Submit your "Sport of the Future"

Here's the description of the contest:
Do you have an overactive imagination? (We lost our years ago.) Are existing sports not doing it for you? Then dream up a sport of the future and send it our way! Be brief in your description (under 150 words, please). Include basic rules and why you chose the sport. If we like it, we might just give you a shout out. Oh, and please, no BASEketball!
Where do you think I found it? ESPN, obviously.

(I submitted the Postapocalympics)

See also: Baseketball

via Bill Harris

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Johnson & Cluff Kids Playing

For many of us, the best thing about watching the clip of Johnson & Cluff Kids Playing is knowing that we are nowhere near the mayhem. The next best thing is trying to figure out what exactly they are playing. And shortly thereafter, the realization that these kids aren't hurting each other.

Despite the differences in ages and bodies and understandings of the game, these kids are in fact playing very well together, brilliantly, one might say, especially if one turns down the sound. In further fact they are playing together. Not only together, one might note, but intimately together.

Which, for some of us, is a very useful reminder, once again, that kids, given the chance, can and often will play together, safely, creatively, lovingly.

And at the same time, a kind of commentary about how adults, given similar opportunities, don't.

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Pointless Games - a Knol

Bernie started a Knol.

How did Bernie start a Knol?

Bernie started a Knol like this, like this.

It's about a genre of games that people tend to overlook, and yet may in fact hold a key to our very survival.

I call these games "pointless," as exemplified by, for example, by a game called variously "Bernie Played a Game, Bernie Found Nirvana, and Johnny Went to Sleep."

Consider yourself personally invited, exhorted, cajoled even. Read the Knol. Add to it. Comment on it. Become part of it. this.

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith


Horny Toad Invent-a-Sport Contest

A Handheld Skating and Snowboarding Sail, for example, would most definitely exemplify the kinds of new invented sports for which the Horny Toad Invent-a-Sport Contest was conceived.

The site features an inspirational collection of games to get you started. You'll probably notice that almost all of the images are of adults engaged in deep explorations of wackiness. See, for example, Crazy Croquet with its cinder block wickets, Richieball (see the official Richieball site for the full rules,) and the highly evolved, Box Ball-like game of Smack Ball.

The contest has already begun. The entry deadline is August 10.

The world is waiting for you.

via Hugh McNally (ex genius)

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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"But when you have fun, it really doesn't seem like a job any more."

"What is the greatest lesson you have learned in your career?" the interviewer asks Dinger D. Dragon, mascot for the Fort Wayne Wizards.

"Have fun at work," replies Dinger, "especially in my line of work … it’s hard not to have a fun time at work. But when you have fun, it really doesn't seem like a job any more."

So, if it doesn't seem like a job, maybe it isn't.

Because the whole idea of calling something a "job" is to help you remember that it's not something you do for fun.

That should be your first warning. That should make it obvious that of all the things you need to be having in your fun-loving life, a job is maybe not one. Work maybe probably yes. A job. Maybe definitely not.

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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iPhone, iBeer and Virtual Magic

From a recent Twitter:

majorfun iBeer is but a portent of what the iPhone brings to the virtual magician - Bernie DeKoven -

via Nothing to do with Arbroath

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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The Homemade Games Guru

Luanga Nuwame, the Homemade Games Guru, has dedicated considerable effort to teaching people how to make their own home made games. A professional game designer himself, Lue has produced a series of instructional videos on the design and production of personalized toys and games using only household materials. For example, a homemade beanbag toss, and, for another example, a set of magnetic refrigerator checkers.

For Lue, the making at home part of the homemade game, regardless of what game gets made or whether or not it's actually made at home, is key. Because, he explains, if you make a game, you can make it your own. You can embed pictures of family members or photos of last summer's vacation, making the game into a unique expression of the people for whom it is designed. The people at home. Yourself. Your extended family and friends.

Lue believes that making a personalized game helps people create something meaningful for them, personally. The "deep" fun part of it all, comes from people making the game together, for each other, and from the experience of seeing each other play a game that really reflects their lives together - experiences, favorite things, silly memories.

