Friday, June 30, 2006
Friday, June 30, 2006
The Elevator Metaphor
Thursday, June 29, 2006
CowParade "is the world’s largest public art event. From Chicago and New York in 1999 and 2000 to Kansas City and Houston in 2001 and London in 2002, CowParade continues to evolve, not just in size, but in creativity and quality of art. While the cow sculptures remain the same, each city’s artists are challenged by the art from past events, inspired by the cultural influences of their respective cities, and moved by their own interpretation of the cow as an art object. CowParade is not meant to be high art, however. It is first and foremost a public art exhibit that is accessible to everyone."
You've probably seen a CowParade in the heart of your very own city. But did you know that
"The collection of painted cows is thought and dedicated to open opportunities to all artists in each city, and along the years, it has turned into a real competition among the best and most brilliant artists around the world.Well, did you?
This message brought to you by Funscout Kris Bordessa.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Jim Moskowitz has developed an updated, modernized, and sigificantly playworthy collection of Parlor Games. Many of the games are "New Games," which probably explains my particular appreciation of this compilation. Others are college sitting-around-the-cafeteria-table-type games. Most are only sketchily described. Some are just hinted at. But there are treasures aplenty.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Games that flow from the moment
My son writes:
"I came across this on page 30: 'The real point of the story is that the best games with little children flow easily and naturally from the situation of the moment. We are not likely to get good games by planning them far in advance, but we probably will get them if we play with children just for the fun of it. And whatever the game is, we must be ready to give it up, instantly and without regret, if the child is not enjoying it. It’s tempting to think, "If I can just get him to do this for a while, he will enjoy it." But he won't – and we won't.""This is a piece of hard-won wisdom. Cherish it. For it not only describes how to play with children. It explains, simply and universally, how to play at all.
Talking about all this flowing from the moment reminds me: Today we've been married for 40 years.
Monday, June 26, 2006
bossaball - volleyball on inflatables and trampolines.
bossaball - volleyball on inflatables and trampolines. And a beautiful site it is. As is the game (sight-wise). As you can see on every impressively animated page.
Bossaball is "a ball game between 2 teams. It's a mix of volleyball, football, gymnastics and capoeira. The court is a combination of inflatables and trampolines, divided by a net. And it takes less than 45 minutes to set it all up and get ready to play."
It is always exciting to see a new sport - it means new opportunities to play, new expertise to develop, and a new invitation to fun. Because the sport is new, there's no need to take it "seriously." There's no world cup, no national teams. The only reason to play is because it looks like something you might actually enjoy. Well, it looks like volleyball, actually. Except for the trampolines, which makes it look like Trampoline Basketball, except it's volleyball.
It's the spectacle of seeing bodies flying, tumbling in an ecstasy of aerial acrobatics. It's the bounce: The bouncing, tumbling players on the trampolines and surrounding inflatable mat. The bouncing music.
Bossaball. It looks like fun.
Friday, June 23, 2006
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Robot American Football
Robot American Football is like the Robot Soccer played during the Robot Soccer World Cup and somehow clearly related to RoboCup (being another soccer like game played with robots, only RoboCup pits robots against human beings!), but this time, at last, it's American Football. And it's from, go figure, Japan.
It's fast. It's a bunch of remote-controlled robots. And, if you look at the video closely enough, or often enough, it's definitely not soccer they're playing. You can tell by the way the robots keep banging into each other. And by the football.
OK. Sure. It looks like great fun. And boy, could we make it like way more football-like! But you need ten players. And each needs her own robot. How unrealistic is that? I mean, it's not like a game the poor will ever get to play. At least until they find themselves in the military.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Frisbee Spinning Bees
Frisbee master Gary Auerbach hosts what he calls "Frisbee Spinning Bees" (the "bee" being what you get when you forget the "Fris") - classes and demonstrations in everything Frisbee. Not just, as you might conclude from the name of the site, Frisbee spinning, but in equal measure Frisbee throwing and catching. And, true to the spirit of all those who know the "Way of Frisbee," Auerbach even includes a section on Frisbee Ball Sports, a couple of which bear the marks of true junkyard-sports-like inventiveness. Like, for example, this game, from "Bayview Glen Public School in York Region," where "grade-four students play frisbee baseball or 'Base-Bee'"
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Fun is Fine: Toward a Philosophy of Game Design
In "Fun is Fine: Toward a Philosophy of Game Design," David Kennerly writes: "In the fine game, fun intersects fine art. By fine art, I mean basically great art: fine art is the final art, or the most perfect of the arts. There is a quotation: 'The more I study the smarter Aristotle gets.' In a fine game, the more the player studies the deeper the game gets. Once a player knows the perfect strategy in a game, such as tic-tac-toe, no amount of play will reveal a better strategy. When the game ceases to teach the player a new lesson, the game stops being fun. The mind engages in a process of learning, in an education about a special system when playing a game. When perfected, there is nothing new to learn. Whereas, in Lost Cities, Go, or any fine game, each iteration teaches a new lesson. New strategies unfold. Weaknesses in old strategies appear. This is a kind of wonder that precedes discovery. This shares the impetus of science and art.
