Can Video Games Boost Creativity?

The idea that video games are mind-numbing is complete nonsense. Certain video games can in fact be very educational and in some cases can even expand our minds. This post delves more into how video games can be used to boost creativity.

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Kids who play video games are more creative

A study by Michigan State University found that, on average, 12 year olds that played video games were more likely to do well at creative tasks like writing stories and drawing pictures. 

Use of other technology such as mobile phone usage and the internet was also included in the study, but such tech usage was found to not have the same impact on creativity. This would suggest that video games are much better for triggering our imagination than other tech mediums.

Some games inspire creativity more than others

Researchers Seyedahmad Rahimi and Valerie Shute have argued that although video games can enhance creativity, some are clearly better than others for boosting our imagination.

Games that encourage us to go through a series of levels with challenges that have only one solution are good for enhancing problem-solving, but not good for encouraging general creativity. Instead, games need to be more open-ended with more freedom to explore and customize. Some of the best games are those that encourage players to build levels or fully customize characters.

Minecraft is a prime example of a game that nurtures creativity. There is no set objective to Minecraft – while Minecraft survival servers do include the option to level up, there are no set missions or storylines. Instead, players must make their own adventures. The most creative element of the game is of course the ability to design and build structures within a seemingly endless map. This has led to some players reconstructing entire cities and building their own fantasy kingdoms.

Other games like LittleBigPlanet, Roblox, The Sims and Garry’s Mod similarly involve building levels and worlds. These are commonly known as sandbox games – like a kid’s sandbox, they encourage players to play around and build things. Sandbox elements can also be found in many other games such as Fallout: New Vegas, Portal 2 and Animal Crossing. Not all of these games are kid-friendly, so bear this in mind if you’re looking to buy a child a game in order to boost their creativity (Minecraft, Roblox and LittleBigPlanet ARE all kid-friendly). 

Of course, video games aren’t the only way to boost creativity

There are other ways to boost your creativity without playing video games. If you want to become more creative yourself or you want to inspire a child to become more creative without them become addicted to video games, you could explore other creative activities and exercises like:

  • Reading books
  • Drawing or painting
  • Building with Lego
  • Composing your own songs
  • Writing short stories
  • Writing poetry
  • Creating YouTube videos
  • Photography
  • Experimenting with makeup art
  • Clay modelling
  • Paper crafts
  • Board games like Scrabble and Pictionary
  • Creating your own choreographed dance

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