How can creativity be brought into games — is it even possible? Designer Eddy Léja-Six examines the nature of both creativity and games to get to the bottom of the question: which games allow for creativity, and how do they encourage it?
Creativity and games are among the most important human activities. Children spend a lot of time playing and inventing, often at the same time: “Now you’ll be the bank robber, and I’ll chase you with this invisible dinosaur!”
Many adults will tell you they do not play games because WinMine (a.k.a. Minesweeper) “isn’t really a game.” Others will assure you they are not creative, as “they can’t draw properly.”
In fact, these two activities are part of everyone’s life, and turn out to be as natural and spontaneous as breathing; almost as useful too.
As video game developers, we know how to entertain players and offer them meaningful and emotional experiences. But do we have the necessary tools to allow players to use their creative mind while they play? How did the games that attempted it fare? Should we even try to mix gameplay and creativity?