"So fun is the art of the game. It is a high goal. It is noble. It is not necessarily base. It is not necessarily a simple pleasure. Whosoever plays earnestly at a fine game ascends an upward spiral of intelligence. Even the strategies for choosing playing strategies evolve. The enabling goals within the span of the game themselves change. And once so involved, one is learning, 'To be able to be caught up into the world of thought — that is to be educated.'"
This idea of the "uppward spiral of intelligence" is very much in consonance with the nature of fun as described by Csikszentmihalyi and myself in my article Sober Doesn't Mean Somber. But clearly we're not just talking about any old kind of fun here. We're talking about the "fine" kind - the kind that takes us always deeper and higher and most often totally by surprise.
Monday, June 19, 2006
ispott - scavenger hunt with cell phones
ispott is "a mobile scavenger hunt game played with cell phone cameras." Read on:
"ispott hosts the world's first and only mobile scavenger hunt games. ...After you join us (it's FREE), you'll be ready to play. ...You'll receive a text alert on your mobile phone as soon as a new game begins. This alert will let you know what items to find. Then, you'll find as many items as you can before the game ends. Snap a quick photo of each item with your mobile camera, email it to us and visit ispott.com to check your status. The person with the most points at the end of the game wins.So here it is - an actual game, designed specifically for people with camera-enabled, Internet-connected, cell phones. A potentially city-wide, or perhaps even world-wide gathering of admittedly silly people, taking advantage of a coincidence of increasingly pervasive technologies, so they can do something coliberatingly silly together.
It is a good thing.
Friday, June 16, 2006
Sober Doesn't Mean Somber
Thursday, June 15, 2006
It's free. It's today, and for the rest of the month. It's a Virtual Chautauqua about The Well-Played Game.
Drop by. Read a comment. Make a comment. Ask a question. Answer one. Add to a growing dialogue about games and community, fun and widsom, play and life.
Celia Pearce writes: "This is one of the most brilliant and overlooked books on games to-date. Drawing on practical experience 'in the field,' this self-made game designer/philosopher/educator/ethnographer does an in-depth analysis of the socio-psychological dynamics of (pre-digital) gameplay that is better than almost anything generated in the rapidly expanding academic field of Game Studies. For anyone interested in playing, studying, designing, or writing about games, this should be a perennial and oft-referenced bookshelf companion."
Bernie continues: "Understanding how to play well is a path towards understanding how to live well. With this understanding, every game you play becomes an opportunity to develop your skills at living well. Every game. This is how the search for the Well-Played Game becomes a path to wholeness. A playful path, filled with things like fun and community, spontaneity and creativity, agility and light-heartedness."
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Extreme Diet Coke and Mentos Experiment
Behold the Extreme Diet Coke and Mentos Experiment and learn, finally, the answer to that never asked-enough question: "What happens when you combine 200 liters of Diet Coke and over 500 Mentos mints?
It is a beautiful thing, this scientific curiousity. Especially when it leads to a genuinely "spectacular mint-powered version of the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas."
In case you've never made the science-fun connection before, or never thought about how a thing as uncomplicated as the desire to have fun could take us to the moon, you now have reason to thank the scientific minds of EepyBird.com. Explanations? Again, from Eepybird:
"..chemists are saying that the primary cause is physical, not chemical. Their explanation: nucleation sites. If you have a liquid that is supersaturated with gas (like soda, which is pumped full of carbon dioxide), a nucleation site is a place where the gas is able to form bubbles. Nucleation sites can be scratches on a surface or specks of dust – anywhere that you have a high surface area in a very small volume. That's where bubbles can form.Ever wonder what would happen if you drank coke and mentos? Don't miss this cautionary tale.
