Human beings have a unique capability to create. Sure, beavers make great dams and bees build remarkably intricate hives. To any other species reading this blog, I mean no offense. Humans, though, have a special way of creating consciously and purely for their own entertainment. And the process of creating is exciting like nothing else.
I remember having a special feeling as a child when I’d draw a picture or compose a simple song on the piano. My art was (and remains) subpar, and the song was only about 15 seconds long. Nevertheless, I remember thinking how cool it was that I had created something from nothing at all. Nobody else in the world will ever draw a picture or write a song exactly like mine. Even at 4 or 5 years old, creativity was the avenue by which I started to feel like my own person.
For the last few years, I have lived the life of a typical college student. Assignments and responsibilities flooded my to-do list, and I could no longer spend hours writing a silly story or running a “beads-on-a-string” store at my dining room table. Instead, I expressed my creativity through other channels. I wrote essays about topics which interested me, planned charity events for my fraternity, and even arranged a song for my a cappella group (which unfortunately was scheduled for this semester). I channeled my creativity into specific purposes. The childlike days of being creative purely for its own sake seemed to be over.
That is, until I was home this past winter break. I found myself with some refreshing free time and decided to pursue a board game idea that had been in my mind for months. I had the idea during an economics class called Game Theory, but I had little time during the semester to explore it. One interesting thing about creativity, at least in my case, is that it comes in quick bursts. On this particular winter evening, I had an epiphany about how I wanted the game to work, and ideas were flowing through my head late into the night. The ideas from that evening really laid the groundwork for the game.
Working on this game brought that familiar exciting feeling that I remember so fondly from childhood. I was working on a project for no purpose other than to express my creativity. Of course, this project was much more sophisticated than the projects of my childhood. I had an innate understanding of board game mechanics and game theory principles, and I was trying to create a game that would be as fun as possible.
Once I felt proud of my draft of the game, I invited friends over to try it out. This experience brought a unique kind of satisfaction: the feeling of seeing my own creative work in action. When we played the game that evening, it transformed from a simple idea on paper to something real. Seeing other people enjoy and contribute to my game was really neat. This feeling was replicated dozens of times during the playtests of the following three months.
When Kerry offered to form Moraine Road Games with me and publish my game, that was a validation of my creative work that I had never experienced before. Because I have always been interested in business, the opportunity to build a business out of my own creation seemed like the best of both worlds. And it has been.
The stages that lie ahead in developing our business will offer more opportunities for creativity. This blog is one thing which I look forward to keeping up. There will also be the process of designing and implementing a marketing strategy, a crucial task which will require creative thinking. Marketing is a lot of work, but I expect it to be fun given how proud we are of our product.
I hope that Moraine Road Games succeeds for the obvious reasons. Everyone who starts a business wants to see a return on their investment of time and capital. But I hope that we succeed for reasons beyond that; I hope to be able to continue the fulfilling creative work that goes into running a games business like ours. No matter where life takes me, I know that I will always find the time to engage with creative projects.
For those reading this blog, I encourage you to explore your own creativity. Despite what some people claim about themselves, everyone is creative; we are all capable of experiencing the joy of creating something totally original. Our society has a tendency to discourage adults from creative projects. We often associate creativity with rebellious aspiring musicians or elderly ladies knitting. In reality, everyone can pursue a creative project and experience the satisfying sense of individuality that it brings. It can be something as simple as cooking a new dish, scribbling a pattern on a notepad, or delivering a speech at a (post-pandemic) party. We ought to support each other’s creative endeavors. I hope that you’ll support mine!