Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Spore: the moment gamers have been waiting for

I'm not a gamer - my hand-eye coordination is about as good as my sense of direction, which is to say it's non-existent. I've never played a Wii or an X-box or a PS2 (or is it PS3 they're on now?) And yet, I am completely fascinated by the growth of the gaming industry and because of my interest in customer engagement am passionate about finding ways for businesses to use gaming in a constructive business-savvy way.

Enter Will Wright, a legend in gaming, creator of the Sims, who has just released his latest, greatest, and long-developed project: Spore. Borrowing from the ideas of the Green movement and the biological evolution, Wright has created a game that allows players to create worlds, actions taken within those worlds, and then deal with the fallout of the consequences over centuries of time. One of the oddest things about life is that we can make all of these choices and decisions about our environment, our economy, our relations with foreign worlds, but because of the long time span needed to see the full effects of our actions, we often don't live with the results. Our children, our children's children, and so, deal with the messes we make. 

Wright carries a profound belief that if we could see first hand the damage or delight we cause decades after our passing, we would make more choices that have a long-term benefit. And to top it all off, we have fun along the way creating different creatures. We get to run the world, or rather a simulation of it, for a little while. 

Tonight I was telling my friend, Dave, about my sketch comedy writing class and how the difficulty of writing this genre gave me so much more respect for comedians. With Spore, I believe that we could all benefit from playing Boss of the World for a while - maybe we would be able to see that running this planet isn't as easy as we think it may be. We are now being faced with tough decisions about our future; Spore gives us a way to try out scenario planning in a cost-effective, entertaining, and informative way.        

As Ellis Marsalis said to his son Wynton "earn your prejudices." Meaning, before you go giving your opinion on how to run something, try it out first. Thank you, Will Wright, for dedicating a decade of your life to this project for the sake of the planet. 

For photo above, click here.

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