I played Cricket Through The Ages as my Dad won a Cricket World Cup

Cricket Through The Ages is an absurd, zany game that kept me sane.
cricket through the ages

As the only person in my immediate family who didn’t get the cricket-playing gene, I’ve largely accepted that cricket is one of those things that I can support with enthusiasm… but participation at a high level is unlikely.

Having recently retired, my Dad has been getting back into outdoor cricket (after a long stint of playing and coaching indoor cricket at an elite level). Before now, in the outdoor sphere, he’d predominantly just play club cricket, heading down to the local to spin a few balls with the blokes.

But all that changed when he started getting selected in representative sides. From regional to state, his bowling talent saw him rise through the ranks before finally getting the honour of being selected in the Australian team.

Last month, Dad competed at the Over 60s World Cup in Chennai, India – representing his country at the highest possible level. In a huge tournament where heat and competition was extremely high, Australia reigned supreme, winning convincingly over England. Not only did Dad get selected in the Team of the Tournament, but he also was awarded Bowler of the Tournament, and MVP for both the semi-final and the grand-final.

And as he did so, I eagerly watched the livestreams while playing Cricket Through The Ages.

>cricket through the ages
Image: Free Lives, 24 Bit Games (PTY) LTD

Cricket Through The Ages, and through the TV screen

You never really get used to watching a family member on TV. Every time Dad graced the screen, my stress levels would rise and I’d get far too into it. Every ball he bowled would have me on the edge of my seat, and I needed a way to ease off some of the adrenaline.

So, to combat this stress, I started playing Cricket Through The Ages – a delightfully silly one-button physics game that lets you whirl balls, bats and even snakes at your opponent as you progress through the historical timeline of cricket. First released on iOS in 2019, the game recently came to Nintendo Switch and Steam.

And boy, did it help take the edge off.

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It’s hard to express the cognitive dissonance between watching a stressful match on the big screen and an absurdist facsimile on the small screen, but the zen it brought me was unmatched. For every ball that Dad didn’t quite land, I could make a silly little character chuck a snake down the pitch. For every six hit off his bowling, I could whack an opponent with a golf club, so he’d land awkwardly on the stumps.

The zany antics these little characters got up to provided ample entertainment whether I was feeling optimistic or concerned for Dad’s performance. I had started to play Cricket Through the Ages as a distraction, but in the end, I found myself playing long after the real games finished, after the stumps were removed, and the pitch covered.

A good innings

Maybe it’s because I never had the skill (or interest, if I’m honest) to play the real game for myself, but even this ridiculously abstract (and objectively insane) version gave me a feeling of unexpected connection – to the game, to my Dad, and to the idea of cricket being something that didn’t leave me feeling like the black sheep of the family.

In the end, I didn’t need to take my frustrations out too much, because Dad played extremely well. But even if he hadn’t, and we’d lost, I wouldn’t feel like any time was wasted. Cricket Through The Ages tempered my nerves, made me laugh, and gave my ADHD brain something to focus on during the long, long hours of each inning.

If nothing else, it made me realise there should be more games that allow players to mindlessly throw snakes at their opponents. Did I mention that my Dad’s nickname with the cricket crew is Snake? Feels fitting.

Steph Panecasio is the Managing Editor of GamesHub. An award-winning culture and games journalist with an interest in all things spooky, she knows a lot about death but not enough about keeping her plants alive. Find her on all platforms as @StephPanecasio for ramblings about Lord of the Rings and her current WIP novel.