I'm working through the "Think Like a Game Designer" book by Justin Gary and doing the exercises in it. The first chapter is an introduction to what makes a great game designer. The second chapter begins what I would consider some of the shining parts of this book. IT begins by talking about the one thing that we all seem to find in abundance in any creative endeavor: fear. It makes the supposition that the intersection of Ego and Uncertainty is Fear. "We wrap up our personal identity in our ideas. Most people think, If my idea isn’t good, neither am I. Given that premise, it is no wonder most people protect their ideas from criticism! It is far easier to keep ideas locked up inside where they are safe than to expose them to testing and see what really works and what doesn’t. By never trying, you never risk anything." It then talks about disentangling our ideas from our ego. One of the practices that the book encourages is writing down ten new game ideas. I've done this for the past two days so I'd like to share them with you now.
- A game about cleaning gutters (I just finished cleaning gutters that day)
- A game where a magic 8ball acts as the GM and players ask it questions in order to proceed (I think this might already exist)
- A game about cleaning dishes (apparently I was in a cleaning mood)
- A game about the computer revolution and building a computer company (OK, so I slightly cheated as I started running out of ideas and wrote down one that I've been percolating).
- A game about not saying a particular word (influenced by the bleeping of swear words on a Netflix program, though I think I've reimagined Taboo)
- A game about fear where the fear appears larger than it actually is (perhaps a dragon)
- A game about influencing swing areas of a map (influenced by a documentary of Cambridge Analytica)
- A game about listing things as they occur to you (apparently I was getting rather meta here)
- A game about trying to get the most programming from streaming services as they lose and acquire different programming
- A game about taking external stimuli into a game (which was pretty much this list)
The first list was definitely me reacting to some external stimulus and trying to get my mind to not censor itself. The second day I wrote the following list:
A game about...
- Keeping your phone charged in a crowded airport (could make this "hard mode" by trying to watch videos at the same time)
- Growing old
- Creating the perfect mixtape
- Drinking too much coffee (projecting much?)
- Shattered dreams (This could be a load of fun.)
- Weresquirrels in search of nuts (I was playing word salad here)
- Coming up with the worst parodies
- Letting go of the past
- The toes of Ozymandias (I have no idea what this means, unless it's a game about putting together the statue of Ozymandias)
- Shapeshifters in Love (Because we're watching Deep Space 9)
The fun thing was the mixtape game seems to have sparked some ideas of how that might work. But even so I think I could make a game out of each of these ideas, even though they might not be fun games or interesting games.)
The next section is about Uncertainty, which is something that is part of the creative process. More on that tomorrow.