Articles

New Games for Holiday Parties and Gatherings: Christmas, Hannukkah, Kwanza, New Years, more!

New Games for Holiday Parties and Gatherings:  Christmas, Hannukkah, Kwanza, New Years, more!

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...

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Parachute Games: Fun for Everyone

Parachute Games: Fun for Everyone

Some people still think when I mention parachute games that it refers to jumping out of an airplane and doing tricks in the air while descending to the earth. It does not (that’s sky diving). Most people nowadays know that playing parachute games means doing different games with a parachute ON THE GROUND. Besides being attractive – a play parachute creates a spectacle of color and movement – and fun, there are many excellent reasons for introducing and participating in parachute play. A large parachute, 24 -26 feet, can involve a group about the size of school class. Smaller...

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The Return of Cooperative Games (Part 5) Over the years

The Return of Cooperative Games (Part 5) Over the years

New Games over the years From the beginning we knew that we had a way of relating to each other, an idea of fun and inclusion that was different than the norm of all-out competition where the winner takes all, gets the accolades, and takes home the trophy. This is still the dominant theme in physical games. With New Games, the winner doesn’t matter and just helps start the next game while we keep on playing. Often times, people such as a little kid, older woman, or another unlikely candidate “win” a game when they had never had done so before, which is both surprising and moving for...

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The Return of Cooperative New Games (Part 2)

The Return of Cooperative New Games (Part 2)

Where did New Games come from? In brief, New Games started as an idea of Stewart Brand, creator of the Whole Earth Catalog, in reaction to the Vietnam War. He felt that combat was getting abstract and remote. Stewart was looking for ways for people to channel and express their aggressive tendencies in ways that wouldn’t harm others. When the War Resisters League at San Francisco State College requested him to put on an event to demonstrate the uselessness of war, Stewart chose to create an event which, instead of preaching to the choir, would get people to understand war by experiencing the...

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Earthball. Earthball? Earthball!

Earthball. Earthball? Earthball!

Many are the times I’ve said very definitely that New Games are not about equipment, they’re about people interacting and having fun together. New Games DO NOT REQUIRE equipment. We can have a great time with little or no equipment. No balls, bats, hoops, or anything. This works well, especially with a group that is assembled for a purpose. However, there are times when a piece of eye catching equipment can be very useful. Enter the Earthball. When at a festival or exposition or some place where there is in no way a captive audience, something eye catching is needed. At these times, it...

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The Return of Cooperative New Games (Part 1)

The Return of Cooperative New Games (Part 1)

What are New Games? For some of us, cooperative New Games never went away. We just kept right on doing them since their introduction in the early 1970’s. For others who have come along since then, they may still not know what New Games are. “Oh, you mean computer games.” Um. No. “Oh, you mean non-competitive games.” Still, no. Simply stated, New Games are cooperative group interactive games that are played just for fun, even when there is competition. Since it doesn’t matter who wins, we can include everyone, those of all ages, sizes, abilities, and both genders. You can be slow,...

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The Return of Cooperative Games (Part 4) – Trust Games

The Return of Cooperative Games (Part 4) – Trust Games

Trust Games and Creative Play In addition to the element of softwar, which has become a minor part of New Games, the concept of “creative play” came from a friend of Stewart’s named George Leonard, author of the book The Ultimate Athlete. What was involved here was placing a player “in an open environment and encouraged to use his/her imagination to devise new play forms.” The vitally significant part of this was “How we play the game may turn out to be more important than we imagine, for it signifies our way of being in the world.” Thus, players not only were able to change the...

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The Return of Cooperative New Games (Part 6)

The Return of Cooperative New Games (Part 6)

New Games relevance today How, you may ask, are New Games relevant now? Aren’t they from the touchy feely times? Aren’t they in fact now Old Games? From the way I see it, they are even more important now than when they started. New Games are not only a model of cooperation of how we can play together, but show how we can live together. With the challenges facing us today and in the future, I believe it is imperative that we learn how to work together to save the planet and, ultimately, ourselves from disaster. Cooperative New Games are one great way to learn how to be together...

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Old Games, New Games

Old New Games? Rediscovery of the New Games Slide Show, 1976 Imagine my surprise reading an email from John La Rue saying that he had a copy of the New Games Slide Show, made in 1976 and presumably lost, forgotten, or both. Well, in my experience, anyway. Watching it again I realized that it had captured a lot of what New Games was, and is, about. And featuring a lot of people who helped create New Games. If that’s not interesting to you, you can skip to the slide show itself on John La Rue’s web site at: http://www.back2basicplay.org/new-games.php Once you get there, just scroll down...

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The Return of Cooperative New Games (Part 3) – Earthball

The Return of Cooperative New Games (Part 3) – Earthball

In part 3 I talked about the emergence of the game ‘Slaughter’, an energetic game that included the use of 4 balls. Another game that came out of that day was competition Earthball, which was similar to soccer, except that the ball was 6 feet in diameter, canvas and rubber, and painted like a globe. After the ball was inflated, without choosing teams Stewart announced that “There are two kinds of people in the world: those who want to push the Earth over the row of flags at that end of the field, and those who want to push it over the fence at the other end. Go to it.” There...

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Cooperative Games for Adults

Cooperative Games for Adults

Adults playing silly games? That can’t be right. Oh, but it is! Not only can adults play cooperative New Games, they do so joyfully. How can this be so? Aren’t games for kids? As we grow up, games become increasingly organized and competitive. Fewer and fewer kids can keep up with the level of competition and drop out of organized sport and games. This percentage keeps dropping until by the time kids get to their late teens, less than 10% are participating in the games. In a recent article in “i” newspaper in the UK, “A survey of over 1,500 school...

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Christmas Youth Group Games

Christmas Youth Group Games

New Games are one answer Cooperative New Games are perfect for Christmas youth group games. Size or athleticism do not matter in New Games: all that’s needed is a desire to play. Therefore, not only can all ages and ability levels play the games, which will mean you don’t have to separate into various groups to participate in the games, but games can be adapted to Christmas themes and stories. Christmas stories adapted to New Games For instance, you can take the story of the 3 wise men and use the game of Sun Monarch with a little tweaking.  In this game, one person starts off in front...

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