Why Minecraft & Roblox protect us from a hamster wheel society
Focusing only on needs, without thinking outside the box leads to a standstill
It has always been like that, and it will always be like that. I got to know this feeling myself. In my first job everything was structured according to plan A and it felt like breaking out of the norm was not wanted. I noticed more and more how uncomfortable I was getting, because I had the feeling that the clear structures were restricting my creativity.
At that time, I asked myself the question: When in my life have I been the was most creative and when was able to live my life freely, unbound by rules and norms?
An essay by Jakob Hase.
The unbound free space in which children can develop is irreplaceable
Three examples from my life quickly come to mind: building that tree house in the forest, painting pictures while listening to an audio book on the radio and composing my first pieces of music (thank god these were never published).
Nowadays many parents complain: “My child is too uncreative”, “My child only consumes passively”. I don’t believe in that. We are facing an age (which has already begun) in which children are more creative than ever. Creativity has not changed, creativity has shifted into new and different worlds.
In this blog I would like to show this new form of creativity using two examples: the digital games Minecraft and Roblox.
Playing games makes you creative and productive.
But let's start with a brief explanation. What is Minecraft?
Minecraft is an open-world game with no set goal. The focus is on exploring and discovering the game world, which is traversed by caves and other structures, as well as constructing your own buildings and devices. What is special about Minecraft is that the entire 3D landscape consists of cube-shaped blocks. This enables the player to mine these blocks by hand and use them to craft tools and many other useful things, from which he can then build almost any imaginable structure block by block. If you have no idea what I am talking about, then imagine an infinite Lego universe.
And what is Roblox?
Roblox is an online gaming platform where users can create their own computer games and play them with other users. Most games in Roblox are made by other community members. They can determine whether their own work of art/game is free or subject to a fee.
The IOWA State University has already published a study on the phenomenon of open world games (especially Minecraft), which have a “creator” component. The main statements support the thesis:
- Totally “free” play is good for creativity
- The instructions in a game can lead to a lack of creativity
The sandbox we all know has been carried over into the digital age
It is no coincidence that we highlight the “sandbox” principle in this type of game. The point of the game is to create completely new and free worlds with little to no guidelines or instructions. This approach was first explored in early games like The Sims and Little Big Planet, but has now been expanded to include creating the entire game world itself as you play. For children, young people, but also adults, this means that the process of creating a game feels as if it were a game itself.
With AVA we want to enable a multidimensional creation process
We also want to integrate this process into our AVA board game console. The aim is to offer the players enough freedom to fully develop their creativity both when playing ready-made educational or strategy games (Settlers of Catan, Monopoly, etc.) and when developing their own games.
We integrate large parts of the analogue world with real game characters in order to keep the players in the digital world and simultaneously to promote spatial thinking and similar skills. Further example of how we are shaping our approach are: Children can design figures themselves, use their own toys as figures and in the process invent endless new worlds and stories.
We believe that connecting the analogue and digital worlds is the next step
With AVA we as a team have realized our vision and the experiences of our childhood. We firmly believe that this new way of playing and creating games brings together the treehouse building memory and the modern computer game.
For me personally, working on AVA and later playing AVA is a nostalgic leap into the past. I got back the freedom I need, to let all my creativity run free.
Do you believe in connecting the digital and analogue world in one console?
What are your childhood memories that you associate with creativity?