Will Wright is in a giving mood as he donated 9 huge paper notebooks filled with notes on some of his most important games – The Sims, Spore, SimCity and SimCopter to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games. It has to be fascinating to be able to check out his works of art – even if they are just sketches. Read the full press release below. Hey Will, if you have any more works, care to donate them to me? 😉
ROCHESTER, New York—Will Wright, creator of The Sims, co-founder of the game development company Maxis (now part of Electronic Arts), and universally acknowledged as one of the most important computer game designers of all time, has donated a collection of his personal papers to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games in Rochester, New York.
Nine graph paper notebooks filled with drawings; small, precise, hand-written notations; and inventive doodles will allow researchers to follow the creative process of some of Wright’s most important games—The Sims (2000), SimCopter (1996), SimCity 2000 (1993) and Spore (2008). The materials show how Wright brainstormed ideas for the games and conceptualized their play mechanics. They also feature notes about business matters, as well as outlines for public presentations that reveal his philosophies and methods of game design.
“Games do not spring out of the minds of game designers full grown, like Athena from the head of Zeus,” says ICHEG director Jon-Paul Dyson. “These papers document the creative process behind some of the most important games of our time. They have transformed our society, and we are pleased to preserve this record of how Wright created them.”
Says Wright, “I’m proud to help support the International Center for the History of Electronic Games. They are preserving an important part of our culture that is frequently overlooked by society yet has a fundamental influence on who we are. I know of no other institution that is covering this topic as comprehensively as they are.”
Considered the master of the “God game” genre of video games, Wright distinguished himself by focusing his games on everyday worlds and ordinary life as opposed to games of fantasy, myth, and violence. He came to the world’s attention in 1989 with the creation of SimCity, which allows the user to create and manage a modern city, and went on in 2000 to create The Sims, a virtual dollhouse in which players care for a family in a suburban environment. In an interview in the New Yorker, Wright said, “It occurred to me that most books and movies tend to be about realistic situations. Why shouldn’t games be?” Wright’s most current creation, Spore, released in 2008, can take players from a one-celled planetary organism all the way up the evolutionary chain to intergalactic traveler conquering other worlds.
Some of the Will Wright materials will be on view at eGameRevolution, an original, highly interactive exhibit on the history of electronic games produced by ICHEG in partnership with the National Museum of Play® and scheduled to open at the museum in Rochester, New York, on November 20, 2010. The 5,000-square-foot exhibit will follow the history of video games from pioneer Ralph Baer’s first Brown Box games to today’s high tech Xbox 360. Guests will be invited to enter a recreated, old-fashioned video arcade featuring more than two dozen operating historic video games or visit one of several emulator stations around the gallery and challenge themselves to more than 40 classic and contemporary PC and console games.
The International Center for the History of Electronic Games collects, studies, and interprets video and other electronic games and related materials and the ways in which electronic games are changing how people play, learn, and connect with each other, including across boundaries of culture and geography. ICHEG holds the largest and most comprehensive public collection of video and other electronic games and game-related historical materials in the United States and one of the largest in the world. ICHEG’s collection includes more than 22,500 electronic games, platforms, and related materials that illustrate how the games have been conceived, developed, sold, and used. These materials include packaging, advertising, publications, electronic game inspired consumer products, literary and popular inspirations of electronic game imagery, personal and business papers, and other associated artifacts and documents that represent or illustrate the impact of electronic games on people’s lives. Learn more at www.icheg.org.