Will Wright, best known as the man behind SimCity (and other Sim games) and Spore, has signed a deal with the Science Channel to create programming for the cable station. These are not games, they're TV shows, though they'll have interactive online components.Game developer
I've always divided people into two types: visual and verbal. The first time I talked to a game developer at length, I realized there was a third type of person.
Several years ago, when I worked at a game development company, I had the opportunity to sit down and have an in-depth conversation with the company's chief game developer. What I gained from that conversation was a knowledge that deep-down gaming people see the world in terms of relational information and of decision trees. That makes it sound less magical than it is. This dev described his thought process when he entered a department store as one of finding opportunities, identifying goals, avoiding obstacles, securing rewards and understanding and relating to fellow agents. The dynamism of this view was intriguing.
If Wright brings anything to TV programming - never underestimate the ability of a genius in one thing to be a boob in another - it may well be in a renewed sense of story, one that is neither the unfolding of information-loaded pictures, nor of narrative, but of the constant ebb and flow of agents interacting on a reward trajectory. It will be interesting to watch, whether or not any of it is interesting to watch.
Top photo by Javier Aroche
Bottom photo by Jacob Metcalf