"Play hard. Play fair. Nobody hurt." / by Katie Edmonds

This is the ethos of the New Games Movement, named to reflect its objective of establishing a culture of play in the 1960s. These outdoor community games were deigned to create a new means of public engagement, where people played together for the sake of play itself.

"People charged the ball from both sides, pushing and cheering. Slowly it began to move, first toward one end, then back to the other. The game got hotter. There waas plenty of competition, but something more interesting was happening. Whenever the ball approached a goal, players from the winning side would defect to lend a hand to the losers... That first Earthball game went on for an hour without a score. The player had been competing, but not to win. Their unspoken and accepted agreement had been to play, as long and as hard as possible." The New Games Book p.9 as quoted in Rules of Play p. 528

The aesthetic that produced this movement has faded, but games themselves have continued to edge toward the spotlight. The combination of mobile technology, diverse player demographics, and an overwhelming surge of efforts to "gamify" all sorts of experiences, what can the phenomonon of play for the sake of play do to balance these elements in a way that empowers the player to define their role rather than merely accept one which is assigned to them?