Are Video Games Inspiring a New Generation of Designers?
In today’s technologically thriving society, one in three children in the UK has their own tablet device, with 62% having access to a tablet at home. Video game usage is also at a high, with 43% of children aged 5-7 having access to a gaming console, 66% of kids aged 8-11 and 68% aged 12-15. As app downloads and video game purchases increase, are these systems encouraging children to think and create like designers?
Minecraft, a popular video game played by 100 million users worldwide, is available on virtually every type of device – from PlayStation to iPad. With the rise in this game’s popularity, the under-15 demographic have become an increasingly large percentage of its players. The game allows users to build virtual houses, cities and worlds using 3D textured cubes representing different materials. Minecraft has proved itself capable of bridging the gap between video games and education, by applying imagination and creativity to design practices.
Throughout the games evolution, Minecraft has become more and more design driven, with players modelling architectural marvels such as the Taj Mahal, Eiffel Tower and Burj Khalifa. Since it burst onto the gaming scene in 2009, countless online tutorials have been made to teach users how to model these famous buildings, and improve their architectural skills within the platform. It’s no surprise then that the game has caught the attention of architects and the design industry. UK organization, BlockWorks even uses Minecraft as a digital platform for marketing and design. Working with galleries, museums, film studios and gaming networks, the firm creates and revitalizes virtual worlds for art installations, exhibits, and workshops.
With the growing popularity and access to technology, many similarities can be identified in the way we design within industry today as well. Collaboration and work sharing is encouraged in games like Minecraft, with users being able to join different worlds and create/build simultaneously with other gamers. There is also something to be said for the way users are able to navigate and design at the human scale within their virtual worlds – something that the design industry so often strives to do.
Today’s children are exposed to a vast array of industries and possibilities, driven largely by the advances and availability of technology. It has now become the responsibility of designers and creators to expose children to design and technology in order widen their horizons to these applications. Whether or not today’s children end up working in the creative sector is too soon to call, but through tools such as Minecraft and other related video games, kids now have more access to engage with design and technology than ever before.
Image via Egnez from Pixabay