacher, because she basically completely undermined her own authority from that point forward.

I was in an Electronics class in HS where the lab had a full set of PCs. We played a bunch of things on them, to the point that IT noticed. The PCs were due to be replaced, and when they did, the new computers were very much locked down to try to prevent what we had been doing. But by this time, enough of us knew PCs well enough that we brought in partitioning software, shrunk the existing volumes, created a new partition on the drives, and installed a second OS on those PCs. We made the bootloader wait only 1s, so you had to know the bootloader was coming and be jamming on the key to skip the automatic boot to the school-approved OS, but that allowed us to boot to the secondary OS and have a bunch of drive space to install games onto. Mostly, we used these to play Counterstrike between PCs in the lab.

My senior year was the year the Xbox came out. I was also in Academic Decathalon, which at our school had an actual class with credit component to it. After we wrapped up our competition, that class was basically free time for us. Around the same time, the district was trying to roll out putting TVs with laptop connectors into all the classes so that teachers could use the TVs for video presentations, for projecting stuff from their laptops, etc. That also meant that the classroom had a TV we could use to play Xbox. In addition, several kids in that class were friendly-ish with the school’s physics teacher, who was a bit of a luddite and hated having to have that TV in his classroom. So we happily struck a deal to take his TV cart and put it with the other. This allowed us to put the two carts back to back, bring in 2 different Xboxes, and play 8 player Halo 1 via system link. The teacher of that class even played with us a few times.

And another story I wasn’t actually involved in, but one of the times where games in class really pushed things sideways. I was in a lit class in college around 2006 where, naturally for the time period, a bunch of students came in and would take notes on their laptop instead of on paper. During one class, the professor stopped and explained that, from now on, laptops would be banned except for anyone who had an accessibility need to use the laptop for note-taking, because the TAs had spotted like 10 different people in the class who were playing World of Warcraft during lecture.

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Our high school comp sci teacher let us play Gang Garrison on LAN if we finished our work and it was all pretty easy so everyone was done by about 30 mins in.

That game with a lot of people is a ton of fun.

Repeatably made efforts to smuggle in only game I knew would run on school computers: Blitz Sonic, the Sonic the Hedgehog fanmade… engine, I guess, it played levels people made, but you had to quit out and rename the files to change levels and such. Not exactly a full game. It was a crude thing when I was playing, and levels ranged from extremely simple textured surfaces with Mr Unsmiley in the background to some geninely great stuff with multiple routes, level specific mechanics, brill setpeice objects and all that. I think it’s still around in various places these days, might have to check up on it.

For some reason it was a requirement to bring floppy disks to my school so naturally i had all mine full of emulators and games (a gameboy emu with pokemon red thru crystal and a SNES with 7th Saga (bad game) and FF4 being the only ones I remember).
A couple years later they got rid of the floppys but there was a hidden folder on the network that only True Gs knew how to access that had a romhack of Mario Bros with Mario replaced by Kyle from South Park. That was the only Mario i played up until Odyssey, actually

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