Hide and Seek

  • Hide-and-seek or hide-and-go-seek is a variant of the game tag, in which a number of players conceal themselves in the environment, to be found by one or more seekers.
  • An early example of the game is known in Ancient Greek under the name apodidraskinda (ἀποδιδρασκίνδα).
  • This is described by the 2nd century Greek writer Julius Pollux. Also a fresco found in Herculaneum depicts cupids playing hide and seek (see below).
  • Numerous variants of the game can be found around the world. In some variations players may move to other hiding spots while the seeker, generally known as "it", is not looking, and those who can remain hidden the longest are considered to be the best players.
  • In the normal variant, "it" counts to a number that was designated before the game started. Once "it" reaches that number he or she yells "Come out, come out wherever you are!" and then starts searching for the players who have hidden. When "it" finds a player, "it" will generally say something along the lines of, "I see you (player), you are hidden in (hiding place)," so that the player will know he or she has been spotted. The first person "it" finds will become "it" in the next round. But "it" continues searching for other players until all the players are found. The last person found doesn't get any prize or reward but it is accepted that he or she has the best hiding place. If "it" gives up, he or she can yell "Olly olly oxen free!" and the players will come out of their hiding places, a new round will ensue with the same "it", and the players may or may not choose the same hiding place.



Children take a particular pleasure in hiding, not because they will be found in the end, but by the very act of hiding, of being concealed in a laundry basket or a cabinet, of curling up in the corner of an attic to the point of almost disappearing. There is an incomparable joy, a special excitement that children are unwilling to renounce for any reason. This childlike excitement is the source of both Robert Walser’s voluptuous pleasure in securing the conditions of his illegibility (the micrograms) and Walter Benjamin’s stubborn desire to go unrecognized. This pleasure and this desire are the guardians of the solitary glory revealed to children in their secret lairs. For the poet celebrates his triumph in nonrecognition, just like the child discovers the genius loci of hiding place with trepidation.


Giorgio Agamben, Profanations