Making a game together helps create a closer family, explains Lue. "The fun of it lies in the interaction, conversation, contact with everyone. At the same time, making a game that allows you to express "you," means that every time you play the game, you are the star. Having something unique, that expresses me, uniquely, is deeply fun."

As a designer and instructor, Lue sees himself as being able to give families something that is really up to them to interpret, to personalize. He focuses on giving families the basics, knowing that with this kind of clarity, families and friends will provide their own content and ensuring it reflects their own selves. And therein, in the playful and personal connection between parent and child, friend and family, explains Lue, lies the fun.

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith


One of the best collections of theater games online, now available for download

Yes, punkin, you can in fact download the entire Improv Encyclopedia, in full, graphic, PDF format, or in PDA-appropriate, just-the-text straightforwardness.

For anyone who works with groups - teachers, recreation specialists, therapists, team managers, business facilitators - this is a what you will soon find to be an invaluable resource. Take a look at a sample game, like this one about translating gibberish (a game concept I recently added to Junkyard Olympics). Contemplate how useful this game can become in how many situations, note how clearly written, how intelligently cross-categorized. And it's only one of hundreds, and its free.

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Pervasive Games and more

Here, for example, is a game called "The Man Who Was Thursday." It is, in its way, along with perhaps, HipSync, almost all you need to know about why you should be interested in this new site, the first to be devoted to "pervasive games."

Allow the authors to explain:
"Ludocity is a collection of pervasive games, street games and new sports - forms of play that interact with the environment in which they take place, spilling out into parks and city streets.

Some of the games on Ludocity overlap with theatre, painting, dance, and other art forms. Some of them use balloons, lumps of coal, huge sheets of paper, mp3 players, elaborate costumes, and short-range radio broadcasts. All of them have been released under a creative commons license, giving everyone permission to run that game for free, wherever and whenever they like."
Pervasive games are to games what audience-participation is to theater - a playful, perhaps, but sometimes dangerous shattering of the boundaries that separate players from observers. The success of a Pervasive game relies on the clarity of the game and the maturity of the players. Pervasive games tend to border on the invasive, pervasive though they may be. They can be great fun, but they are definitely being played on the edge, so to speak.

That makes Ludocity such a valuable resource. Not just its collection of games, but how each game is presented with great care and integrity, and the site itself written in a Wiki format to allow for participation, consensus, growth, and very much fun.

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith


New Sports for the Post-Apocalympics

I've been doing a bit of youtube-scouring of late, searching for candidates for the world's first Post-Apocalympics. I came up with three, at least.

Extreme Knockdown Chess

You've no doubt heard of Chapay that Russian version of checkers that is really a game of billiards played on a checkerboard with, well, checkers, and of course pool cues. And yet, oddly enough, you probably haven't heard of the American equivalent - Knockdown Chess. Actually, not so surprising, given that it was only recently invented, by, actually, this guy.

Bicycle Tire Toss

Then there's the equally recently invented sport of Tire Toss - a giant quoits-like game requiring a porch, fire hydrant, and several many bicycle tires.

Sock Fighting

As modeled by Ashley and Sophie, the invention of Sock Fighting anticipates a time when we might have to things like this for real, or face a future of blistering socklessness.

From Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Crolf, in case you wondered, is
"a beautifully simple game that can be played by everyone, in any garden where a ball will roll. Hand-made in England the game comes with an easy to wheel trolley and includes 4 hammers, 4 wooden balls, 6 hools [the three way hoops that you shoot through], 6 pins, 4 markers, full instructions, a set of Crolf Laws [only 9 in all], and, of course, a brolly to shade your summer drinks."
Why do I love thee, Crolf? Let me count the ways (I get three):
1. I love thine Hools - thine three-way croquettish golf hole/hoops that seem so much more approachable from so many more directions, and yet so easy to place or displace.
2. I love the Junkyard Sports-likeness of thine silliness - the silliness of the name, the joyous absurdity of trying to play something like lawn croquet in someplace very unlike a flat, well-manicured lawn.
3. I love how thou dost manifest the spirit of playfulness and taketh it beyond the confines of officialdom and tournamentality.
Not that this is the first time there has been something golf/croquet-like. Apparently, there was something Crolfish patented as early as 1925. And Dick Schafer reports on yet another version of Crolf - one that might be called "Snow Crolf" or perhaps "Snolf."

