Do you ever wonder about how people come up with their ideas?
Some are quite obviously filling a need most intuitively understand. The Slap Chop (“You’re gonna love my nuts!”) provides a safe way to chop or dice things expeditiously. Onion Goggles, well who hasn’t felt the burn from cutting onions?
In one of Neil Gaiman’s books, American Gods, I swear he was describing a creature that eats a man from its genitalia. I’m sure the “man-eating vagina” is not an uncommon nightmare or trope.
Some of my writing ideas come from the weirdest places, such as just touching a book about origami. You’ll understand what that applies to when I get The Page & The Magician finished and published.
But what about games?
Some are simplistic. There are nearly one hundred forms of solitaire all from the same 52 card deck that can be found worldwide with no language barriers.
Hungry Hungry Hippos is a little out there with its marble-eating frenzy, but there are very few rules and nearly anyone can do it.
But then there are games like Magic the Gathering that are strategic and complex. The current version of the comprehensive ruleset is over 200 pages. This particular game is over 20 years old and some estimate the total count of unique cards to be between 12000 and 20000. Cards have been redesigned over the years to welcome diversity. The language around Magic has also been evolving to make it gender neutral. I wonder if its original designer(s) had any idea it would become so expansive. I also wonder what the earliest versions looked like. Imagine play testing it. For the newbie player, such as myself, learning the game feels an insurmountable task, but I’ve been directed to a great starting resource called Level One: The Full Course.
Mostly, I think ideas come from some sort of need. Sometimes, rather than a physical or convenience need, it is more of a rational need to understand something about this fascinating world we share with so many others. Games are a fun way to learn new skills like strategic thinking, which Magic certainly requires. Improving my ability to think strategically is on my performance objectives for this year, mostly because I thought it would be a good skill to boost. I figured I’d only learn so much from whatever training work provides though and I’ve always wanted to improve my Magic skills.
Maybe I’ll design a game someday.