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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 March 13, 2019

                      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                      Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                      You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                      Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                      1. Work on the small tasks.

                      When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                      Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                      2. Take a break from your work desk.

                      Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                      Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                      3. Upgrade yourself

                      Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                      The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                      4. Talk to a friend.

                      Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                      Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                      5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                      If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                      Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                      Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                      6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                      If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                      Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                      Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                      7. Read a book (or blog).

                      The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                      Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                      Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                      8. Have a quick nap.

                      If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                      9. Remember why you are doing this.

                      Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                      What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                      10. Find some competition.

                      Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                      Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                      11. Go exercise.

                      Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                      Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                      As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                      Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                      12. Take a good break.

                      Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                      Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                      Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                      Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                      More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                      Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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