Games People Play

More New Games

More New Games…and Playful Ideas from the New Games Foundation

Submitter: The book about new games is from the early 1980’s and to me it looks like it was put out by some dirty  hippies who wanted to play ‘games’ that taught lessons and allowed for lots of group groping.
Holly: Well, it’s certainly seen better days physically, anyway. I’d weed it on condition alone.  Sucks to be the girl at the far right of this picture.  I mean, she doesn’t get a back rub in the “group back rubs” that you’re “all set up for” at the end of the game.

Pile Up

Basic Computer Games
Basic Computer Games
Edited by Ahl
Same Submitter: The book about computer games was put out in 1978. Thank heavens computer gaming has evolved to the point where it doesn’t require one to have a degree in computer programming to play them.  If games had stayed like the ones in this book then the PC would have gone the way of the 8 track tape.
Holly: Oh, man…lines and lines of code!  My dad used to copy thousands of lines of code from a magazine so that we could play games like Zork on our Commodore 64.  That was in the mid-80’s…quite advanced compared to this 1978 book.  This book is interesting, but useless in a public library.


  1. Oh, the nostalgia! I read “New Games” when it was about 10 years old, desperately looking for ideas for entertaining a birthday party of some fifteen 5-year olds. The appeal of the book for me at that time was that its theme is cooperative games—no winners or losers, just fun for everyone. I was trying to get away from the usual competitive party games to avoid having to deal with tearful losers.

    I wonder if there are some newer books on cooperative games.

  2. Holy cow. My dad owned that BASIC book (there was a red “advanced” version too). Wow, that brings back memories of slow-running text-based games on the old black and white TV.

  3. Those aren’t back-rubs. It’s a cooperative game where everyone gets in a circle and sits on the person behind them. If everyone is doing it right and trusts in the group members, you can sit and no one falls over. If one person falls, the whole groups falls. When I was a HS teacher we would use it as one of our fun group games/trust exercises along with trust falls and the like.

  4. That New Games book came out around the time I was a camp counsellor and youth group leader, and was well known at the time. As others have mentioned, the games are cooperative games, where there is no winner or loser, just fun and are great for team building and ice breakers. I remember parachute games being popular at the time too, and may be included in this book, or in a separate book (my memory is fading over the years, lol).

    But yes, this edition looks very worn and could fall apart at any moment and should be weeded because of that. And that computer code book reminds me of why I dropped out of high school computer class.

    My brother had this book… I remember spending hours typing those instructions into the computer… and saving them on a cassette drive… (not quite an 8track, but close)

    It makes me feel old.

    Interestingly enough there is a whole subculture of people who have commadores and program for them as a weird retro hobby (think Renaissance fair for techo geeks) I am sure there is someone who would love to buy this gem… but it def. needs weeding.

  6. I had that Computer Games book and used it to program my Commodore 64!!! OMG I feel old!

  7. That Basic Computer Games book was the textbook for a programming class that I took in high school in 1981. Serious flashback there.

  8. Oh wow, that book brings back memories. I remember using it when I was trying to add more games to our IBM machine. There were a few other books, but I remember the illustrations from that one so vividly. I’d certainly pick that up at a sale, just for old times sake.

    Ah, the late 80s and my sad, sad attempts to learn programming through books like that. The neon green glow of the screen.

  9. And it inspired me to look…and yup, the basic computer game book is free online:

    atariarchives claims it has permission from the copyright holder. Might have to download this tonight and flip through it.

    Ah, what did we do before the internet? Oh yeah, we went to the library and got ten year old books on programming ;).

  10. I’m amazed at how many people have commented on seeing that computer book. I had it, too, and used it to create some pretty nifty games myself on my TRS-80. You’ve gotta embrace your nerdiness.

  11. Does this “New Games” book contain a game called “HaHa”. My dad insists there was a game where everyone laid in a circle, but everyone would put their head on someone else’s lap and then laughing because it would be contagious and everyone starts. It’s something my brother and I haven’t let him live down and quite frankly, it’s one of the few references to things that can still bring me to tears laughing about.

    1. We played “This is a solemn occasion,” but it didn’t include the X-rated posing! Yikes! I liked “Where’s the star?” You crouch in a circle; leader asks “Where’s the star?” All repeat. He points, “Over thar!” All repeat. On last time, leader points AND leans into neighbor. Everyone topples over–try it! 🙂

  12. My brother and I learned to program with a little BASIC book in the eighties. He’s a computer programmer now – and he he still writes little games for fun. I’m not sure about books that have you simply copy lines of code; but I have been looking for some good (current) books and programming tools so that my kids can learn to program computers and not just use them.

