Celia Pearce's article "Sims, BattleBots, Cellular Automata God and Go: A Conversation with Will Wright" talks about how interactive entertainment and simulation are what gamers want. They don't want a game that tells them what to do and offers little alternatives in the decisions the player can make, they won't wide open situations that the player can structure themselves. Their conversation discusses a lot about how Wright, the creator of the Sims video game, feels about the interactive and simulation characteristics of games and how that makes them so fun to play. Wright goes on to talk about what draws him to video games and that's the interactive environments that allow the player to be creative. When players see what they have created and it's unique to them, they invest in it emotionally. Wright talks about the inspiration behind Sim City, a game called Pinball Construction Set where the player created a pinball game and then could play it. He also talked about a flight simulator game where he would test out what would happen if he crashed or did certain maneuvers. He would experiment with the game because he was free to do so. Then he talks about his favorite board game Go, which is a really abstract game and how it brings people's different mental models into agreement as the game progresses.
Wright also starts to talk about how people personify and identify themselves with the characters in The Sims. Like when planning what job the players are seeking for their character and what relationships they seek, they refer to the character as "I." But when the character fails or rebels, the character is then refered to as "He". This is a real interesting dynamic in that it applies to other situations. For example, when the Badgers win the football game on Saturdays, the fans usually say we won. But if they lose, I usually end up saying they lost. Like I'm putting it on them when they lose, but in a pseudo way accepting credit when they win. Kind of interesting.
They go on to discuss how people pursue different goals and how they're working on a multi-player version of The Sims so you can use the help of other characters to accomplish you goals.
Then, Wright talks about how he wants players to appreciate how connected things are through space and time. His goal is to make the possibilities to be as wide as possible, with as much space as possible. I immediately thought of GTA here, because even though you have missions to complete, you as a player are free to do whatever you want. You choose to do missions, so if you don't want to, you can simply roam about the environments trying new things and doing whatever you want.
Then Wright starts to discuss the blurring of the consumer and the producer which Greg Tracy talked about yesterday with regards to Sharendipity. Wright thinks that there are media like the internet where the interaction between both is a "smooth ramp." The Sims has that same blend in that you create your character and are the audience and you can put your storyboard and what you've created and put it on the web.
The final big topic of discussion is that in games time isn't always linear. You can always go back and load a saved game, etc. He compares it to films like Run Lola Run, which is pretty good, I suggest you check it out. Basically, the film replays the same scenario in which Lola is trying to get money for her friend Manni who is in trouble and needs it. The whole scene replays with things being different every time. It's a good example, because the entire scene starts with Lola waking up to an alarm and goes from there playing the whole scene, instead of just rewinding and starting from a specific spot in the story.