TsegBall

TsegBall (pronounced seg-ball) "is a combination of basketball, volleyball, handball, rugby and hopscotch." Again we see how new sports can be built from old. Again we find a sport that is designed to be "non contact." And again, we see that along with all this renewal, we are being given sports that reduce "the amount of injury prevalent in most contact sports while removing the physical intimidation factor on the court. Second, TsegBall's design allows for co-educational teams. By removing the violence aspect, men and women are able to play together on the same team--a feature not common in many of today's more popular sports."

Here's more from the site: "team sport designed for use in schools, recreation and fitness centers, rehabilitation clinics and even the military. The game is easy to play and allows men and women to compete on the same team. Because it is a co-ed sport, the rules are designed to prevent any bodily contact. Men and women can enjoy the game together without the risk of injury prevalent in most contact sports. The game emphasizes good strategy rather than physical prowess and generates a lot of creativity. There is no jumping and players can only use their hands, so they've got to rely on quick thinking and fast reflexes in order to win."


from Junkyard Sports: The Blog

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Socci

Socci "is an individual fitness activity, social game, and a competitive sport ...combining elements of soccer, basketball, and hackysack." A sport after my own junkyard-inspired heart - creating by combining some of the must fun parts of other sports. Like soccer and hackysack, Socci is played without using hands. Like basketball, no physical

The Socci goal is perhaps the most innovative aspect of the sport. It is low, round, and free-standing - so a goal can be scored from all sides. This makes defending the goal much more challenging, and more interesting for players and audience alike. The inventor sees Socci as "the ultimate soccer training game." I see it as a new sport. Better than soccer, because it is faster paced. The goals are closer together, so players have to shift from offense to defense suddenly and often. There is more opportunity to score, and more opportunities for fun. Though I'm certain a good Socci player masters many soccer-related skills, the value of Socci is not in its soccer- or hackysack-likeness, but in the fun.

Need more evidence? See especially the first two recommended alternate games:
"Trash Socci - If you're dying to play Socci, a trash can will do. Just count one point for hitting the "can" and two for putting it in.

"Circle Socci - Even if you can't get a can, just draw a circle. Count one point for rolling into the circle and two for dropping it into the circle."




from Bernie DeKoven's FunLog

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Featherball - a Handy Game Around the World

This 24-page, illustrated and PDF'd booklet describes how to make and play Featherball. Yes, yes, it's a shuttlecock, all right, familiar to all those who've ever played or wondered about badminton. Yet badminton itself is only one of a vast, international panoplay of shuttlecockish pastimes.
there's "Funderbirds," for example, a non-competitive game, similar to the perhaps far more familiar game of Peteca (which you, of course, might know better as Indiaca), only played without a net or court, like the bimillenially-played, Southeast Asian game of Chapteh but not like Jianzi, except no one is eliminated.

It is but one of many instructively playful resources awaiting those who download from it from Teamwork and Teamplay available to the connected many through the expertise, good will and generosity of Jim Cain, Ph.D.

funscouting by Roger Greenaway, author of the provocative and appropriately playful piece Reviewing for Fun.


from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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In10sity

In10sity, you see, is Trivia-like in it's nature, but a kinder, gentler, and significantly Major Fun-worthy Trivia game.

In10sity is called that way, because all of the 700 trivia-like questions can be answered with a number, a relatively small number, between 1, and don't you see, 10. Which makes all the difference between the Trivia games of known Triviality, and this cleverly, but perhaps misleadingly Trivia-like game of In10sity. If it's numbers, you can just guess. And if you're right, it doesn't necessarily mean that you knew anything at all about the question in question - not as necessarily as it means that it could have been just dumb luck. Or perhaps some uncanny sensitivity, some ability to empathize to the point of... Nah. A lot of times, it's luck. I mean, how many Danny DiVito's do you think it would take to reach the top of a bamboo plant?

Funny, impossible, sometimes requiring actual knowledge, In10sity is party-worthy Trivia game, designed specifically for people who are more interested in testing their collective capacity for luck and laughter, than in demonstrating superior knowledge.

