As a method for me to get to sleep as a child I would imagine myself in a imaginary world. I would picture myself alongside fellow G.I. Joe, Snake Eyes. I would imagine myself as a Dark Jedi decked out in my own outfit that I would meticulously design in my head. That’s what I really spent most of my time doing, imagining what I would personally look like in these fantasy worlds. What would my shoes look like? What color would my Jedi hood and cloak be? Would my cloak fit loosely on my body and cover the majority of my face or would it fit snugly around both my head and torso? I spent the majority of my time on designing my outfit within my head rather than living out my fantasy actions. I would picture what a perfect battle helmet would look like, what best armor would go well with it and… sleep.
Now, I can design these characters in a virtual sense, live out the fantasies via video games and stay awake during it all. In Skyrim’s character creation section hundreds of thousands of combinations are possible and that’s a very low estimate considering the multiple race options. You can tweek eye color, shape and positioning. You can design a perfect nose or, because mine is a little crooked thanks to my full face commitment to sports, something similar to Owen Wilson’s. The customization of character creation in Skyrim and many others games are nearly endless. You can create someone in your own image, as I usually do, or role play an entirely different gender. As a child creating myself as a hero was done within my head and also, through disproportioned sh*tty drawings that my sister made fun of. Not only can we create a character to our exact specifications but we can then take that character and live out a virtual existence with them.
I don’t see this as taking away from our imagination but instead improving it and letting it flourish. Creativity spurs creativity and video games encompass a multitude of creative elements. Games are practices in writing through the copious amounts of dialogue and acting (see Star Wars: The Old Republic’s recent Guinness Record). The design elements for a game’s play, creatures, characters and cities take the skills of architects, interior designers and city planners. So much creativity goes in to a game it is almost mind blowing. What is even more impressive to fathom is the creativity that results from these well made games of epic proportion. Novels based of the lore of a game are numerous. Magazine and books focused on gaming. This blog ;). Games that are an undeniable benefit to society, like FoldIt and how it helped solve protein structures.
Games have stimulated my creativity and increased my hands on experience with social media, public relations and networking – all things I can apply towards benefiting me in an eye of a potential employer. Still continuing to struggle with sleep during my ongoing job hunt I have resorted back to a childhood method, with the same amount of success but with much more material.