  13. I would like to join the New Games Foundation. (Presumably not affiliated with the New Kids on the Block.)

  14. My friends and I spent many hours entering programs from computer books like this one. One friend would read aloud, and the other typed the lines of code into the computer; as we went along, of course, the television screen (nobody had a dedicated monitor then) filled with big blocky lines of code.

    This is absolutely one to weed. Nobody will do that any more. But I disagree most vehemently with the comment of the submitter about being glad computer games no longer require entering the text lines of a top-to-bottom script evaluation language. If there even were new books (or magazines — there used to be whole magazines with various short programs to manually enter) like this, I would be recommending purchasing the things. As it is the Web provides people with all sorts of ready-made stuff, but nobody has the journey to get there much, any more. ‘Cept for the kids who did this, back in the day…. That’s where the stuff you download comes from. It’s those kids.

  15. (Oh, and Holly: Your dad didn’t manually enter Zork on that old C-64. That was a sold game. Cost maybe $40 back in the day.)

  16. I saw the computer games book in a library when I was about 10 or 11 years old (mid-1990s) and was really confused because the games didn’t resemble anything I knew how to do with our 80286 PC. I think most people in my generation and later don’t know what to do with a command line interface…

  17. I remember new games from college in 1978-79, and I recently researched them again for use as a substitute teacher. Many of them are too touchy-feelly for today, but that just means we’ve become more paranoid, I think. In the late seventies, we didn’t think of all touching as perverted, the way we do today.

  18. Confession time- I own the New Games book.

    Decades ago I had to lead a P.E. class with one rule- everybody had to be moving- nobody waiting to take a turn or sit on a bench.

    I got some strange looks. Five minutes later we had a gym full of laughing, moving people.

    Now I have a bookcase holding weeder books- aghhhh! I’m not cool!

  19. Apparently the “New Games Foundation” still exists, according to a Google search. Not that that ancient book shouldn’t be weeded, but the guy who wrote that book is still around, promoting New Games.

  20. I agree with Marijo, there has been a huge Moral Panic about touching anybody. Here in the UK we have to have CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) checks done on us & a government certificate to prove that we’re not perverts before we are allowed to read ‘Each peach pear plum’ to the Under 5s.

    As for the computer game books: file away in Reserve Stock. They will (soon) be very, very valuable. Face it, they’re extremely interesting, even if for all the wrong reasons. And think how much people in a few years’ time will laugh at The Sims, World of Warcraft, Farmville, Grand Theft Auto, etc., etc.

  21. My now 23-year old brother learned to program via the Basic book. Around the age of six, I think–and this was in the nineties. These things aren’t as valueless as you think.

  22. In uptight communities, like the one I live in, the chair game would be forbidden, because, well, dang.

  23. I have that BASIC book! It’s still at my parents’ house in great condition. I’m going to have to dig it out now.

  24. I’m a Girl Scout leader, and the “New Games” book and (yes!) “More New Games” are still being used to teach leaders great games to play with the troops.
    They’re actually terrific – little or no equipment, big or small crowds, indoor or outdoor, all ages – and no one wins or loses.

  25. The Basic book brings back memories; I had a copy and I think I actually tried out a couple of the programs in it, back when I was still a teenager. The great thing about those kinds of programs was that you could then change, personalize, and improve the games to your liking.

  26. I personally typed over half of the games/activities in that book into our TRS-80 computer (updated with 16Kb of RAM!)

    I am feeling very, very old right now.

  27. The ‘Games’ cover looks like the inspiration for the original High School Musical logo with everyone jumping mid-air on invisible wires.

  28. Wow… my first computer programming book!

    I still have that thing on my shelf at home for nostalgia purposes. Although, I did go back and rewire a few of them in C++ as a training execize when I was in college learning C++.

  29. That “Pileup” game looks like group sexual harassment.

    I’m totally fascinated with programming, but every time I’ve tried to learn it I’ve been unable to. (They say you should learn new languages when you’re young, but I don’t think they mean C++.) The BASIC-type computer games strike me as an interesting idea: Would they work in Visual BASIC? And more importantly, would they be worth the time and effort of typing it all in?

  30. Adding my voice to BASIC Computer Games chorus. I have the red one at home, including penciled in ideas in the front cover for my own game I wanted to write.

    There are now freely available versions of Zork and all the other Infocom games. Start here

  31. I not only still own the BASIC Computer Games book, I was just looking through it the other day! Brings back memories of the old TI 99/4 and typing in all those lines… But leafing through those old game programming books can also generate ideas for new game design.

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