Everything included in the game, from the board to the "answer dials" and the three different dice - giving variable scoring potential each turn. Well thought-out, well-produced, worth playing again and more than likely again.



from Major Fun

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FunCast - Fun and Games on the Virtual Playground

For a more multi-modal experience of "More Fun and Games on the Virtual Playground" you can read today's Funcast while you simultaneously listen to the aformentioned FunCast, originally written in the 90s, a sample whereof follows:

The virtual community: The uncensored, voluntary and potentially anonymous exchange of ideas and images available through this very electronic medium, and all the related media, promotes the formation of virtual play communities. Again, the normal rules of communication and social standing are suspended. But in the virtual community, we also suspend the rules of space and time and body.

Virtual playgrounds: Like of course the World Wide Web. And even e-mail. And bulletin board systems. And of course newsgroups. Each a playground for virtual play communities. A playground of playgrounds.

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The Competitive Blessings Game

It's Thanksgiving for some of us here Americans. Literal translation: family feast - with gratitude. Which brought in mind, considering it's my mind that it was bringing to, a game I call "The Out-Blessing Game, which is played as follows:

Get in pairs. Put your hands on each other's heads. Take turns out-blessing each other. Continue until you both feel truly blessed or have had enough of this loving silliness.

A round of out-blessing might go like this:

* You say: May the fruits of your labors never spoil
* And I say: May they all be delicious
* You say: And may they be always ripe
* And I say: May they be available in your local supermarket
* You say: On sale

Which might also remind me of the "No-No, Thank You" Game, that could go like this:

* You say: Thank you for this delicious meal
* And I say: No, no, Thank you for sharing it with us
* You say: No, no, no, thank YOU for being such a wonderful parent
* And I say: No, no, no, no, thank YOU for the joy you have brought me all these years
* And you say: How about them Indians?





from Bernie DeKoven's FunLog

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Shoe Play

The Mobius ShoeThe Mobius Shoe from a company called "United Nude," is, as you might have guessed, a shoe, made of one strip, twisted and joined to itself in a most mobius-manner. Why anyone would even think of designing such a shoe becomes a bit more self-evident when one considers other "Nude Shoes" such as the Eamz shoe, the heel of which looks very much like the leg of a chair, and especially the Porn shoe, made of a loop and a strip.

What we have here is evidence of high playfulness, ingenious genius, as one such as I might be all too tempted to say. These are very real shoes, very fashion-sensible, very foot-wearable, and everso obviously fun. Hence "Nude."



funscouting by Everlasting Blort


from Bernie DeKoven's FunLog

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Junkyard Jacks

There's an older version of the game of Jacks, called Fivestones. It's Jacks, all right, but played with, well, stones. Five of them.

Sure, sure, everyone remembers Tali, the Fivestones-like game Roman kids and gods purportedly played, with, well, goat knuckles. (And beautiful goat knuckles they were.) But it's the stones version to which we need pay the majority of our collective attention. Because it's played, see, with stones. In other words, junk. The very kind of junk upon which Junkyard Sports is so amusingly built. Found junk. Free junk. Everyday, all around you junk.

It's Junkyard Jacks, is what it is. And it you can't find rocks, bottle caps will do, and if you can't find bottle caps, coins would certainly do, and if you can't find coins, God bless you. In fact, if you can't play Jacks, you can change the rules to exactly the Jacks-like game you play best. Like, maybe, One Jack. Or Horizontal (no throwing) Jacks. Or, for the Post-Apocalympic-minded, Three-Handed Jacks.

from Bernie DeKoven's FunLog

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Traditional Children's Games in Modern Times

