By Rabbi Jeff Glickman with Mindy Glickman
Inventors are always looking for sources of inspiration. A walk in the woods, a conversation with a fascinating individual or the insight that comes from sheer determination and repeated failure – all of these can be sources of inspiration.
Moments of clarity are sometimes recorded in books. These can be motivating. Perhaps the book most referred to for inspiration is the Bible.
The Bible is accessible, but can be tortuous to wade through. The wisdoms it contains have been the foundation of Western thought.
I came to game invention through my work as a rabbi with a congregation in a small town in rural Connecticut. To my fellow game inventors, I hope you find relevance in these biblical insights. We have been trying to practice what we preach, and they have pointed us towards success.
1. Proverbs 23. “Buy the truth.” This means that if you ask someone for their advice, you are indebted to them. Not only is this good ethics, but you will earn invaluable friendships, whose value is far beyond the price you pay. Offer money. If they don’t accept it, make a donation in their honor, purchase from their store or give them a gift.
2. Leviticus 19:13, “The wages of a hired laborer are not to remain in your possession until morning.” Offer to pay immediately for goods that you need. Again, this builds a good reputation. If you don’t have anything, a good reputation is a good start.
3. Ecclesiastes 9:8-10, “Let your garments always be white. … What your hand finds to do, do it with your might.” If you are going to present a game, make sure that all your ducks are in line. Don’t do it half way. Get the best set of dice, the clearest rule sheet, a video without glitches, and play it with lots of people.
4. Ecclesiastes 11:4, “He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap.” Don’t wait for the “best” time to present. Get out there and knock on doors. Lots and lots of doors. Create the right moment, don’t wait for it.
5. Exodus 36:1, “…every skilled person to whom the LORD has given skill.” Don’t think of yourself as the sole source of invention. Rather, you are the one who used your God-given talents, combined with your mentor-shown insights, to come up with something useful. You are indebted to others.
6. Job 12:8, “speak with the earth, and it will teach you.” Go outside and look for inspiration. Find some compelling values and translate them into the rubrics of a game. Games model the values a people hold dear.
7. Psalms 90:10, “Our days may come to three score years and ten, or by strength four score years; yet the best of them are but travail and sorrow.” Maybe you can find something to bring a little joy?
8. Ecclesiastes 1:9, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” Learn from other games what works. Re-invent things in a fresh way.
9. Ecclesiastes 9:11, “The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.” Make games which enable the swiftest to sometimes lose. Also, just because you got rejected, doesn’t mean that your game isn’t the best one out there.
10. Genesis 28:16, “And I, I did not know.” Some very obvious things we don’t see. Bounce your ideas off other people. They will give you perspective on your ideas.