“Through the restructuring of play, New Games is attempting to bring man into harmony with his environment, provide space for families to play together, and eliminate the barriers of age, sex, race, and economics from leisure time activities. Rather than the winning-at-all-costs attitude, New Games brings joy and self-expression to the play process.”

— Pat Farrington, first director of the New Games Foundation, 1975.

The New Games Foundation

“The New Games Foundation was an organization that hosted free community play events in parks where everyone was encouraged to ‘Play Hard. Play Fair. Nobody Hurt.’ They believed that physical play was vital for everyone, that no one should be left out of the activity, that little or no equipment is required, and that the rules of play should be ‘dirt simple and fun.’ While they believed that competition and cooperation should co-exist, winning or losing was not important. Rather, the process of play was emphasized as games were readily adapted or changed to fit the circumstances.”

From Play and Playground Encyclopedia listing for “New Games Foundation” (https://www.pgpedia.com/n/new-games-foundation).

For more details, see the Play and Playground Encyclopedia listing for “New Games Foundation” (https://www.pgpedia.com/n/new-games-foundation).

See also a more recent take on New Games including an in-depth historical timeline: (https://newnewgames.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/new-games-08-3.pdf)

A Very Brief History of New Games

A Point Foundation Project

Among the most remarkable projects funded by Point Foundation (set up to give away the profits from The Last Whole Earth Catalog) was the very first New Games Tournament held at the Gerbode Preserve in the Marin Headlands of Northern California. Brand had a major hand in its organization and design.

Those active in facilitating the New Games movement (the “new games players,” as we sometimes refer to these leaders), included among others:

  • Stewart Brand
  • Bernie DeKoven
  • Pat Farrington
  • Andrew Fluegelman
  • Dail LeFevre
  • George Leonard
  • Bill Michaelis
  • Nancy Miller
  • Ray Murray
  • Burton Naiditch
  • John O’Connell
Game: Earth Ball
"Earth Ball" — “There are two kinds of people in the world: those who want to push the Earth over the row of flags at that end of the field, and those who want to push it over the fence at the other end. Go to it.”
Game: Lap
The "Lap Game" where a circle of human chairs was formed in which one person sat on the lap behind him while being the chair for the one in front of him.

Andrew Fluegelman played the role of publisher and editor of the New Games books.

Bernie DeKoven and Dale LeFevre, among others, built their careers in playology integrating their New Games experiences.

Bernie DeKoven

Bernie is the author of The Well-Played Game (originally published by Doubleday in 1978 and reissued in 2013 by MIT Press) as well as Junkyard Sports, A Playful Path (over 654,000 downloads), and a CD Recess for the Soul, demonstrating how to have more fun in your inner playground.

Over the course of his 45-year career, Bernie has explored how fun and playfulness can positively affect every aspect of personal and interpersonal, community, and institutional health. Many of the most important trends in games today, from large-scale community games to casual game apps have roots in Bernie’s influential ideas.

He continues to make his work publicly available through his seminars and websites.

Dale Le Fevre

Dale has traveled around the globe presenting New Games workshops and events, writing books about them, and producing streaming videos/DVDs which people can use to start their own New Games programs. He has worked extensively across the US, Canada, India, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries.

New Games Books/Videos

  • The New Games Book
  • More New Games
  • New Games for the Whole Family (in the revised form now called The Spirit of Play) by Dale Le Fevre.
  • Best New Games videos have now been made into 5 DVDs available here.