Saturday, December 8, 2012

Creative Expression in Social Gaming

The other day I heard a talk by an Executive Game Designer for Zynga. One of the points he talked about that I found the most interesting was the importance of "creative expression in social gaming". He said that having elements of the game where the user/player can express themselves is a key aspect in creating a successful social game.

The example he gave came from the game Farmville with the idea of creating art from hay bales. Players would save up coins to buy hay bales, to create massive complex mosaics on their farms. This task alone provides no further achievements in the game, however users would spend massive amounts of time in the game performing these actions.

Here are some examples I found using Google:


  1. This is great! I noticed that creative expression is characteristic to some of the computer games I remember playing as a kid. For example, in one of the Putt Putt games, you were allowed to customize Putt Putt to be whatever color you wanted. In "The Logical Journey of the Zoombinis" you can customize your character with a helicopter beanie, roller skates, bow tie, sunglasses etc. it somehow gives you a more personal connection to your character and makes you feel like you have more of a stake in the game.

  2. That is really cool. There are a lot of games out there where you can freely create what ever you want. However, I think people like the challenge when you can take something that is "not initially creative" and then add some original to it. I guess that is one aspect of creativity. The challenge or thrill of finding new ideas or solutions in a situation no one thinks of doing.

    I personally want to see a Yoshi field though...

  3. I definitely agree with Graam that a lot of people like to make art out of things that weren't intended that way. I've seen a lot of screen shots from games where they would take a variety of characters or objects and make them into something you could recognize. The one below was my personal favorite from Halo that someone made.

  4. yep, I agree! Another example is people creating a Mii on the Wii that looks like a famous person / character. There is even a website called devoted to this topic. You can see tons of examples and even instructions on how to recreate them.

  5. #10 I like this a lot. The fact people seek out ways to create art in a game or interface that isn't necessary known for such endeavors is pretty awesome. Plus it allows for art that doesn't require the hand skill to create these images, just inspiration and motivation.