In this article from The Hindu ("India's National Newspaper"), we find one more still, small voice, championing the ways children used to play:
"In the harum-scarum world of the 21st Century, it is interesting to see how many of these traditional games are relevant. By virtue of their origin these games were inexpensive and environment friendly. Most of them were played using easily available materials. In fact they were household items like tamarind seeds, or stones and shells and sticks, which were often found lying around. The board was often scrawled in the dust or drawn on the floor with chalk. Some old homes even had the board drawn into the floor while the cement was still wet. While some games needed special equipment or pieces, these were often developed into a village craft....The 21st century has brought technology to the fore. Children today are computer literate. But basic skills are critical for growth and development. Perhaps we need to look to our traditions to discover new ways to play for, after all, games are much more than just child's play."
See also, from the same publication, The Politics of Children's Games, a well-informed perspective on the history of children's play ("Childhood did not really penetrate the great masses of the lower and lower-middle classes until very late in the 19th and early 20th centuries."), which concludes
"But while school playgrounds may look like chaotic places, playtime is one of the few moments in children's lives when they can just be themselves. As some educational consultants are beginning to suggest, playtime constitutes a kind of 'informal curriculum' and needs as much sensitive nurturing as the subjects taught formally indoors. Sadly, in recent decades, this has come to receive less and less emphasis."


from Bernie DeKoven's FunLog

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Executive Playgrounds

In this clip, Rob Fulup, Michael Schrage and I describe the kind of collaboration I was able to facilitate when I developed my Technography method.

What Technography is to meetings, Junkyard Sports is to professional sports. It's the same central vision, informed by the ideal of mutual empowerment, of what I call "Coliberation." Just like Junkyard Sports, Technography approaches meetings as open systems, designed to serve the community that uses them: where the players are more important than the game, where success is measured in terms of participation, involvement, mutual accomplishment.

You can read more about the Technography method in a collection of my articles called "Meetings and Fun." Of those articles, the last, Executive Playgrounds, is the subject of today's FunCast, (which you can listen to here) and perhaps the most relevant to this historical perspective - making the connection between meeting rooms and playgrounds - explaining why, despite the success of Technography, I found myself looking for more fundamental and universal solutions.

The video clip is from a video called "The Not So-Obvious Art of Collaboration" (which failed to be published due to the no so obvious art of marketing). The tape was made in the 90s, shortly after the publication of Connected Executives.

from Bernie DeKoven's FunLog

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"a process which is not contained within the game itself"

I found those words in an article called From Serious Games to Serious Gaming by Henry Jenkins: "a process which is not contained within the game itself." Jenkins is trying to explain why a game should be worth playing in its own right, for its own sake, regardless of how educational its purpose. He points out Sim City designer Will "Wright's notion that we might simply annotate a traditional game, providing a series of links to other sources of information which might enhance the game play experience."

I've been trying to express this ever since I first got involved with simulation games. (Which is pretty much my professional lifetime. Which is pretty much.) This whole idea of the integrity and depth and educational value of the experience of play - itself. How when you make kids play a game like "Fraction Bingo" (you'd just about have to make them), you kill both the learning and the fun.


from Bernie DeKoven's FunLog

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The Pickup Game as a Model for Peace?

In his "My Turn" article, Newsweek's Nicholas O'Connell writes about The Pickup Game as a Model for Peace? (there's that question mark again - I guess someone at Newsweek wasn't ready to commit to the idea that a pick-up game could actually prove to be a model for something as desperately sought after as world peace - must not have read the whole article):
"Over the centuries, there have been many utopian schemes for world peace, now mostly consigned to the ash heap of history, but soccer offers a vision of how such a world order might actually work. There are none of the vague platitudes you hear at UNESCO conferences; the sport allows for plenty of competition; it's not just about love and brotherhood, as witnessed by the recent World Cup. People push, shove and sometimes foul. They want to win. But they must subordinate even the fiercest rivalries to the game itself. If a fight breaks out, the game stops. No one wants that...

"This is not to say that national identity didn't matter. The Arabs and Africans favored showboat dribbling and cartwheeling bicycle kicks in front of the goal. Irish, English and Americans like me preferred a more team-oriented, ball-control style. The more repressive the political system, it seemed, the more individualistic the soccer. These styles mixed and meshed and sometimes clashed, but when a long pass arced across the mouth of the goal, no one was thinking of the ethnicity of the person who passed it, only of heading it into the back of the net."
All right, all right, so maybe it's not a model for world peace. So how about "world play?"



from Bernie DeKoven, Funsmith

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Line Flyer

Ever since I wrote about the playlike joys of Line Rider, I've been looking for more of the same. I am pleased to announce that there is now a minor gaggle of Line Riding experiences available to the play-seeking multitudes, all to be found on one site, eponymously described as: LineFlyer.com.

