Readers, meet someone who has been very influential in my thinking about the importance of adult play:
Bernie runs a blog called Deep Fun, which focuses on the importance of play. I've heard him speak through the NASAGA organization that I've mentioned before. If you've seen me in my "I am less competitive than you" t-shirt, it came from this blog.
Bernie's posts make me think about why games and play are important and I continue to take things from his ruminations and apply them to my research, teaching, and life. I recently ran "Recess" for the students in the dorm where I am a resident scholar and we played many of the games from the Playing for Laughs section of Bernie's blog. Many of the games have no goal other than to enjoy each other's company, and while this baffled the students at first, they soon got into it and were enjoying the activities.
Another one of my new pushes for gaming in libraries are low-cost and free games. Most of Bernie's games require very little equipment and can be played in either indoor or outdoor spaces. Given that one of the problems with gaming in libraries is the budget, using games that require nothing or very little eliminates that problem. I've talked about his Junkyard Games concept in my book, and continue to present that to libraries as a way to help them integrate game design into a low-cost program.
I've been inspired by this concept of low-cost games, and have designed a storytelling game called "Crossed Paths" that I will be running later today for the 400+ attendees of the Minnesota Library Association. I will be writing up that game and putting it here at Play Matters soon.
Consider this to be a whole-hearted recommendation (and thanks) to Bernie and his work. What he has done has certainly made a difference in my life, and if you spend a little time with what he is sharing, it's sure to make a difference in your life as well.
One of my favorite conferences each year is NASAGA. It starts Wednesday night and runs through Saturday in Valley Forge, PA. It's a chance to explore games and simulations in traning and teaching - you play many games and explore how you could apply those games to different settings.
More information is at http://www.nasaga.org/page/conference-2011
You can still sign up at http://www.regonline.com/builder/site/?eventid=976185 and get hotel rooms at http://www.radisson.com/nasga/! Come, learn, and play!