New Games

The majority of Earth's six billion people have no idea what this is, so let's explain a bit, hmm?

NewGames were an offshoot of trends of the 1960s: hippies, getting stoned, "make love not war", Vietnam war protests, the start of modern feminism..."the problem is too much testosterone/competitiveness! Even sports are too competitive! We need games where there are no losers!"

A famous one such was "Earthball", where a group of people randomly pushed an enormous (6 foot diameter, IIRC) ball around just for the fun of it, with the ball sometimes seeming to take on a life of its own, like a Ouija puck with many hands on it. I played it with a group of strangers near Big Sur on the beach back when it was new, and it was interesting, fun, different.

Recent quote: "Earthballs; parachutes; aggression-diffusion games; everyone wins; "Play Hard, Play Fair, Nobody Hurt"? Some date New Games to a "Soft War" event conceived by Stewart Brand at San Francisco State. In 1973 Point funded the first New Games Tournament. Vivid memories of the 1976 Whole Earth Jamboree include a canvas-covered Earthball, six feet in diameter, chased across the field or kept aloft by a giggling circle of kickers. We still get mail: "Whatever happened to New Games?" Or, "Do you know where I can buy an Earthball?" We've been mailing back, "Sorry. We don't know either. Let us know what you find out."

The modern "build self-esteem in school children" movement grew out of similar roots (and has been discredited, if you weren't paying attention). NewGames can sometimes be fun, some of them may serve as collaboration-training aids, but it turns out they don't stop war, and they'll "never replace Space War", as the quote famously said (wumpus(6), sixth edition Unix).


Expressing Feelings

Fold a piece of A4 paper in half three times. Unfold and your piece of A4 has been divided into 8 X A7. Think of a feeling, emotion, noun or verb; eg. Shame; Joy; Anger; Peace; War; Solitude; Swimming; Loving. Write one of each at the top of each A7 section. Now, using pencils, draw how each of these words make you feel... Do Not use your intellect or pictures or symbols... Just allow your creativity to express through the medium of the pencil how you feel about this.

What happens when you run out of words, paper, or feelings? Is the game intended for repeated usage, or is it a One-Shot game?


The above is tosh. New Games are collaborative, physical games where there are no winners and losers, only participants.

For example - collaborative tag. Two people are 'it', and run around tagging people, who must then stand still with their legs apart. If someone dives between your legs - you can move again. The game ends when only the taggers can run. With the right number of taggers and the right amount of space, this can go on for some time.

Another - line tag. Players stand shoulder to shoulder in a line and count off by twos. All number ones turn and face the other direction. The player at one end becomes it, and chases the player at the other end. All the other players remain in line, but if the chaser tags someone on the back he takes their place as they become it.

-- BruceAnderson


Several years ago I was a member of a church-based singles group. Every party or dinner I attended eventually devolved to everyone batting a balloon around. At least it beat dodge ball for lack of viciousness. Most junior high church events devolved to playing dodge ball. -- ElizabethWiethoff

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