Learning about the New Games Movement was one of the highlights for me this semester. I have always had "Hippie Tendencies", and was intrigued to see a gaming philosophy that incorporated "Hippie Values". DeKoven, who made a huge impact on the New Games Movement, presented the ideas of collaborative play and the importance of the players' knowledge of the rules of the game, as well as coming together collectively to decide whether rules should be adjusted. "...By establishing guidelines, we assure each other of a common intention and mutual respect for the willingness to play, for the need for safety and trust" (DeKoven 19). Communication before, during and after play was something that DeKoven valued in general.
DeKoven introduced a game called "Zip, zorch, boing, perfigliano"(DeKoven 80), where players sit in a circle and try to pass along these phrases to the players sitting next to them without making any mistakes. The rules sound simple enough, but it's actually a lot harder than it seems. We played a variation of this game earlier in the semester, and saw how difficult the game can be. More importantly, it was a game that we all could play, and play together. The rules of the game did not, particularly, require skills of the players involved that are subject to a specific type of person. The nature of the game relies on communication, voice/speech, and little collective coordination, but that's it. Anyone can join in, or drop out, when they are ready, without much disruption to those who still would like to play.
Another game that I found interesting, and somewhat profound, is the game called "Incidental Music--Five Piano Pieces" a game where you stack blocks onto piano strings, and build a tower as high as you can. When you have reach a point where the tower can no longer hold itself, the game begins. As the blocks fall, "music" is made, hence the name of the game, Incidental Music. This is a cool idea as "the games formulation is the inverted game mechanic: it is at the moment that you 'lose' the game the music itself is created" (Pearce 19). I love the idea of player wanting to "lose" in order to win at a game. It's a completely reversed use of game mechanics to create something interested and unexpected.
A third game that sort of breaks traditional game mechanics, and could be classified as a sort of New Games Movement game, is "Rock, Paper, Scissors Tag". The game requires that the group of players split into teams and collectively decide which move their team will make against the others. So most of the traditional "Rock-Paper-Scissors" strategy is distorted because it's a little more difficult to guess what move a TEAM of people will make in RPS, than one other opponent. When the teams make a move, the "losing" team must run or be tagged by the other team, and once tagged becomes part of the other team. This is interested because typically when you are part of a team, you stick with them, but in the case of this game you could become a part of the "opponent's" team at a moment's notice.
I would like to explore more of these kinds of games in future game design projects. Fair Play, collective ruling, and dynamic/organic rules of play could be interested in the digital gaming space.