The Frontal Cortex

Will Wright

Here are some choice quotes from Will Wright’s recent speech at SXSW. Is it odd that one of the most insightful thinkers in our culture designs computer games?

[When designing a game], we’re trying to generate the largest rulespace in a game. This is the opposite of science, where we try to find simple rules to describe all this data. There’s this topological difference…

So in some sense the entire planet is a toy. One of the really nice things with a toy like this is you can give people long term dynamics over short term sense. It’s so hard for us to think over the long term, longer than 100 years, but by using these toys we can help people to think and understand…

Movies have these wonderful things called actors, which are like emotional avatars, and you kinda feel what they’re feeling, it’s very effective. Films have a rich emotional palette because they have actors. Games often appeal to the reptilian brain – fear, action – but they have a different emotional palette. There are things you feel in games – like pride, accomplishment, guilt even! – that you’ll never feel in a movie. I felt so bad about beating my creature to death in Black & White.

Stories are about empathy, and games are about agency.