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 to the bottom of the page and click on the arrow. However, if you’re interested in my reflections…

There was Stewart Brand, whose idea the whole thing was in the first place, and whose grant from the Point Foundation helped create the first New Games Tournament. Of course there’s also the organizing inspiration of Pat (Rose) Farrington, who turned the idea into reality.

Some of those people are no longer on the planet with us. Burton Naiditch, who was director when I was No. 2, left us long ago, as did Andrew Flugelman, who by creating The New Games Book, which sold a half million copies and gave New Games public recognition. I also presume that Marcelle Weed, the old grey haired lady in slide show and a New Games trainer, is either passed or about 110+. They did a lot to make New Games
what it is.

Hearing old friends and New Games players like Nancy Diebels (then Smedley), Joel and Sarah made me wonder whatever happened to them.

Some of us, like Bernie DeKoven, John O’Connell, John La Rue and myself, keep on going, even in retirement. How can we not? It’s still fun to play & present New Games.

Seeing myself with long, curly brown hair was funny. As was hearing my voice. Now I’m beginning to look like the old man I am (but don’t quite yet feel). In many ways I still feel like the guy in the pictures, at least when I’m playing New Games. Not as fast or mobile.

Hearing Burton say, “ More than a collection of games, New Games is an attitude towards play. The attitude that we are playing for the joy of playing, rather than to win or lose.
That’s the difference between New Games and what we might call old games. We’re not keeping score. The people playing are always the most important part of any game. We change the rules to make the game fairer, safer, or more interesting for everyone included. New Games is not 50, 000 people sitting in the stands and 22 playing on the field. It’s everybody playing. You watch fathers, mothers, sons and daughters playing together. And we really believe New Games is long overdue. It’s family recreation.” I’m getting goose bumps just now listening to him and writing this.

He went on, “New Games encourages cooperation, but that sometimes includes competition. In New Games we compete because it’s fun, not because we’re concerned who wins. We compete against what we see as our own limits rather than each other so that our opponents become our partners and we give each other the opportunity to play hard. And when we all play our hardest, everyone wins.”

Then there was Andrew: “When we played “Catch the Dragon’s Tail” or “Rock, Paper, Scissors” we were certainly trying to win, but we didn’t really care about the score. Really what our focus was the process of enjoying and playing the game.”

Of course, Marcelle: “Think about creative play as something where you bring people together in an environment where you provide them with materials or some understandings to begin with, and they take and create what they want to out of it. And that’s what New Games is about, taking game forms and sharing them with people inviting them to do something with that, to adapt and to change to create what they want out of

Yes! That’s what inspired me to start with and continues to do so till this day. So, I kind of retired but I want to keep doing New Games. I love doing them too much to do otherwise.


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