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Sore thumbs, burning sheep and idea assembly

At NixonMcInnes we’re encouraged to spend 10% of our time ‘playing’; similar to Google’s innovation time, PlayTime (as we’ve snappily named it) recognises that playing/exploring/poking is productive and much-needed, for the good of the individual, the company and ultimately the clients that we work with. PlayTime can sometimes manifest in products and ideas directly related to the work that we do, personal interests that we have, or completely spurious tangents that make sense at the time.

Anyway, the culture of creativity we’re working hard to encourage (not easy when you have work-loads, admin etc), got me thinking about how things are made, how ideas are formed, and who forms them. If ‘there is nothing new under the sun’, then surely all creativity can be is the combining of existing things and ideas? This is something that Steven Johnson believes in, as does Seth Godin:

Architects don’t manufacture nails, assemble windows or chop down trees. Instead, they take existing components and assemble them in interesting and important ways.

This got me thinking about videogames, and these amazing examples of how users are using them as tools to create with. As a set of tools video games are unrivalled as they allow users to quickly and easily play with physics, rendered graphics and sounds in ways that other mediums wouldn’t allow, meaning that anyone with a joy pad can be an architect in the way Godin describes. Video games allow lazy creativity at worst, and at best can be mind-blowingly bendable to the point that you have no idea what the original platform is, or was. So, here are a few of my favourite examples:

A working calculator created in the game Little Big Planet, wait till a minute in when you can see the workings behind it all:

Margaret Robertson using Minecraft to make a point at Playful:

Using Kinect to make a helicopter radar:

Using Half Life 2 to create a Rube Goldberg machine:

Which is your favourite example of video game creativity? Is it featured here? Do you agree that new ideas are simply marriages of existing thoughts and older ideas?

Idiolector cat image used under Creative Commons license.

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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by NixonMcInnes. NixonMcInnes said: Sore thumbs, burning sheep and idea assembly [...]

  2. [...] are a whole array of games now that encourage the player to create their own experience. I wrote a post about this a few months ago, but I’m still amazed by the creativity afforded by these games [...]