User Created Gaming

9 01 2008

I’ve been a huge fan of the Sims series for quite a while now and I just keeping shaking my head when I think about the game itself. It’s truly addicting! And I think it’s because the player basically creates their own story. I notice that when I play, I give my Sims back stories and personalities. I get attached to certain ones and others I dislike. There is always some sort of emotional investment in the Sims. The player can create their own objectives and take their time and their own path in order to achieve these goals.

A while ago I watched this video, Will Wright is introducing the game, “Spore”. He says, “I don’t want the player to feel like Luke Skywalker….I want them to feel like George Lucas.” This is a perfect quote to describe Will Wright’s game, The Sims and Spore. In the Sims, he gives the player the freedom to create their own characters and their own goals. There is some slight direction with the aspirations meter and such other things like that in the game, but those things aren’t exactly making you do them. The player can decide to start off with one male sim in a small house with little money and have him work his way up to the top! The player could create an entire family and have them be the richest sims in the neighborhood. There are so many options that really let each player have a totally different experience.

In the game, Spore, Wright uses this freedom with user created content. While the Sims does have user created content, Wright really utilizes it in Spore. From the options the player has when it comes to evolving their species to when and how they begin to become more civilized, the options are almost endless. When the game starts up, it uses the internet to collect data from other users and places that planet or creature in your world or universe! So it truly is a unique experience for each player.

This all goes back to RPG’s, where you can customize your armor or weapons, etc. Players love to have an individual experience and to create! As Will Wright mentions, all children love to create and as they grow up they sort of lose that same feeling of freedom to do so. Games like the Sims and Spore rehatch that same feeling of freedom to create and customize the whole new experience.

Many new games are all about the downloadable and uploadable user created content! With the start of Xbox Live and Playstation 3’s Home, the idea of being able to play someone else’s level, who maybe doesn’t have the knowledge of programming or so, but has the toolset to create a level, gives them the chance to share their ideas with others across the world.

I like this idea because it really unites people in all different countries. I think it’s a great educational tool as well, because it makes people more cultured when they meet people in other countries who can share and give their ideas and opinions on your work. And its a great tool for future game designers to learn what is fun. They can now create levels with pre-existing tools and no other knowledge of programming and have people all over review their work.

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