Place item was collected
North Logan, Utah
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
Connor Idso is a twenty-one year-old friend of mine from high school. He is currently a student at Utah State University and lives in Logan, Utah. He enjoys playing board games with his family and friends, singing, and playing various instruments. He graduated from Sky View High School in Smithfield, Utah and has two siblings, a currently-married older brother and a younger sister.
I interviewed Connor in the front sitting room of his parent’s home two weeks after we had party at my parents house where we played the pterodactyl game. His family was chatting in the kitchen just across the hall. Connor and I have been good friends since high school so we were relaxed. Connor doesn’t remember exactly when he first played the game, though he mentions it was probably in high school. The game was recently reintroduced to his family by his sister-in-law, Mandy, at a family gathering, and they had lots of fun playing it. He said that he would play it with both his family and friends, but not during a formal activity because the game is somewhat loud and obnoxious. He also mentioned that playing with someone who he didn’t like very much would be uncomfortable. As long as you play with people that you’re comfortable with and that you’re not worried about losing your pride, it’s fun. As it is an “anything-goes” type game, Connor explained that the funniest moments are when the screeching becomes ridiculous, like when the screecher flaps their arms like wings or unexpectedly burps.
Pterodactyl is a group game in which you get your family or your friends or whoever you want and you get them all in a big circle and the objective of the game is to get other people to show their teeth. So you have you cover your teeth with your lips like this [he then demonstrated by covering his teeth with his lips]. So, you do that and then each person takes turns either saying pterodactyl or making a pterodactyl screech. If you say “pterodactyl” to the next person in the circle then it just goes on to them, but if they want to turn it around so it goes the opposite direction they do a pterodactyl screech. For example: BAH! [he made a short, squacky screech]. So that would turn it to go to the left instead of the right, or whatever direction you were going. And if you laugh so that you can see your teeth, you’re out. And you just go until everyone’s out. [I then reminded him of a rule that I remember playing with when I first played with him] I like to play it where if you cover your face or you hide yourself so that you can’t see your face then you’re out because that’s totally cheap.
As Connor smiled as he explained the game. We were very comfortable and he even demonstrated a few simple pterodactyl screeches while covering his teeth with his lips. He had a relaxed attitude that showed that he was comfortable explaining the game, but we also laughed at the odd situation of explaining the game without really preparing to play it with others. Playing the actual game can become very loud with laughter and funny screeching from the players. It is a very casual game where people shouldn’t be worried about their self-image.
Introduction to Folklore - ENGL 2210
Semester and year
G6: Elimination Games
Perkes, Tanner, "Pterodactyl Party Game" (2017). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 248.