Will Wright Spore interview

I know I do a gaming hour per dollar calculation every time I consider purchasing a game.

Just recording this for posterity.

Back when I got started, which sounds like ancient history, back then the demographics of people who were into computer games, was totally different, in my opinion, then they are today. Back then, computers were more expensive, which made them more exclusive to people who were maybe at a certain income level, or education level. So the people that played computer games 15 years ago were that type of person. They probably didn’t watch television as much, and the instant gratification era hadn’t quite grown the way it has lately. I think in the last 5 or 6 years, the demographics have really changed, now this is my opinion, because computers are less expensive so more people can afford them. More “average” people now feel they should own one.

I do the exact same thing. Creepy.

And before I started reading reviews, I found myself avoiding FPS and Adventure and getting RPGs or Strategy instead as those genres seemed to last longer.

Your on your own here though. I buy them all, like pokemon.

I always find it weird to talk about the length of games as a major criteria for purchase, but I think a game that lets you have short but gratifying play sessions–with some sense of completion–is better than one that requires marathon sessions each time you sit down to play.

It’s the difference between World of WarCraft and most other MMOs. In WoW, you can grab a quest and do something fun in a short session, usually by yourself. In previous MMOs, you could grind a bit, but much of your time was spent traveling or rounding up your group. That 15-30 minutes of gaming was stretched to 2 hours.

The idea of a “filled” 6-10 hour game versus a 20-hour one with filler isn’t that interesting. What we should be thinking of is whether you can have 15-30 minute sessions within either game where people are continually given reasons to continue, and good points where they can stop. (Turn-based games kind of have this by default.)

It’s not like people don’t want 24-hours worth of gameplay or entertainment. People aren’t that different than they were in the past; they’re willing to sit down for full seasons of 24, after all. And they watched over 10 hours of Lord of the Rings. They just don’t want to be forced to do it in 4-8 hour blocks at a time. (Lord of the Rings had a year between “episodes,” so perhaps it’s not the best example.)

Open-ended game worlds with small, goal-based objectives within the world (which may be secondary to the main narrative) is a good way to go. Or mini-games in addition to the bigger game. (MMOs can kind of do this with crafting, or diplomacy in Vanguard.)

Seriously, you are fucking genious. And no, that is a comliment, not a sarcastic stab.

The Civ games are a perfect example. “Just one more turn”

Matthew Gallant is Roberta Williams?

Is this like a Wendy Carlos / Walter Carlos thing?

Hmmm. Three of the top selling consoles games for the US in 06 were football games, two Maddens and one NCAA, which are highly replayable games and anecdotally, I think are actually replayed quite a bit by mainstream buyers. Two were big honking RPGs, Final Fantasy XII and Kingdom Hearts 2. Only two are your traditional 6-10 hour linear action/adventure games, Ghost Recon and GoW, though they of course include multiplayer. And of course, the best selling console series last generation was GTA, which are huge, huge games which have a ton of stuff to do outside the linear missions.

On the PC side, the top sellers were almost exclusively extremely long or replayable. WoW, The Sims + expansions, Oblivion, Age of Empires, Civilization…

I think there’s some evidence that people do want games that offer a lot of value, or at least that the games that they buy happen to provide a lot of value in terms of length.

She felt it was time for a change. Again.

Well, a lot of games only have a nominal level of challenge in them, anyway…

…but I’m quite excited by the prospect of Spore, although it sounds like a different kind of thing every time I read about it. Whether it’s a toy or a game, though, if it’s as radically different from anything else around as has been suggested, I’ll be prepared to buy it for novelty value alone. :)

I have to agree with this, though in all fairness zx was singling out casual console gamers. I can respect a love for old PC games - hell, I play X-Com and old abandonware games every so often - but I also play console titles. There are plenty of hardcore console gamers as well as the casual lot; and plenty of casual PC gamers who just play e.g. WOW or the latest/shiniest FPS or RTS.

I play console games too, and a PS2 is next on my list. Like you mentioned i wasn’t making a blanket ‘consoles suck’ remark - a console is just some hardware. I think the point i was trying to make was about variety, and how recent console games, for the most part don’t seem to encourage it as it’s finacialy very risky.

lol @ Joel’s cluedo post - so that’s whom i should blame! Well not realy, i never had anything but love for all the good days i put into my AtariVCS.

DUDE! YOU ARE SO OLD SCHOOLZ YOU ROCK!!! You can really teach us kids!

The Wii just called, and would like to have a chat with you about risky innovation.

There are plenty of uninnovative console games. There’s also Viva Piñata, Dead Rising, Shadow of the Colossus, Loco Roco, and Trauma Center.

Meanwhile, the top exclusive PC games of 2006 were an EverQuest clone, a sequel to the Sims (and a pile of expansion packs), a couple of RTSs, and Civ 4–the fourth iteration to a fifteen-year old series of strategy games. The PC gaming lineup is dominated by RTSs and FPSs with minor enhancements to established formulas.

Of course, there are also innovative PC games. Just as with consoles, they’re a small percentage of the overall market.

Yeah i’d been waiting for a Wii for ages - i thought i might burst(these will never get old will they?).

And my hat is very firmly off in the direction of the descendants of Mr.Miyamoto. I might not own a Wii currently - but if i was going to step into next-gen then that would be the launch pad. However i think the poor state of the PC games industry is in part down to console gaming though, and it is a sad day when FPS+MMORPG’s(edit:+ The Sims of course) are the only two genre that still get that special PC treatment - otherwise we’re looking at shovelware all the way(bar the exception) for the foreseeable future?

loco Roco is second on my list for the PS2 - that game just looks great to me. So it’s not all doom+gloom, but behind the wonderfull sales of Madden2007 and Cars i wonder if all the back slapping we seem so good at maybe sometimes can cause displacement of our retina? Why are we making games, and is the only valid reason the paycheck or happy shareholder?

@Chet, erm Dude…did i bump into you on xbox live that time?

Loco Roco is for the PSP, Clive, not the PS2.

There’s been mention of a follow-up, but it’ll likely be for the PS3 to utilize the controller’s motion sensitivity.

That’s sad, although i’ll keep my fingers crossed for a PS2 version(as the PS2 is still the big money console, so most likely to get a conversion? - i can live in hope!), no way i want to bother with a PSP for one game though.