Game Idea: Fun Physics Evolution (Think Spore with less realistic evolutionary history)
What spore tried to create was a game about a single celled organism, following its biological descendants as it tries to follow the same evolutionary track as humans. The interesting parts of this were the evolutionary choices that the player presided over the creature that it created, e.g. long legs but stubby arms emphasizing defense over aggression, eyes predominantly higher on the creature to see objects and other creatures at a distance, no mouth making communication and “making friends” with other creatures next to impossible, these are all fun and biologically interesting aspects about the game. It takes real life animal psychology, animal biology and evolutionary postulation and tries to convey and teach these aspects in the most passive of ways, where the player isn’t reading text and trying to absorb information in order to progress (i.e. Edutainment games) but where the player sees their failures in their creature creation because they forgot to put eyes on so it can’t see it’s environment making surviving, or even simply navigating, a difficult task.
The game I’m describing is one where you change the evolutionary rules for progression. A game where the traits of a creature being naturally selected aren’t determined because of predatory or geographic pressures, but in spite of them.
Or even better, Fantasy Spore when the evolutionary traits that you design for your creatures are based off of mythical abilities that are found in lore in the various starting “continents” that you could end up on. Befriending a tribe of werewolves while the moon isn’t out because of your enchanted lute being played by your 4-armed Minotaur because this branch is less brutish than isn’t hulking aggressive cousins and having them protect you from the pack of Flying Lamprey that are nearby because they don’t like the way that you look.
You can even theme it to Sci-Fi, but take the fantasy tropes that you would normally find and instead make it a cyberpunk, robot theme where “The System” is trying to create the “perfect robot” evolutionarily. Bigger blades, better analytic capabilities, enhanced agility in two-dimensions but bad in a third. This already sounds like the original spore, but with the removed restriction of the “human evolutionary track” the game has more room to play with the types of “evolution” in the form of types of upgrades to your creature or robot.
Maybe this goes as a theme in game design, but if there’s a design choice that you create, framing the design differently can elicit a different perspective. With a different perspective on your design, you can create something with a similar but different spirit which creates a different experience to the game itself.
Other game ideas can be found HERE