I think I discovered this site through a link on Miss Snark's blog. Avant Game. The basic idea is to turn public spaces into places to play games, not your established traditional games so much as games that can include everyone. I love the idea. Go down to the Cruel 2 B Kind game they played in New York. That sounds awesome. It certainly shares something with a lot of the games we used in camp and in adventure education and even that I tried to incorporate in my PE classes. Now I'm not opposed to traditional games--I love most any for playing (less so for watching). The advantage of a non-traditional game, like the games in the New Games book I have, is that it's easier to just sink into the experience of the game itself without all the pressures that have built up around traditional games with some people having more experience and fierce competition that overcomes the fun. I'm also not opposed to competition itself. I love a good competition. It's when the competitiveness turns the game into something ugly, when people forget that they're playing a game.
I don't know how much of these games really tie in with this avant gaming, but I can see how they'd be related at least. In ways it reminds me of geocaching, something I'd love to do. I think the problem with geocaching, the thing that makes it not quite fit into the same category is the expense--you have to be able to afford a GPS, and I haven't been able to justify the expense. The best gaming should require as little special equipment as possible (one of many reasons I have no interest in golf).
The first link I found, by the way, was to a post about reshelving 1984 in bookstores as history instead of fiction. And then the idea was to leave behind a official-looking placard from the Ministry of Reshelving in the fiction section to direct people to where it should be, or alternately to simply put a placard in the history section saying that that section was out of stock of 1984, but additional copies could be found in fiction. I could see the actual reshelving as annoying workers quite a bit, but the second option is innocent fun, and the potential for a nation-wide game with no losers or victims.
Definitely something I'll be paying attention to in the future. Happy gaming, all!