Game design & creativity

Game design & creativity

George Land and Beth Jarman in their book Breakpoint and Beyond: Mastering the Future Today, present their famous experiment with the paper clip. The researchers wanted to examine the resourcefulness of the over a thousand students during their life in a school environment. In order to do so, they performed the same test to the same students when they were five, ten and fifteen years old. Students that would surpass an amount of possible answers to the paperclip question were considered “divergent thinking geniuses”. After analyzing the results of the tests, the researchers found that 98% of five-year-old students that took the test were classified as geniuses. It turns out that the same students while growing, performed worse and worse on the test, since only 30% were classified as geniuses when they were ten, while when being fifteen, only the 12% of them could propose a sufficient number of answers.

Creativity can be both learned and unlearned!

Games are a great tool for developing someone’s creative skills. From one side, games offer diverse perspectives on a variety of issues, helping players have a holistic or different than normal perspective on things and on the other hand students can work on game design, a multi-disciplinary and cognitively challenging procedure.
Game design consists of various components, each of which comes with its own particular challenges and learning benefits. This process includes the use problem solving, problem posing, artistic, expression, technology, narrative skills, while helping potential game designers have a better understanding of the world around them.
Which are the tools that could foster creativity during game design process?
Following are just some proposals:

  • The suspension of premature judgement and the lack of filtering of ideas.Create analogies and metaphors, through symbols, etc., by finding similarities between the situation, which we wish to understand and another situation, which we already understand.
  • Build imaginative and ideal situations (invent the ideal vision).
  • Find ways to make the ideal vision happen.
  • Relate things or ideas which were previously unrelated.
  • Generate multiple solutions to a problem.

The potential of game design as a tool for learning is great. Whether creating physical or digital games, different challenges arise that help designers evolve and develop their problem solving skills, flexibility to different situations and proposal of novel solutions. This is just the beginning!

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