The idea of any holiday gathering, as far as I am concerned, is to bring people together in a fun and friendly way. This is exactly what New Games does.They are great holiday party games. Rather relying on alcohol or other intoxicants to relax people, which can possibly bring about unwanted results from those who overdo it, New Games are fun and funny, giving people the opportunity to have a fun time and enjoy each other’s company in imaginative ways while they remain lucid and respectful of each other.
This happens because the games have players do some unusual things that lead to unexpected joyful responses. For instance, when people pass the sound “Zoom” (from the ‘game with the same name) from person to person and somebody messes up, such as forgetting to pass the zoom, everyone laughs, including the person who messed up. It’s easy to notice that people are laughing with you, not at you. That creates an atmosphere where it’s not only OK to make a mistake, it also always contributes to the group having fun. Once people realize that the emphasis is on having fun, and not winning – even when there is competition – everyone can relax and have fun.
Since the rules are only a starting point for play, people can play with the rules to make the game more fun. Again using the example of the game “Zoom,” mentally challenged people in South Africa changed the sound during the game to “Soen,” which, so they told me later, meant “kiss!” And when we apply brakes, which reverses the direction of the sound zoom, occasionally someone will do like they did in the workshop in Madison, Wisconsin, and change the zoom to “mooz,” thereby not only reversing the direction the zoom is being passed but also the spelling of zoom. What I really love about New Games is that though I’ve presented and played them hundreds of times, nearly every time someone comes up with a humorous way to change a game that I’ve never seen before. This stimulates creativity in people’s minds, and studies show that this often carries over to other aspects of the lives of participants.
This is very unlike most party games that have fixed rules and single out and embarrass a person who makes a mistake. While it may be entertaining for the people who don’t mess up, it is often uncomfortable and a negative experience for the one who is the butt of the joke. If that happens to be you, you know how unpleasant that can be. Who needs that? We all get enough negative messages about ourselves already.
New Games never single you our for ridicule. Instead, they create a fun, relaxed, imaginative atmosphere where you not only grow closer to the people you love, but also to those who you don’t know so well or are even not so fond of. While it may not result in a deep friendship, it will result in a more tolerant, respectful attitude towards each other. It’s hard to hold a grudge when you are laughing and having fun together.
What more can you ask of a party game?