10 Ways to Come Up with Game Ideas

10 Ways to Come Up with Game Ideas

Stuck in a Slump?

So, you’ve just finished and released your most recent game. You had a nice (well deserved) week vacation and you’re ready to get back to some indie game development. But, your brain is blank. You feel like your brain is still in the Bahamas.

Well, lucky for you, here are 10 ways to come up with game ideas!

1: Classic Inspiration

Many of the classic game titles were built by small teams, or even just one person. I’m thinking way back to the Atari 2600 days. Maybe do a little research on some of those games and build an idea off of that.

Take Tanks! or Space Invaders, for instance. Very simple games, where you are a top down shoot to kill. Many current games are built off of those ideas, like Ikaruga, the mobile game Shooter, and plenty of other games from over the years. Keep it classic!

2: Old Ideas are New Ideas

Go through some of your old concepts, or (if you’re like me) check your game idea black book. I keep a notebook where I write down ideas when they come to me, so that I can come back to the idea later on. A little black book of ideas is always nice to have.

What if you don’t have old ideas to look back on? Don’t worry, there are 8 other ways to come up with game ideas.

3: Ask a Friend

Friends always have ideas. Their ideas are not always gold, but it may help to get your juices flowing to ask a friend for some game ideas.

4: Ask a Forum

There are tons of forums out there. From indie game developer forums to topic forums. They all have active users who love to help others out. Just ask on the forums for some game ideas!

5: Brain Dump

This is a fun one. Basically, you set the timer for an hour or two, and just write (or type) whatever words or phrases pop into your head. Most of the ideas will be crap. But you may come up with a few gems! This is a great way to come up with ideas for your games jams.

6: Find a Game You Really Hate

You remember the games you hate. You know why you hate them. You could go back to the game you hate (whether it’s the mechanics, gameplay, GUI or art), and make it into something you like. Ask yourself, what can you do to make that game better?

7: Genre, Book, Art

What is your favorite game genre? What is your favorite book? What is your favorite art style? Answers those three questions, and you have an idea!

8: Take a Shower

It sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. A shower is everyday meditation where you are not only cleaning your body, but your mind is clearing and refreshing from your day of work. And then, all of a sudden, the greatest idea in the world comes out! And also, showers are great.

9: Story of Your Life

Something interesting has happened to you at some point in your life. Birth alone is an interesting story (or gross for some people). Write down some interesting things that have happened to you and get some ideas from that.

10: Dreams and Nightmares

This is always an interesting one ecause sometimes your dreams (or maybe someone else’s?) don’t make sense. So you can write down a few dreams you remember, and try to build your plot line and game idea off of it.


Like the saying goes, no idea is a bad idea, some are just better than others. You aren’t always going to come up with the best ideas in the world, but they are a good start to get your brain juices flowing.

Remember, just stick to a prototype. If you go too big too soon, you’ll get overwhelmed, become discouraged, and probably quit. I know from experience; it happened to me with my first game prototype, like 10 years ago. I didn’t know any programming, and became overwhelmed when I tried to make my game work. I ended up quitting game development for about a year, and did some game press work. The press work helped me to learn a lot about game development, and that even a game fail, is an experience of development win.

I hope these ideas help you come up with your next game idea! Of, course, these are only a few ways to help you get started. Tell me some of your favorite ways to come up with game ideas in the comments below!

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