Among amateur mathematicians, he is perhaps most widely known for his mathematical games, in particular the creation of the game of life. He is also one of the inventors of the Sprouts game, as well as Phutball. He invented a new number system, the surreal numbers, which are closely related to certain games and have been the subject of a mathematical novel by Donald Knuth.
- O' Connor, Robertson, "John Horton Conway", MacTutor biography, http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/history/Mathematicians/Conway.html
- Mark Alpert, "Not Just Fun and Games", Scientific American April 1999. online version