The creative process should be joyful, playful, and just plain fun, says Al Beck, professor emeritus who taught visual arts for 40 years. Beck disdains games that focus on winning. "The development of creative skills seems inexorably tied to an attempt to measure the outcome," Beck says. "As our goal-oriented, success-swept society directs its best resources to the end-product, even pleasures are focused on this attitude."
So Beck developed a game where creativity is the only motivation. The object of his game, "Imaginative Symbol-Association," or I S-A (pronounced eye-say), is in the process. There are no winners or losers, although Beck provides an optional point system for those "who hesitate to play without some type of minimal goal or reward at conclusion. The scoring is considered a vestigial pacifier by its inventor and not an essential element of I S-A's play."
For ease of use on the Internet, we have renamed Beck's game, "Be Creative."
Play the GameBe Creative involves the use of 30 symbol cards, illustrated above and on the following pages, which were carefully researched by Beck. The game is played in rounds, during which each player picks an increasing number of cards and creates an association from the symbols. The players agree to an arbitrary time limit (10 seconds, for example), in which they must come up with an association. Puns are not only acceptable, they make the game more fun.
"The greater the flexibility," Beck says, "the more convoluted and bizarre the responses can become."
What you need:
- Symbol cards (print the symbols and cut into cards, or recreate them).
- 2-6 people, of any ages, per set of cards. To include more people, simply print additional sets of cards. Beck says, "A unique feature of this game is the potential for older and younger people to play together without handicap to either."