Thoughts: Three creative ideas for video games

5 mins read
Creative opportunities abound

The games industry is at a point now where any kind of non-traditional ways to play are possible. The genesis was probably the original Wiimote, which showed the industry that people will buy into peripherals in a big way if they offer an interesting and creative way to play games, that peripherals need not be relegated to niche games and genres, such as was the case with dance mats or steering wheels.

Since then we’ve had balance boards, better motion controlling, hands-free controlling, exercise peripherals, music instruments, augmented reality, and soon courtesy of Activision toys that can jump into our game worlds. This opens up so many different opportunities and game developers have barely begun to scratch the surface of what can be done.

Indeed, the Wii U is at this stage so full of possibility that many games developers, gamers and investors have been left scratching their heads trying to work out exactly what it is.

Here are a couple of ideas that I personally would love to see happen in the new world of video games, regardless of which console (or tablet) they pop up on:

Make your own graphics!

1) Miniatures gaming… with miniatures painting. One of the thrills of playing tabletop games, whether that’s Warhammer, wargames or even Dungeons and Dragons, is in painting the miniatures to suit your particular aesthetic design.

Thanks to touch screens or motion controls, this can now start to happen in video games too. It would be great to be able to buy a wargame, and be able to “paint” your miniatures before taking them to battle. Imagine being able to paint your miniatures on an iPhone or iPad app, and then, through the cloud or something similar, transfer the painted armies to the PS3 for battle online. That way, everyone would have their own individual armies, and what makes these hobbies special finally makes the full jump to the world of videogames.

Geotagging: perfect for spy games

2) Geotagging games that are actually fun. I don’t necessarily have specific ideas on how this could work, but the iPhone and other smart phones these days have complex geotagging capabilities. It would be great to see developers make use of those in interesting ways.

The obvious one would be for a marketing game developer to create a real-life real-time treasure hunt on behalf of a retailer or vendor. Or perhaps a game of “tag,” where you play with other people who own the game, similar in style to the Nintendo 3DS’ Street Pass abilities.

And I’m sure smart developers would have far better games in mind that could use this geotagging than my basic ideas above, but this technology is an unprecedented opportunity to have game worlds interact with the real world, and the opportunities there are exciting.

LittleBigRPG. Make it happen!

3) User generated content turned up to 11. We’re still in the early days of this (I’m talking about console gaming here, PC gaming has had user mods for years and years, though I hope to see it become more simple for the laypeople), but user generated content in games like Warioware DIY and LittleBigPlanet have added hundreds and hundreds of hours of content to these games.

It would be good to see this trend develop further, and open things up further. RPG Maker on consoles, for instance, is long overdue for a proper upload and share portal. Being able to upload and download RPGs from a LittleBigPlanet-style portal would be just about the best thing ever, from an ease of use point of view.

This is just a couple of thoughts, of course. The opportunities for real creativity in video games is huge right now. So what are some of the game concepts that you would love to see happen?

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