Watch Will Wright Discuss Addictiveness In Games

Watch Will Wright Discuss Addictiveness In Games

Sims creator Will Wright offers a short, yet poignant argument against the idea that games are a novel scourge.

Whether you believe in a videogame's ability to induce physical addiction in unwary children, or think that the idea itself is laughable, I want you all to spend the next minute and a half watching the video embedded at right.

In it, gaming demigod Will Wright (he of SimCity, The Sims and most crucially SimAnt) dissects the idea that media itself -- no matter what form it may take -- is inherently designed to "displace" a person. His description of a 16th-century monk reading alone initially sounds like a horror story of a wildly addicted gamer, but being the canny speaker that he is, Wright turns it around to show that the idea of people becoming intractably drawn into fictional worlds has nothing to do with games themselves, and everything to do with man's desire for escapism.

Much as the blame for juvenile delinquency has shifted from comic books to rock music to games over the past century, Wright seems to argue that this ongoing controversy over addictive games is merely the latest iteration of elder generations desperately scrambling to explain away anything they can't easily understand (read: their children) by blaming whatever seems most popular at the time.

I should also point out that this video was posted courtesy of the new BAFTA Guru program, an online initiative that "brings together some of the most exciting voices in Film, TV and Games in one handy hub" with the goal of inspiring future artists and creators. It's quality stuff, and I highly recommend spending time on the website, watching the clips and smartening yourself right up.

"Smartening?" Is that the right word? Wait, I meant to say "macroknowledging your thinkgoo." Yes, that's much better.

Source: BAFTA Guru

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Earnest Cavalli:
Wright turns it around to show that the idea of people becoming intractably drawn into fictional worlds has nothing to do with games themselves, and everything to do with man's desire for escapism.

Indeed. One of the major reasons why I like this site is because of the term "Escapist". Sometimes, certain people are more prone to desire specific forms of escape, whether it's going to a theatrical showing, reading a book, or playing a game.

For example, I've decided to drown out the displeasure from finding out that a young woman I'm interested in is going on some kind of date tonight with the smashes and explosions of 2 thousand zombies (so far) in Dead Rising 2: OTR.

*watches video*
So it's the BOOKS that are warping are children's fragile minds!

Wow! Spot on Mr. Wright! People need to accept the fact that video games are just the new books, movies, rock, whatever. Though in 30 or so year i'll look down on the next medium, as the devil's tools, most likely :3

Well said Mr. Wright.
Now thinking about it, the exact same thing could be applied to the whole violence debate.

In before argument of games being different cause their more immersive. I have one word for that argument: Twilight.

Books? HA! Think bigger! The written word of any sort is most definitely a scourge upon all mankind. Socrates was against it.

His point is a good one, and well made.

*clap

Formica Archonis:
Books? HA! Think bigger! The written word of any sort is most definitely a scourge upon all mankind. Socrates was against it.

Not even Socrates understood the true power of stories (be they fiction or historic): the ability to distract mankind from their inevitable existential dilemma.

From the moment our ancestors had the ability to tell stories around the campfire just to pass the time was the moment we had started to become efficient and dominant enough that survival was no longer the sole primary occupation of our time.

From my own limited understanding, the point where these stories and our objective need for survival cross, ultimately creates "culture".

It's a tad ironic that the guy who brought us some of the most "addicting" games of all time is arguing that games aren't addicting. Covering his ass, perhaps?

I kid. I've loved his work since my uncle gave me his old copy of SimAnt and a crappy hand-me-down Windows 3.1 computer to play it on.

Atmos Duality:

Formica Archonis:
Books? HA! Think bigger! The written word of any sort is most definitely a scourge upon all mankind. Socrates was against it.

Not even Socrates understood the true power of stories (be they fiction or historic): the ability to distract mankind from their inevitable existential dilemma.

From the moment our ancestors had the ability to tell stories around the campfire just to pass the time was the moment we had started to become efficient and dominant enough that survival was no longer the sole primary occupation of our time.

From my own limited understanding, the point where these stories and our objective need for survival cross, ultimately creates "culture".

naw, I thought Socrates didn't like the written word because it made children lazy, seeing as they didn't have to remember everthing they learned by writing it down. He understood stories, he wrote thought some up himself.

To be honest anti-game feeling isn't on anywhere near the sacle it has been in the past; the problem comes with desperate media looking for a good old fashioned perant rattler. The god fearing Raganite small-minded suburbanites always need something to mask their general dissturst and hate of young people. The SCOUTUS case was a worry but recently there has been little to worry about in terms of game censorship.

Latinidiot:

naw, I thought Socrates didn't like the written word because it made children lazy, seeing as they didn't have to remember everthing they learned by writing it down. He understood stories, he wrote thought some up himself.

But that's the point: he didn't realize that the stories weren't the initial cause of their laziness; it was society becoming more efficient compared to when he was young (the written word redefined civilization).
His methods were outmoded, and he felt the next generation wouldn't have the drive to move forward (when they would). Typical "traditionalist" dilemma, really.

Formica Archonis:
Books? HA! Think bigger! The written word of any sort is most definitely a scourge upon all mankind. Socrates was against it.

Pretty ironic since the most interesting thing about Socrates and the reason we know him today is because of Plato's writings.

Video games in general being addictive, no. Some on-line games (some mmorpg's, etc).....

And he is talking above about immersion not addiction.

Where's the link to the actual content? If I click on the video, it's just an ad for the content. If I click on the link to BAFTA Guru, it's just the front page. Did the URL get changed after you posted this or something? Why wouldn't you just link directly to the video on BAFTA Guru?

Atmos Duality:

Latinidiot:

naw, I thought Socrates didn't like the written word because it made children lazy, seeing as they didn't have to remember everthing they learned by writing it down. He understood stories, he wrote thought some up himself.

But that's the point: he didn't realize that the stories weren't the initial cause of their laziness; it was society becoming more efficient compared to when he was young (the written word redefined civilization).
His methods were outmoded, and he felt the next generation wouldn't have the drive to move forward (when they would). Typical "traditionalist" dilemma, really.

Uhm... Socrates was against writing, because it had no discussion value. True knowledge, so he said, is gained by two people arguing back and forth, to discover the Truth. This is impossible with the written word, were only the opinion of one person is explained.
Which is also why he was opposed to democracy, as politics are not about actually being right, but about pretending you are and convincing others to accept your truth.

Burn the books
Play more video games
Save the minds of our children

OT: Going to have to watch the full 25 mins later when I get off work, he makes very interesting points

You know he is totally right. We all require escape at some point in our lives, games are just the handiest, most interactive means of doing so. I can read a book or watch a movie and be like 'Whoa wouldn't it be cool to do that! Yeah I wish I could be that cool!'

I can stick on a game of Just Cause 2, grapple to a jet bomber, parachute into a base, kill a faction leader, Grab a car, battle on the roof and bonnet, wire it with C4, explode it seconds after jumping onto another passing car and use it to ride off into the sunset while looking smugly at my wife and being all: 'Pshh, look what yo' man did.'

Escapism. You can't grapple to Jet Bombers in real life no matter how many staples and blu tac you may have.

Is anyone getting the irony in this? This guy made some PRETTY addictive games. Not in a "Omg, I'm going to go sell crack to pay for Sims 3 Pets", but I've invested some heavy hours in to his games.

A good point.
Will Wright has clearly read "The Art of the Novel."
A nice piece written towards the beginning of the 1900's
that argued that the very fact that novels compete for our
attention in life... that they "compete with life itself"
is precisely what makes them worth the time. Heh.
Sound familiar?

 

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