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Come Out And Play NYC 2012

July 12, 2012

This year’s Come Out and Play Festival in NYC takes place this weekend, a festival that celebrates playing games outdoors in public spaces. This year, there’s an “After Dark” component, that takes place on Friday night in a more urban setting as well as a more traditional “Field Day” component on Saturday on Governor’s Island.

One of the questions that sometimes gets bandied about in game design communities is “Why aren’t people inventing new sports?” Well, part of the answer is that it’s an invalid question: because sports have a social / societal component, it isn’t possible to simply “invent” one, unless you’re maybe the Supreme Cultural Dictator. So people are inventing new sports, they just don’t seem that new because the rules have been around forever, and they’re just entering mainstream attention. Things like MMA fighting, and even lacrosse can probably be considered “new” sports, depending on where you are, and what your cutoff for “new” is.

But the other answer is that “but people are inventing new sports all the time, if by sports you just mean physical games.” Lock children in a gym with some random mismatched equipment, and they’ll have a new “sport” before you know it. Adults create new sports too, but since there isn’t a lot of money in it, it doesn’t tend to get a lot of media coverage. So the only people who tend to focus on those aspects are people like students, game designers, and “transmedia” companies. These are the pools that Come Out and Play draws from for it’s new outdoor game / sports.

I hope to check it out on Saturday, and write up anything interesting that I encounter. If you’re in the NY area, it’s a nice way to spend the afternoon, and they even have a section specifically for family-friendly games for children.

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