Sunday, November 05, 2006

# Posted 9:34 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

THE ART OF WAR: Will Wright created The Sims, the best-selling game of all time for the personal computer. Before that, he created Sim City, also a landmark in the history of gaming. What both have in common is that they emphasize social interactions rather than carnage and explosions.

Wright is profiled in this week's New Yorker, since his next big game, Spore, is set to debut in the near future. The profile contained the following example of Wright's innovative thinking, which demonstrates the power of the soft touch to prevail over brute strength:
[Wright] led me into the house through a short hallway that was full of oddly shaped pieces of machined steel. Wright explained that these were left over from the days when he competed in gladiatorial robot contests called BattleBots, in which engineers attempt to build the most destructive remote-control robot vehicles possible. These ferocious machines fight in large Plexiglas boxes, ramming into each other at high speeds, trying to disable their opponents by flipping them over; the tournaments are like geek cockfights.

One of Wright’s robots, which he designed with the help of [his daughter] Cassidy, was called Kitty Puff Puff. It fought its opponents (which had names like the Eviscerator and Death Machine) by sticking a piece of gauze to its opponent’s armature, and then driving in circles around it, until the opposing robot was so cocooned in gauze that it couldn’t move. Eventually, the organizers banned cocooning.
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