Game Design Game Development Games General

Improved Creativity Through Serious Games?

I believe I found this link through Gamasutra sometime ago: Breaking the Grip of Dominant Ideas In Games: What Serious Game Projects Have To Offer Entertainment Game Developers

It basically describes the positive impact serious games could have on general game development. One of the most interesting quotes challenged the prevailing theory that “ideas are a dime a dozen”.

The field of serious games – with its intrinsic creative encounter of game developer and non-game professional – the latter involved in the real strategies and “games” of business, military, medicine, education, science and so forth – could offer itself as a form of “outside help” to entertainment game creators, even if this is a secondary effect. We game developers would be smart to take advantage of the opportunity.

Many people today in the game development (and other) industries see ideas as cheap. You’ve heard it said “Ideas are a dime a dozen.” This is not true. In fact, the idea that ideas are a dime-a-dozen is itself a dominant idea. What is true is that gimmicks – or little ideas – are cheap. Gimmicks are what is a dime a dozen, and everyone can think them up. True ideas, though, are exceedingly rare and extremely valuable. True ideas are visionary.

3 replies on “Improved Creativity Through Serious Games?”

But what is a true idea?

The true ideas sound exactly like the gimmicky dime-a-dozen ideas that get pitched to you all the time when someone hears you make games for a living. In fact, there may be no difference whatsoever… it may all in the implementation. Nobody recognizes it until after it’s been proven, and then they kick themselves saying, “I could have done that!”

Sure, but it seemed like a dumb idea at the time.

Like Tetris. I’m sure a lot of developers kicked themselves for not coming up with something so simple and yet so popular first. B-)

I suppose you simply have to gain the experience necessary to be able to tell a “true idea” from the rest.

To some degree, yes, but I think experience may blind you to it as much as anything else.

A lot of ‘experts’ dismiss these stupid ideas that turn out to be winners. Oh, like the idea of letting people play your MMO for FREE and simply buy items in the game for real money! INSANE! STUPID! Everyone knows subscription is the way to go! You get a constant stream of revenue every month, and…

Uh,oh. Whadayamean the people who implemented this stupid idea first are laughing their way to the bank! D’oh!!!!

A lot of times it’s just a factor of luck, timing, execution, and of course filling the need. Some of the “killer ideas” of today were the failed ideas of 5-10 years ago. But they failed not because the idea didn’t have merit, but because the timing was wrong, our culture has changed, or the execution was sloppy, or it had some critical piece WRONG that made everything else fall apart, or they marketed it wrong, or whatever.

Did you know that the VCR was invented and first marketed here in the U.S.? Yeppers. But the company that brought it to market (I can’t remember who it was) was a TV manufacturer and insisted on combining it with a small, crappy television. People didn’t want to replace their nicer TVs with this dinky little thing in the 1970’s, so it didn’t sell. The idea was abandoned in the U.S., and it was apparently a bad one. But, as the Japanese taught us a few years later, the idea was GREAT. But the execution was lacking.

So I think it’s a lot more complex than that. I’m back to the “dime a dozen” camp — a GOOD idea is a dime a dozen, bad ones are worthless, but it takes a HECK of a lot more than just an idea to become something awesome.

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