Inclusive Games

by Bernie DeKoven on October 23, 2012

Inclusive games. Contrast this to games where, if you make a mistake, you are “out” until the game is frackin’ over. Or games you’re not allowed to play because you’re not “good enough.”

Inclusive games. Games that everybody who wants to play, can play. Games where no one is ever in the mush pot or anything other that keeps them from playing. Games where anyone who wants to play who happens to be in a wheelchair, or blind, or young or old, or can’t speak English, or can’t speak at all – gets to play.

The idea of inclusion was the key to most of the games we played during New Games festivals. Just as key to what makes “pointless” games as genuinely fun as they are, and all the games you play for laughs as deeply funny as they are.

The games that are played by a play community are, by definition, inclusive. In a play community it’s assumed that you can change the rules if you need to. If somebody comes along who wants to play, and the game that’s being played is too hard, too confusing, too violent, too quiet for him to share in the fun, you change the game, or you find a different game, and if some of you still want to play the other game, you play two different games.

That way, the games we play can be competitive or cooperative, simple or complex, very challenging or just plain silly, depending on who wants to play what. That’s what was so new about New Games. And, sadly, still is.


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