This text was written for a Game design assignment.
What do games need?
Games should involve our creativity as much as skill.
More and more free games gain popularity, as a younger audience take over the elder. The goal of most of these games is to make profit, and all means are being employed to make the player spend money or to gain money behind his back using ads or selling his personal data. Keep in mind that if we use a free service, this service uses us as a product to make money. And because most players won’t spend money on free games, the game needs us to play the most amount of time possible, to watch a lot of ads, that it can make money off. Thus, free games don’t require us to have any kind of skill or creativity, they just want us to play the longer we can. Therefore “Merge” type games have gained a lot of popularity these days, they don’t require us to have any kind of intelligence, skill or creativity (even chimpanzees can play it).
Even if this type of game is not the major parts of games, some games use competition to make us play longer. However, competition rarely highlights creative behaviors (most competitive game are games where players fight each other). Some games try to support creative behaviors, even in a fighting game, where you can have a creative strategy (for example, the card game Hearthstone, in which you create your own deck to battle other players). The creativity is often limited by resources (cards, for Hearthstone) or skill (if you can use a wide range of weapons to defeat enemies, but some are better than others. To be creative and use other weapons, you must be good at the game in order to compensate the bad weapon).
Rare are the games that value creativity more than anything else. I can understand that this can be unfair, as some people are creative right away, and some feel not creative at all. We often think that it is useless to play these kinds of games, as we will always lose because we are not creative. However, we don’t say that when the game is skill-involved. We have to understand that creativity can be developed as much as skill or intelligence: through practice. You can get more creative by playing creative games, or by playing with creative people.
One thing I would like to point out is that competition is not an enemy of creativity. The competition process can value creativity as much as skill. For example, a game jam offering prizes can be a very competitive environment, but the valuable competence would be creativity instead of skill, for example in an e-sport competition.