Wright speaks again!

Will Wright (omg I’ve become a groupie haven’t I?) spoke at BAFTA on “The Future of Games” and David Hayward was generous enough to blog his great notes (bless him!). Inspiring, as expected! “They teach systemic thinking. Players learn to analyse and play systems of rules. They can also teach us to navigate the future. They could teach kids to think long term instead of short term.” Wooo haaa!!! But you know…sometimes I’m worried that we’re all just a bit too optimistic.

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"Making Seeds Not Forests"

I’ve been a fan of The Long Now Foundation ever since I was introduced to it! For those who don’t know:

“The Long Now Foundation was established in 01996* to develop the Clock and Library projects, as well as to become the seed of a very long term cultural institution. The Long Now Foundation hopes to provide counterpoint to today’s “faster/cheaper” mind set and promote “slower/better” thinking. We hope to creatively foster responsibility in the framework of the next 10,000 years.”

They also host a series of seminars which are now available through podcast (yay!). Today I finally got around to listening to the Brian Eno and Will Wright seminar. What an inspirational force!! The combination of Brian Eno’s generative music (he mentions Wind Chimes as an example!!) and Will Wright’s Spore was just enlightening, amusing and extremely well…cozy, actually! At the end I started daydreaming about having them both around for dinner to discuss some more!
They’re attitude about their creations is pretty much summed up with Brian Eno’s “We make the seeds not the forest” comment. They were both really charming about their fascination of what they could learn from their fans. Eno has a great story about the re-release of “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts” and how the record company came up with the unoriginal idea of adding some remixes. Apparently, David Byrne came up with the idea to instead make some content available for fans to remix themselves, which proved to be a big success! Yay! Ofcourse it would have been much better to have a visual handy when Will Wright was talking about Spore, but his words and mind are intoxicating nonetheless! Interesting to hear that he actually makes’real life’ models of his worlds! I’ve always felt really bad about knocking The Sims Online, because I truely am a Will Wright fan! But where The Sims gave the ‘player’ more creative freedom, The Sims Online did not. And I’m sure that has more to do with something he talks about here – simplistic and few rules. The Sims Online has way too many rules that just leave too little freedom for ‘fun’ – whereas The Sims, does not.
There was just so much interesting going on at this seminar – and I was busy chopping up lunch for the office while listening through it – so I couldn’t take any notes. Hearing Eno and Wright’s discussion on the verb ‘play’ was a true adrenaline booster! I only wish they could’ve gone on to discuss some more! There’s loads more worth mentioning like the creation of stories and narratives – and painting!!!
Personally I’m filled with positive adrenaline juices that have eluded me for some time now. Instead of treading myself more deeply into the dark depressive cold swamp and focusing all my energy in ALL the wrong places I’m starting to glimpse a path to dry land! Yay!!!

PS
Fredrik!!! I think you’d really enjoy John Rendon’s ‘Long-term Policy to Make the War on Terror Short’ – just listened to it and I was moved! Think you’d enjoy it!

Spore…sigh!

This game is just starting to sound more and more fabulous!! I’ve just listened to a podcast from the GDC 06 of Caryl Shaw’s (Producer, Maxis) talk about “Building Community Around Pollinated Content in Spore” and I’m in complete awe! I almost feel guilty for criticising The Sims Online, but I’m sure anyone would agree with me there. And I almost think they’re kind for keeping the game going as I’m sure there are only a couple of thousand players (huh…need to check up on that) since those that still are there are still passionate about it.

Keywords for the talk: technology, content, community; generative content; small file sizes; “bragging rights”, flickr inspired tagging; stories behind the objects; massively solo player game

I’m truely pumped!!

Also check out Will Wright’s talk with BBC Technology about “User-generated future of gaming”. At one point they actually talk about letting avatars roam through different gaming spaces – interesting!!

Am I cheating if I do this?

So…I’m really into a flow of writing (expect a post on what soon) and I’m trying not to get caught up with ‘who said what and did they really say that’ glitches that often lead me astray to even more interesting reading which in the end leaves me with an even more immense sense of low selfesteem!

But along the way I keep using the phrase ‘sanbox games’ and a question popped up in my head (I’m sure if you could look inside my head you would probably only see a big shiny question mark, anyways). So I thought that I would just use this blog to put the question out there instead of using an hour to track it down and loose my ‘flow’!

Does anyone know who came up with the term ‘sandbox videogames’? I feel very strongly that it must have been Will Wright – but then again, Henry Jenkins is a strong candidate as well. So if you know who started using the term and where first – I would love a little hint in the right direction! But I seriously do feel like I’m cheating by asking and not doing the fundamental research that I should do all by myself! Oh the morals of life and the desire to do things right!! Will they ever stop tormenting me?