How to Find a Great Game Idea

One secret of getting good game ideas is to read a lot of different books and watch a lot of different movies. The key words are: lots of different resources. It isn’t necessary so wise to spend a lot of time watching same show over and over – and reading books around one theme over and over. Instead, try gathering knowledge outside your expertise. If you haven’t ever read philosophical books, then how about going to your local library and reading one? While it might sound ridiculous to read topics such as philosophy, by expanding your knowledge you can actually grow a lot and get a lots of different game ideas.

Here are some sources for getting great ideas. They’ve worked for me:

  • Cartoons: lots of great game ideas. Good ideas on what kind of monsters you could have in your game. Don’t necessarily clone their ideas – but use them as inspiration.
  • Religious texts: there are lots of ideas that you can apply to leadership, and lots of ideas that can be used in games. Besides: god games are very popular genre, so why not do a bit of research about it.
  • Anime: Japanese have really unique ideas and stories. By reading and watching anime (or manga) you can learn a lot. One friend of mine (and an Insider) is hosting a new anime site that you might want to bookmark for future use.
  • Science: There’s lots of good to steal from science. Whether it’s about traveling in space or earthquakes, there’s plenty of good ideas that you can use.
  • Politics: Another juicy area for getting ideas and inspirations. Politicians (and scandals) might be fruitful topic for a game.
  • And there’s lots of others. Pretty much everything imaginable psychology, culture, arts, technology, animals – you name it – can be a source for inspiration and ideas.

If you keep reading books only in one area, then you are limiting your possibilities. By expanding your knowledge, you will get new ideas for games and new ideas on how to solve problems.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. “Perhaps it’s due to increased bloodflow to the brain?”

    It’s the fresh oxygen that’s released as you shower (same goes for a strole down the park, etc). This will though have a negative effect if you shower really hot and for a long while due to the toxic chemical clorine ^^ .

  2. True story: the best game ideas (and solutions to tricky code) come when you get out of your chair and go for a shower.

    Absolutely. Sometimes I’ll even take a shower when I don’t need one, just to muster up some focus, inspiration, and creative thinking. Perhaps it’s due to increased bloodflow to the brain?

    I’m also a big fan of sleep (I’ve learned to use my various sleep disorders to my advantage.) I think we are all 1000x more brilliant when we are unconcious. You’d be amazed how much of an impact a 30 minute nap can make.

  3. One thing I like to do is drawing random figures, until I find something that resembles something, then I go ahead and try to finish the drawing. Sometimes some interesting ideas come up, sometimes it just ends up being a bunch of random lines.

  4. I often take a stroll down to the local news agency and check out the nerd magazines… then I look at the science mags and the design mags (including interior design and architecture).

    I find Architecture in particular to be quite inspirational as it concerns the exploration of both form and function.

  5. Aren’t a lot of games already influenced by anime, and generally not in a good way?

    A better way to get new ideas: Have kids. Or at least hang around kids. The ideas that pour out of their heads are nuts, but occasionally in cool way. (Assuming they haven’t already had their imaginations killed by videogames yet.)

  6. I’ve had lots of game ideas in the shower too.

    I think the best practice is to prototype any idea you have in your head.. it usually leads to more ideas (what if I change this to make it so you have to do this to do this).

  7. True story: the best game ideas (and solutions to tricky code) come when you get out of your chair and go for a shower.

    Works every time.

    I do 99.4% of my very best thinking when wet and slippery.

    Think about that, Juuso. Just think about it

  8. Trying to find “the great game idea” can lead to mental hang-ups. Sometimes the best ideas show up when doing something completley unrelated, like when taking a walk or daydreaming at work..

    This isn’t always the case, but it’s known to happend.

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