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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Inspiring Creativity

I love my job most when I get to inspire creativity.  One way I do this is to point students to some of my friends or acquaintances who have achieved success in fields that they are interested in.

For example,  my friend Kory Heath has designed some great games, both for the iPhone/iPad and the board and card variety.  I met up with Kory yesterday for the first time in probably four years.  I reflected on his work and realized that for almost a decade now his games have served to entertain my after school game groups and reunions with my former students.  I pass along these links below in hopes that one or more could be an inspiring launch pad for a creative, curious young gamer or programmer.

Kory is probably most well known among board game players for his game Zendo.  It is a fascinating inductive puzzle game.  He regularly gets email from teachers who use the game in class.

When it comes to fun games for iOS, these three are recommended:

  • Tesla Blocks - This is a review of the most recent game he programmed.  My son has recently been hooked on it.
  • Blockhouse - Here's a great twist on a sliding puzzle.  Be sure to look at the article on that page about how he built the game.  It's a good read for any aspiring game designer.
  • Werewolf - This is Kory's version of the classic parlor game.  It's a great implementation that I highly recommend.
As a creative individual, Kory always leaves me with much to think about after our conversations.  Here's an interview I did with him several years ago.  It provides a glimpse into our common interests and why I enjoy the chance to work with him.

One story I love to tell about Kory was when we first made contact online.  I had just read and been amazed by his design history of Zendo, so I sent him an email.  I told him his work sounded fascinating and I suggested that he come to Protospiel, a game designer convention that I hosted in Michigan.  He was several states away and the convention was in only a couple days, so I told him he should attend the next year.  He wrote me back almost immediately to inform me he had just finished packing to leave for Protospiel in the morning.  We met that week and had an amazing time talking about possible game ideas.  One of them eventually turned into Why Did the Chicken...?.

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