Now that you're left with all those Mentos and all that Diet Coke, how about a toast to my first and only daughter? Born this day. 39 years ago.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Deep in the Game: The Fun Now Manifesto
From "a blog devoted to the hobby and art of roleplaying, and all that jazz:" Deep in the Game: The Fun Now Manifesto:
1. Not everyone likes the same thing
Monday, June 12, 2006
Adolescent Playfulness and Well-Being
In their research paper, Adolescent Playfulness and Well-Being, authors Marianne Staempfli and Roger C. Mannell, of the University of Waterloo, discuss what may be key discoveries about the nature of all three: adolescence, playfuness, and well-being.
"...playful adolescents experience high mental and physical health. Less playful adolescents appear to experience problems with their peers and with issues related to self. When faced with daily
Friday, June 09, 2006
A Million Ways to Play Marbles, at Least
Today's FunCast is a reading of "A Million Ways to Play Marbles, at Least" - originally included in the appendix of The Well-Played Game. In it's own silly way, it reflects pretty much everything I know about the nature of games. Personally, I think every kid between the ages of 8-12 needs to hear this at least once, and every adult over 30, several many times, at least.
Because, see, it's not really about marbles.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Top 10 Coolest BBQ Grills
From Neatorama, at last: the Top 10 Coolest Barbeques : "BBQ," explains the Neat One, "is both a rite of summer and a rite of manhood (yes, BBQ is associated with male cooking, probably because any sane woman would not go near the combination fire, meat and beer). In some parts of the USA, BBQ is not just food, it's a religion. The fastest way to start a fight is not to talk politics, but to argue about the virtues of wood vs. charcoal vs. gas. Even the word itself is kind of controversial: is it barbecue, barbeque, bar-b-q, or BBQ? Just don't bring it up with a purist (or the one cooking your burger!)"
A finger has definitely been put on something of searing significance to those who seek the silly. The BBQer, regardless of the shape it takes, is inherently extra-ordinary. It veritably reeks of play. There is nothing necessary about a barbecue. It is a thing of fun, a portal to the not-quite-necessities of picnic and tail gate parties and backyard neighbor-baiting. And, today, thanks to the assiduous scholarship of the Neat-o-Ramans, we get to see the barbecue as the work of playful art it truly is.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Sustainable Fun? In an ecologically-sensitive kind of way. Like, for example, any of these "Possibly Scoring 10 for Non-consuming" activities:
I love this concept: sustainable fun. Of course, what I love about it is thinking that there are sources of fun which are, in fact, sustainable. Not your consumable fun. But your sustainably fun kinds of fun. Your always fun fun. And that this kind of fun, this sustainable resource of endless delight, is as natural as friendship and snow.
In fact, so central to fun are these natural resources that, corrolarily speaking, one can say that "if it isn't fun, it isn't sustainable." Which just happens to be, according to this source and Funscout Joey Gray, a central theme voiced by environmentalist Dr. David Suzuki.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Pickup games offer many useful life lessons
Here's a little article by Bob Brandts, from the Amherst Bulletin, May 27, 2005, called "Pickup games offer many useful life lessons." And here's a sample of why I thought you'd want to read the whole thing:
"...I was thinking back on all the little lessons I learned while playing pick-up games – of baseball, basketball, kickball, wiffleball, tag, 4-square, etc. – with all of my brothers, sisters and friends throughout my childhood years. I remember my appetite for pick-up games being insatiable when I was younger (some would claim that little has changed with me), which meant that I was always on the look-out for the “next game” of whatever sport happened to be in season. Looking back now, I firmly believe that all of those informal pick-up games helped to shape me as a person and instilled in me many “life skills” that I still use to this day."and
"To be honest, we all strived to score the most runs, goals, or whatever while we were playing the game, but the real attraction was that we were having fun and that was all that seemed to matter. The result of the game was quickly forgotten within minutes of its conclusion. The focus turned to talking about the game – nice plays, good moves, etc. – and casting our eyes to the next game, which would inevitably have different rules, different teams, and different things to talk about. As long as it was fun, nobody cared about who won or lost the game."
Monday, June 05, 2006
Come Out & Play Festival :: September 22-24
Come Out & Play Festival :: September 22-24:
"When was the last time you played in public?Apparently, from their invitation to street-game-producers, they mean all street games, not just the high tech ones. Maybe even this kind of street games.
thanks to Noise for the fun-scouting.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Roll-Over: The Game
Roll-Over is a variation of a number of Numbers games, like Big Booty, The Prince of Wales and Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar
It is one of those deceptively simple games that is as fun to modify as it is to play, and, by sheer happenstance, happens to be the topic of today's FunCast.
If you are so moved, you can also watch us play this game on Google Video.