But what and where is Crolf? Well, there's a course in Custer, South Dakota, at the Americas Best Value Inn. A Miniature Crolf course, no less or more, for yet further Crolfish contemplation.

via Roger Greenaway

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Air Bear

Clips of Joshua Allen Harris' playful and junkishly subway-powered inflatable street sculptures have been making several circuits of the blogosphere of late. Most deservedly so.

This one, aptly named Air Bear by harrisdanger, is a garbage-bag polar bear. It is multi-dimensionally delightful: lifelike, artful, surprising.

via Noise, Laughing Squid, and various other junk-art savvy sites.

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Finger Dancing

The Pipe Cleaner Dancer. Play it long enough and it turns you into a choreographer with good keyboard skills.

Silly little game. But it's fun, too. Fun enough to make you want to learn it - learn which key makes the Pipe Cleaner Man do what, learn how to create moves, so to speak, so it more and more appears like the Pipe Cleaner Man is dancing. Even though it's your fingers doing the dancing. And especially because it's your fingers doing the dancing that it gets more involving, more fun, more instructive. Just as challenging as you want to make it.

And it's simple. Simply understood. Simply made. With a pipe cleaner and a camera and a smattering of programming. And a very good sense of fun.

via Elyon DeKoven

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Many are the delightful varieties of the Falling Sand Game. Thisissand is the prequel. It takes the experience of being at the virtual beach, dropping sprinkles of sand, pretending to no one that you're artistically engaged in the creation of a Sand Painting, and interprets it into the virtual world - just dropping sand, of different colors, just that. And it turns out to be just wonderful fun. All by itself.

When you click on the link, it takes you to a gray screen. There's a little, even grayer box somewhere near the left corner of the screen. If you have any questions, click on the little grayer box, and all will be answered. Like if you want to change colors all you have to do is press C. The screen turns multicolors. You drag across as much as you want, and you return to your painting with sand of a new color gradient. Note the word "gradient." Therein much of the beauty lies. Also, beauty-lying-wise, there's the virtual sand itself, which acts like you'd think virtual sand should act if it was being serious about being sand-like.

Then there's an entire gallery of virtual sand paintings to be impressed, challenged, and humbled by. And of course you can add your virtual art piece to the virtual gallery, should you feel virtually so.

While you're in the virtual neighborhood, you might as well take the time to visit the Thisissand blog. Here, from their blog, is some insight into their reason for being:
"We are...experimenting with perceived connections between everyday artefacts, intermediality, art and play. There is no such thing as a linear plot or a particular set of expectations on it is a place for recreation and fun, and an eternal work in progress."

via Ultimate Insult

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith


Clout Archery

Roger Greenaway writes:
Hi Bernie - finder, keeper and maker of fun

Following golf + archery, you may like to know of this ...

A rarely practiced discipline today, most archers take part in clout archery only for fun.

I kept a lookout for arrows when running round the golf course today - but it was just the usual hazards, golf balls, dogs and runners coming the other way not looking out for runners coming the other way.

I confess to being only an occasional reader of your emails as they are far too distracting!
Clout Archery - competing to shoot as high and as far as possible. Lovely fun. Watching your arrow climb and reach. Reaching with your spirit to guide its flight. Practicing. Dreaming. Competing. Hoping for the higher and further. Lovely fun - especially when you don't really take it seriously. When you and your community of clout archers simply share the delight of the flight.

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith


Archery Golf, seriously

Archery Golf is in all likelihood the one variation of golf in which players take the term "fore" very, very seriously.

Sorry. It was something I had to share. Here's a slightly more inspiring observation: This has to be one beautiful sport. When you think about golf, and that teeny, tiny ball, and how delightful (and challenging) it can be to watch the ball in flight, you can almost vividly imagine the attraction of watching an arrow as it arcs its way towards an impossibly distant target.

