Warren Spector is cool

The only way he could be cooler would be if he spelled his name Spectre. Good interview at Gamespy, covering Deus Ex 2 somewhat, but Warren goes into his game design philosophy quite a bit. The questions are not great, but his answers are fascinating. My favorite is what he has to say about interface simplicity:

[i]GameSpy: Many new games and sequels are being “dumbed down” to appeal to wider audiences. Good trend, or no?

Spector: Since you say the words “dumbed” and “down” in that order, I think you can safely say it’s bad. Y’know, I never… God, I will never dumb down a game, I will use the word “never.” No, I mean, the word we use around here, and I hope no one in our audience hears this in a bad way – accessibility is the word here, and a lot of people hear “accessibility” and get scared. “Ooh, they’re simplifying. Ooh, they’re dumbing down.” No. What we want is, as many people as humanly possible to experience the kind of gameplay we provide. I mean, anyone who says “Yeah, I want a smaller audience. I don’t want a lot of people to see my work.” Go back to Greenwich Village and put on a beret and whatever.

We want a lot of people playing these games, and the reality is – let me give you a classic example – the reality is that a lot of the games that hardcore gamers love, that I love, that we love, that I worked on, were inaccessible to normal human beings, unnecessarily. I went to Gen Con, which is a big consumer role-playing show, years ago. On one computer I was showing System Shock, and on the other I was showing CyberMage. I’ll leave your readers to decide which of those games was great, which of those games was terrible, whether one was better than the other, I’m not even going to get into that.

I will tell you that I looked at grown men grab the mouse, put their hands on the keyboard in System Shock, and within 30 seconds get themselves crouching, leaned into a corner, unable to move, and walk away from the computer. And I saw seven year old kids reach up – they were shorter than the pedestal on which we had the joystick – reach up and have a great time with CyberMage, for half an hour. Now, does it matter which one of those games is better? If grown men can’t figure out your interface, they’re not going to enjoy your game. They’re not going to play your game. They’re not going to find out how great it is or isn’t. So what we have to do is make our gameplay accessible to as many people as possible. Is that dumbing down? I don’t think so. I don’t think so. [/i]

You go, boy!

But is he as cool as Wumpus? Does he play DDR MAX?