To wit:
Line Flyer, Jeep Flyer, Line Boarder, Chair Flyer, and, for the more virtually adventuresome, Line Flyer Beta with Undo
Note, if you will, that these are both kinder and gentler rides - that for those who ride the line, there is no death, no failure, and that the worse that can happen is to float off endlessly in space, or to stop moving altogether at all. Play any, and you will discover your Line Riding potential delightfully enhanced. Play all, and you will have spent a significant amount of time virtually amused. Time spent, actually, in quite a scientific inquiry as you hypothesize and test your way to virtual bliss.

from Bernie DeKoven, Funsmith

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Play: The Movement of Love

If you happen to be in Woodacre, CA, this coming December (the 2nd, actually), you might consider attending this seminar - so you can meet, among others, Gwen Gordon, author of a quite profound and lightening article: Play: The Movement of Love. Here's a taste:
If we forget to play, we lose our love for life, and loving life is what will save our world, not fearing destruction. We’re desperate to be invited into our joy, into our energy source, the belly laugh, the burst of giggles, wild abundance, bright color and zest for life of play. The laughing Buddha is fat to show that even the most massive bulk can lift off the ground–with a big enough laugh. Laughter is the sound of play and a doorway into play. Right now, wherever you are, put this article down and laugh. Not because there’s anything funny going on, but because you’re free to laugh. It may seem awkward at first, but stretch into it. Get off your spot. You will discover that you can find ecstasy just by moving toward it. Play is the movement of love, and love is what moves the Universe. Never underestimate, especially during a time of crisis, the power of play to move the world. Indeed it’s the only thing that ever did.
Thanks to the amazing Bryan Alexander for the find.


from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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On Overeating

Today's FunCast is about overeating - the game and joys thereof. You can download the audio here, whilst, should you be so reclined, reading it here.

Bon appetite!




from Bernie DeKoven's FunLog

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A new look at "Junkyard Sports"

I had the good fortune to meet Dr. Juico a few weeks ago. We discussed how Junkyard Sports could provide an opportunity for people in the Philippines to celebrate their own culture, and perhaps be encouraged to become more involved in athletics. He recently published this article. I quote enthusiastically:
Junkyard Sports emphasizes fun and creativity, teamwork and leadership, inclusion (as opposed to exclusion and exclusivity) and adaptability, compassion and acceptance, humor, playfulness and community. The activities are designed not only to engage mind and body but also to help participants develop the arts of collaboration and effective teambuilding, acquire leadership, and experience the power and practicality of using problem solving and the scientific method.

The Preface to "Junkyard Sports" states that "Junkyard Sports" is a play on a TV series called Junkyard Wars. Like junkyard sports, Junkyard Wars is a team effort, requiring ingenuity and collaboration in the use of found materials. The similarity stops there. Junkyard sports are not wars or even competitions, and the purpose is not to build machines but to build community.

As one goes over the book, one realizes that it is a collection of ideas for new, fun and challenging invitations to sports. For example, when looking in the baseball section of the book, you will see a baseball-like demonstration game played with a tennis racket for a bat, a beach ball for a ball, five traffic cone bases, and the batter sitting on a gym scooter.

Each demonstration game really is a collection of innovative principles — ideas that can be used to create other demonstration games. Borrowing the gym-scooter idea, one suddenly has a new way to play soccer or basketball. Every demonstration game gets refined as it is played. In refining the demonstration game, players create a new demonstration game, which in turn results in the creation of another and another.


from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Benettonplay! Toybox

OrbitOrbit is one of 6 unusually creative play opportunities offered to us by the unusually creatively playful people at Benetton. Each is an invitation to enlighteningly light-hearted, online play. Each is designed so that you can compose anonymously or record and share your gifts.

