Bernie DeKoven may be a guru of fun but he’s got a serious message for all of us. We need more playfulness!
This game designer and fun theorist was a pioneer in computer game design and instrumental in the New Games movement. He’s worked in the development of the Lego game system, as well as designed games for Ideal Toy Company, Children’s Television Workshop, Mattel Toys, CBS Software, Automated Simulations, and much more. (Check out the interview I did with Bernie a year ago.)
His new book, A Playful Path, is jam-packed with awesomeness. It’s made up of tools and ideas to inspire the possibility-building, wide-open glory of playfulness. DeKoven writes,
Fun is at the heart of things—of things like family, marriage, happiness, peace, community, health; things like science and art, math and literature; like thinking and imagining, inventing and pretending.
Sure, the playful path can enhance relationships, advance careers, and promote health. It can also help us deepen into who we truly are, beyond the limits of rules and score-keeping. As DeKoven calls it, becoming “embiggened.”
For adults, following a playful path is a practice, something you put into practice, and then practice some more. When you were a kid, it wasn’t a practice. It was what you did, always. You had to be reminded not to be playful. And you were. O, yes, you were. But now that you have become what you, as a kid, called “an adult,” you find that play is something you have to remind yourself to do, playful is something you have to allow yourself to be.
And once you again take up that playful path you knew so well, you discover that it’s different, you’re different. You can play much more deeply than you could before. You are stronger, you understand more, you have more power, better toys. You discover that you, as a playful being, can choose a different way of being. A way of being as large as life. A way of being you, infinitely.
Written in short one to two page segments, it’s perfect to read on an as-needed basis, sort of an antidote to all the not-fun that drags us down. A Playful Path is an entertaining book. It’s also wise, true, and entirely useful. Just like play. Get your copy in paperback or as a free e-book.
For more of Bernie DeKoven you can follow his blog, rummage around his site (a great resource for game ideas), hang around him on G+, check out his Indiegogo campaign, and read the MIT Press’ re-release of his groundbreaking book, The Well-Played Game: A Player’s Philosophy (affiliate link).
“Play is how we have learned to learn. Instructions? We don’t need no stinkin’ instructions.” Bernie DeKoven