Playing together rather than against each other, as we do in cooperative games, fosters a shift from personal concern with getting ahead toward collaboration for the common good and happiness for all. Playing together is a powerful way to experience, and therefore know, that win-win solutions are possible and enjoyable. This much has been stated many times.
But it occurred to me today that just pondering the possibility of cooperative play helps us make the big shift. Just thinking and talking about the idea lets us imagine working together enjoyably, and provides hope that we will learn new ways of relating to one another—ways that will help us address the big problems we face as a global community. Wouldn’t you agree that this is true? You’re halfway to the experience of cooperative play just by imagining it. I’m not saying the idea of cooperative play is as transformative as the real experience of playing a cooperative game. But I am saying that the idea and discussion are also potent and inspiring.
For instance, there are plenty of adults who love the idea of cooperative games but do not see ways to incorporate them into their lives. Some of us don’t have lots of other people around to play with. And some folks are of a serious mind and don’t really like games. For all these folks, the very idea of cooperative games is still of value. The simple theory is a joy to think about and is as pleasing to the intellect as a neat mathematical proof: People learn through play and direct experience…so if we are in an era where people need to learn to cooperate, by all means, let’s bring on the cooperative games! It’s good to know that this tool for cultural and personal change is out there, finding channels of expression, bringing joy, and transforming the world one play-date, party, workshop, or classroom at a time!
So even if you haven’t yet played a cooperative game, and even if you don’t have the opportunity to do so soon, let’s keep talking about the win-win way: cooperative play! Tell a friend!