Each week Eazel are going to look at important, interesting and innovative individuals that have helped shaped the gaming industry, past, future and present. First up is a man who’s innovative games created their own gaming genre and got everyone from grannies to teenagers excited about computer games…
Some game developers have earned their stripes for creating wild, imaginative games that transport us mere mortals to wonderful worlds of fantasy but some have inspired and astounded us by making astonishingly exciting games who’s gameplay mirrors real life! Will Wright is one such developer.
Wright is the mastermind behind the much loved Sim City and the world’s best selling PC game of all time, The Sims. He has managed to enthrall men, women and children world wide by inventing addictive simulation games that don’t require players to kill, shoot or destroy in order to win.
Wright’s first venture into the wonderful world of game design came about in 1984 when he developed Raid On Bungeling Bay for the Commodore 64. While developing this game he began to realize that the creation process was his favourite part of creating video games. Wright began to ponder about designing a game that allowed the gamer the opportunity to build their own world. He believed that this type of game would be enjoyable to play and would appeal to people’s creativity as well as their love of computer games.
Wright had trouble convincing others about his idea and it was not until he formed Maxis with investor Jeff Braun in 1986 that his dream of creating a building game became a reality. In 1989 Sim City was born.
Wright and Maxis received enormous success and a wealth of critical acclaim when they released Sim City. The city building simulation game truly captured the imagination of gamers and non-gamers a like.
The aim of their innovative game was to take control as mayor of your own city. You are given a empty piece of land and it is up to you to build and maintain the metropolis of your dreams. SimCity enables you to develop industrial, residential and commercial estates but it also requires you to use your head. In SimCity pragmatism is desirable. In order to build a booming and happy city you need to ensure that its citizens have access to basic resources, pay a just amount of taxes, have transport to home and work and have means to protect themselves from the devastation caused by natural disasters i.e. Floods, fires.
SimCity truly captured peoples imagination and it became that best selling PC game of all time and retained that title until 2000 when Wright invented a new, unusual and extraordinary type of simulation game that got the entire world in a tizzy…
Not with content with creating a game that allowed gamers to build and control their own cities now Wright wanted to design a game that let you control lives! And so he invented The Sims! A strategic life simulation game and one of the most famous computer games of all time.
The Sims allows you to create and control your very own virtual family called Sims. You need to help them manage their finances, build a house and take care of their basic needs. Essentially The Sims allows you to assume the position of a god, who’s decisions and actions will determine the success and happiness of their minions. Sims are allowed a certain amount of free will, if they are very hungry they may snack from the fridge or if they are exhausted they may head to bed, but in general the gamer has control over how they live their lives.
The simple idea of The Sims appealed to even more people than SimCity. Maxis had created a goldmine, Wright had discovered that humans love to play god!
As a result The Sims success Maxis have continued to develop and enhance gameplay, the latest release is The Sims 3 where you can dictate your Sims traits and their talents. But the fun isn’t about to end there as Maxis have announced that they will be releasing The Sims 4 in late 2014. This version will apparently contain Sims that are more sensitive and emotional than ever before. Watch out world, The Sims are becoming scarily realistic!
With Wright seemingly having conquered the world with both a city building and life simulation games he decided that there was still another area of creation that he hadn’t touched, species creation! And so in 2008 he introduced the world to Spore.
Spore is an action, real-time strategy and role-playing game that allows a gamer to control the development of their very own species. From a microscopic organism to an intelligent and social creature you care and maintain your being in an intergalatic setting. Upon its release Spore garnered praise from critics and was instantly loved by players but it did not receive the same mass audience as SimCity and The Sims.
Will Wright is truly one of the most interesting, successful and important game designers of all time . Not only did he created highly successful games but he created a totally unique genre of computer game. Cheers to you Mr Wright and hopefully there will be many more strange and wonderful creation games from you in the future!