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10 Video Games to Boost Creativity

10 Video Games to Boost Creativity

It’s been a long time since video games have shed the image of being a complete waste of time. In fact, scientists often agree that playing video games has a direct correlation on a person’s creative thought process. Almost every video game requires some sort of critical thinking (definitely more than spending the same amount of time watching TV). I’m not saying that solely playing video games will make you a super-genius… but I’m not, not saying that either.

1. Minecraft

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    We’ll get the obvious one out of the way first. I’m going to assume that you’ve at least heard of Minecraft, even if you haven’t found yourself exploring the game personally yet. A quick search on YouTube yields an incredible amount of tutorials on how to create humongous structures, and the most creative people have designed actual games-within-the-game, such as Pacman. At that point, it’s only a matter of time before Minecraft becomes our reality a la The Matrix.

    2. Terraria

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      At first glance, Terraria is a Minecraft clone translated into 2 dimensions (think Super Mario World graphics), but it’s so much more. The game requires you to build structures to support NPCs (non-playable characters, but if you’re reading this I imagine you know that) that help you in your quest in various ways, and it’s almost impossible to progress in the game without doing so. The power-ups and armor builds that players can create as they move forward in Terraria are absolutely mind-blowing. Like Minecraft, Terraria requires either outside research, or an incredible amount of trial-and-error creativity.

      3. Little Big Planet

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        The Little Big Planet series is a side-scroller that transcends the side-scrolling genre. On the surface, the idea is to go from left to right and get to the end of the level. The charm of LPB is in completing in-level puzzles in order to find hidden stickers that are used to unlock various other rewards and puzzles throughout the game. Users can also create their own levels, and much like Minecraft, this is limited only by the player’s imagination. People have actually recreated other famous games (such as the original Legend of Zelda) within the level creator in Little Big Planet. C’mon now!

        4. Big Brain Academy

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          With versions available for the DS and Wii, Big Brain Academy consists of various games that focus on a variety of mental skills: Think, Analyze, Compute, Identify, and Memorize. With numerous exercises available for each skill set, players have a variety of ways to keep their mind fresh on a daily basis. You can also play against multiple friends on the Wii for bragging rights of most mentally with-it.

          5. Animal Crossing

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            Animal Crossing is possibly the most relaxing game on the list (except of course doing those lousy chores for Tom Nook). At any rate, you can’t fail playing Animal Crossing. You simply walk around your town visiting NPCs and trading items to add to your home. You can fish, dig for treasure, and visit other (real) players’ cities as well. When you complete tasks for Tom Nook, your home grows in size, allowing for more decorating. Though it’s a circular process that pretty much never ends, there’s a ton of variation within the game that allows for creativity and replay value.

            6. Scribblenauts

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              Get deep enough into Scribblenauts, and you might accidentally reset the universe. The game allows you to create anything you can describe and use it to solve puzzles within each stage. You can create a psychedelic rabid tyrannosaurus, a crazed purple monkey, or even a time machine. The designers of Scribblenauts anticipated almost everything the player would think of, and the amount of “easter eggs” within the game is inexhaustible. The hardest part of the game is not looking anything up and just expanding your mind to think of different creations you could invent.

              7. SimCity

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                SimCity has been a mainstay for creativity since 1989. Players create their own city—everything from building zones to utilities like power plants and water pumps. You also have to manage money correctly by raising and lowering taxes based on the needs of your city (and not spending too much on a statue of yourself or something). With SimCity, you’ll never build the same town twice; there’s always something to improve, and again, the game is limited only by your creativity.

                8. Portal

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                  In Portal, players use a special gun to create… portals… that let the character teleport from one area to another. It sounds simple, but trust me: it’s not. You have to anticipate the chain reaction your next move will have, and respond quickly to changes in your environment. While there is definitely an optimal solution to each puzzle, there are so many options for each puzzle that figuring out the best way is a long trial-and-error process. And besides the creative thought it takes to get to the end, the final boss is one of the best in any video game you’ll ever play.

                  9. The Sims
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                    The Sims is one of the most popular casual PC games out there. If you’ve never played it (which is doubtful), in The Sims, you take control of a person’s life. You make every decision for your Sim, from when he’ll use the bathroom, to who he marries, to what career he jumps into, and everything in between. You can also create the mansion he lives in, and all of its furnishings. You can also think of creative ways to torture your Sim, but don’t judge me by that suggestion; everyone’s done it at one point…

                    10. Tetris
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                      Okay, Tetris. I see you. I didn’t forget you. The original puzzle game, Tetris requires quick decisions, on-the-fly planning, and creative thought. I’m not even going to explain how to play Tetris, because if you got this far in the article, I would bet my life that you’ve played it before. Tell me that after a long session of Tetris, you couldn’t rearrange your furniture or the food in your pantry to make them fit perfectly. You can’t. End of story.

                      Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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                      Last Updated on January 21, 2020

                      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                      Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

                      your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

                        Why You Need a Vision

                        Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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                        How to Create Your Life Vision

                        Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

                        What Do You Want?

                        The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

                        It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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                        Some tips to guide you:

                        • Remember to ask why you want certain things
                        • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
                        • Give yourself permission to dream.
                        • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
                        • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

                        Some questions to start your exploration:

                        • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
                        • What would you like to have more of in your life?
                        • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
                        • What are your secret passions and dreams?
                        • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
                        • What do you want your relationships to be like?
                        • What qualities would you like to develop?
                        • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
                        • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
                        • What would you most like to accomplish?
                        • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

                        It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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                        What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

                        Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

                        A few prompts to get you started:

                        • What will you have accomplished already?
                        • How will you feel about yourself?
                        • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
                        • What does your ideal day look like?
                        • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
                        • What would you be doing?
                        • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
                        • How are you dressed?
                        • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
                        • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
                        • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

                        It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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                        Plan Backwards

                        It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

                        • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
                        • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
                        • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
                        • What important actions would you have had to take?
                        • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
                        • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
                        • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
                        • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
                        • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

                        Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

                        It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

                        Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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