If you're a game designer, or some Defender of the Playful trying to bring a little joy to the institutionalized, Benneton offers a welcome resource, and a paradigm of its own for commercially-supported, personally empowering fun.

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GAMES ARE ART !

GAMES ARE ART ! is a weblog from artist, game designer Santiago Siri. There is much to read and learn on this remarkable website: articles, forums (fora?), and links to faith-restoring examples of independent, playful and artistic pursuits. For example, from the author:
"I'll take this opportunity to state a simple argument on why games are art: to me, Play is the answer. Art has a lot to do of expressing how we feel, and what the world means to us. And Play is something that is strictly related to existence.

"We play even since before civilizations existed: all it takes to discover this is to watch two dogs playing. And the joy of art has a lot to do with the process and not with the results: The artist enters his own universe when he finds himself absorbed by his creation, and just like the musician that Plays his instrument, or the Actor that plays his role; games are a space that lets anyone feel the power of Play."

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Cardboard Box Maze

It's a maze made out of cardboard boxes. Constructed, according to the terse description, "out of cardboard boxes, duct tape, and 300 bolts. The maze spans two rooms and a hallway." (See this for a larger, annotated image.) Cardboard-box-maze-making being a minor passion of my son and his family, I cannot but applaud the joyous absurdity of the abovementioned.

Bolts? Cardboard box bolts? Yeah, like these.



Thanks for the find, Boing Boing

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Go on a Donut

Toroidal In a collection of images of Handmade Games, we find the answer to the question: "Can you play the game of Go on a donut?" The collectors comment:
"Go is one of the oldest board games, which has been played in pretty nearly its current form for 4000 years. Despite the long history, it's still possible to think of a new twist. At the left is a 'standard' 19x19 Go board constructed by Ken Clements, in the shape of a torus. Each intersection of the wire frame is welded, and each bead (stone) is cross cut so it can be stuck to an intersection of the board. This is the obvious solution for those who don't have the patience to study corner Joseki."
And for those who don't have the patience to weld their own donut or carve their own beads, there's this.

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Learning by Dying

I've been participating in an online forum, called "Pathways to Gaming," sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation. We've been talking about the kind of learning that takes place when kids play online, and attempting to identify some of the "triggers" that bring them into gaming.

The dialogue reminded me of an article I wrote more than a decade ago - Learning by Dying. Which, in turn, inspired today's Funcast.

To listen, click here.



from Bernie DeKoven's FunLog

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Whatnot At Work: Fun At Work

A Google OfficeWhatnot At Work: Fun At Work is a blog searching for signs of actual fun in places where something like work is supposed to be performed on an almost daily basis. For example:
This post about the playground-like slide in the Red Bull corporate office.

And this about office life at Google.

And even this one about a "business bib" you can wear so you look like a businessworthy dude (didn't see anything about business bibs for dudettes) when you're on a videoconferece and working from home.
Not all the posts are about what you and I might consider to be "constructive" fun - like this one about a service that allows you to send anonymous email, which, as the author points out, can allow you to send prank mail to, for example, your boss. Or this one about an "office espionage kit." Nevertheless, they are most definitely both office- and fun-relevant and a most valuable addition to the fun-seeker's repertoire, in deed, and in fact.

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Trampline Simon

Trampline Simon? Apparently. One might be tempted to call it "Trampoline Simon." But one would be wrong. One would be especially correct if one were to perceive this as more than a game of Simon played on trampolines, but an experiment in the technologies of play, the junkmasterly art of ad hoc engineering, and a hard-won insight into the nature children's play.
"This is a Simon game played on mini trampolines: the trampolines light up in a pattern, and the player jumps in response...There's lots of different factors when making stuff for kids. For starters they're incredibly rough on things, and they broke a couple of trampline sensors in no time with their wild jumps. I called Jameco to get more 2" lever switches, which are otherwise impossible to get locally, but they were closed for some mysterious holiday. Hmm.... So I put up my "back in 10 minutes" sign and drove to a hardware store to look for a solution. Stovetop grease pans! Perfect! You can see them here mounted all nice and tidy over the sensors to protect them, worked great, and they even have little holes to let me adjust the sensors:"

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