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Sixteen years old and never played conkers. Didn’t even know it was a game, far less that we are in the middle of the season. If it was on Sky Sports 2, he’d know. Indeed, if there was a version of conkers for the X-Box, I think my boy would try it and maybe even like it.

Mind you, that would hurt me. Financially, I mean. You see, he plays a lot of Pro Evolution Soccer on the X-Box. That game encourages the purchase of bonus points from Microsoft, which in turn allow the purchase of star players for your team. Digital galacticos. Online conkers could cause another crack in my bank card if the boy got interested enough in the game to start approaching me for funds to buy a “fifteen-er”.

It is quite conceivable that conkers could work as a console game. It has the requisite violence (if you ever took a sore one across the knuckles of your hand, you’ll know what I mean), it has proper tournaments (no, really) and it is riven with cheating (did you ever soak your conker in vinegar, or bake it, to make it harder?).

Perhaps kids are just too cool these days. Certainly, an urban kid would have to consider the damage to his street reputation were he to be spotted under a horse chestnut tree rooting around for the perfect contender.

We could make it popular again among young boys by highlighting the dangers of conkers: breaking a knuckle or losing an eye or (if allergic to nuts) the possibility of a mild rash, which the rashee could proudly claim to be a form of anaphylactic shock.

I think, that as we roll into autumn, it’s a shame that it is not only the season which has changed.


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