This is the second time I've written about this sport (here's the first). This time, I am pleased to bring you further evidence of the beauty of the sport, by way of a most inspiring site, from a most devoted archer/golfer, Eugenio Ciocca. Ciocca is one of the few people to have designed archery golf courses and probably the only person to develop an Archery Golf System for training, equipping and providing for all the glorious needs of the archery golf enthusiast.

Though combining two different sports to create something new is an almost fool-proof technique for creating what I call a "junkyard sport," it is rare when the technique works so beautifully, and the result is so spectacularly playworthy that it attracts the devotion of someone of Mr. Ciocca's ample talents. Whether you play golf, pursue archery, or just know about the sports, a visit to the Archery Golf System website fun and inspiring.

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Beer Can Game

They (you know who) say that kids don't even know how to make up their own games anymore nowadays. You know, what with all that homework and moms on helicopters and sitting at the computer. That's what they say. Here, contrary to all that common sense and conscientious concern, more evidence of the persistence of playfulness and the plethora of junk to play with:
"Waiting for the traffic to clear at MIS after the NASCAR race, we invented a little game to pass the time. You basically kick beer cans on to the other persons side of a line and try to keep them on that side."


Safe, Rebellious Fun

Here we can actually taste yet another flavor of fun - the taste that comes from transforming the mundane into an expression of what? Art? The Persistence of Spirit? The Power of Whimsy? A Bunch of Different Ways to Tie Your Sneakers?

On the other foot, it's the 4th of July. Independence Day here in the United S's of A. Is there perhaps a fortuitous and unanticipated connection between a day of such vasty significance and an accomplishment of such artful triviality as shoe-tying?

This fun, the shoe-tying kind, has a flavor shared by everything you can think of that celebrates the unnecessary. Celebrating the unnecessary is also a celebration of our ability to free ourselves from necessity. And thinking that we can free ourselves from necessity leads to an almost intoxicating fun, like a fine wine, dry, yet defiant, like the taste you get decorating your house just before it goes into foreclosure.

A rebellious fun, yet unobjectionable. Rebellious, yet safe. Not like the rebelliousness we're celebrating today. Not like the fun of starting a new country, but a fun that tastes very much like that country-starting kind. Minor fun, granted, but sometimes lovely, sometimes essential.

Like the quietly delicious fun of making your signature extra fancy when you sign a Declaration of Independence.

Via Ultimate Insight

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Laundering Mom's lingerie

Laundering Mom's lingerie-nighties. Those long-ago ooh-la-las. With their tiny pleats and lace. And their telling spots and stains, "uncovering the nakedness of the fathers?" I return them to use - for my granddaughters' pretend play. To be restained in gleeful unrestrained play.

Now they drip dry over my garden of live-forevers.

- anonymous

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

In the Spirit of Street Games and Junkyard Sports

People will tell you that the days of game invention, like those described on one of my favorite game sites, Streetplay, are over - that kids are spending all their of their precious childhood online or in Little League, and are bereft of opportunity or motivation. Well, don't waste your time mourning. The Internet virtually abounds with proof that the spirit that led the last generations to the creation of new games and sports and ways to have fun is as alive as you are. Witness Joe and Jord's Ping Pong Squash Game

and, in like manner, Sky Soccer

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith


The Taste of Accomplishment for No Reason

Crafteress Ulla-Maaria Engeström is the author of the Crafter Manifesto, which can be found on her site as well as in the archives of my favorite DIY publication, Make. In her "draft manifesto," she lists 12 cogent observations about the various joys of crafting. The last is "At the bottom, crafting is a form of play."

I know the taste of this crafty fun. It tastes like accomplishment. Accomplishment for no particular reason. Ultimately, despite appearances of utility, accomplishment for its own sake. Not like prize-winning or child-bearing accomplishment. More like something deep fried, if you know what I mean. Often delicious. Ultimately as necessary as pop corn.

via Bill Harris

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Vak-Vak, The Water Splash Gun Duck Shoe

via Monochrome

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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