Crafting and Creativity in Sandbox Online Games

Whether it’s anĀ  virtual world or a physics-powered creative paradise, the following games allow players to fuel their imagination and craft anything they desire. They are a fun way to pass the time, or even just test your design skills. URL

Sandbox online games like Minecraft are widely recognized as having benefits for casual gamers that range from increased creativity to improved decision making and executive function. These effects stem primarily from the game’s unstructured free play mode. However, studies are now highlighting that these games also have significant potential for use as formal learning tools in schools.

One of the key reasons for this is that sandbox games encourage a form of “undirected play” that closely mirrors real life crafting activities. This type of play nurtures creativity, critical thinking skills, self-direction and executive function, similar to the proven benefits of children engaging in unstructured free play.

Beyond the Screen: Understanding Social Interactions in Online Games

The dimension of player expressiveness focuses on the extent to which a game’s crafting system provides reasonable choices for a player, given the context of the gaming domain. For example, games like Besiege and Kerbal Space Program enable players to improvisationally create within an undefined recipe system, while also supporting socially embedded creativity through the sharing of inventions in forums outside of the game.

Additionally, the degree to which a game’s crafting system supports player progress in the game is also important. For example, games that require a separate watch-it-run or simulation phase after crafting typically support progression by allowing the player to see their creations theatrically come to life as a result of their suspense-building work.

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