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A Minute With Will Wright

August 12th, 2008 by Troy Goodfellow · 2 Comments · Television

I don’t watch G4 TV. I don’t have cable, for one thing. And most of the programming doesn’t appeal to me as a mature gamer or general television viewer. From what I’ve seen, X-Play is pretty good for a game review program, and if you read their text reviews, the station – in general – has some knowledgeable people. There are supposedly terribly lame sketches somewhere in the shows.

But as old media turns into new media, we see the cool things uploaded to the internet and I think that The Will Wright Minute, a new irregular feature on X-Play, is a cool thing.

No, it’s not really about gaming. It’s Will Wright talking about something he thinks is interesting (The first episode is about an armed Russian spy satellite) and I like to know what interesting people find interesting. Do you remember the old TechTV show Icons? Imagine that, only instead of having, say, Miyamoto talk about Mario, he starts talking about the origins of the spice trade. It’s bizarre, but it works because Wright is one of the most captivating obviously nerdy people I’ve ever seen without looking in a mirror.

Could you do this with other industry figures? I don’t know. Wright has the advantage of being instantly recognizable to the target audience – at least in name. Garriott could do it because he’s also a big time nerd with nerdy hobbies. Molyneux, of course, since he’s so garrulous. But from the current generation of developers? You’ll notice an ad for Spore at the end of the clip, so you have to wonder if X-Play can keep this going for long after the release date. If the idea takes off and they decide to do someone new, would it have to be tied to an upcoming title?

Still, whoever thought of this for X-Play should get a raise and a chance to do something about G4 in general. Because every time I see an ad for Code Monkeys, I want to reach through the internet and slap somebody.


2 Comments so far ↓

  • Alan Au

    My understanding is that they filmed a bunch at once, with plans to release them over several weeks.

    Will’s instant recognizability and geek credibility are certainly part of the appeal, but I also think that part of the charm also comes from the choice of topics, which is to say, not game design (which I suspect many people would find inaccessible, at least at the level where Will operates).

    He’s just a smart guy spouting about interesting trivia. Geek trivia. Stuff you might talk about if you were hanging out together at a pub.

  • Justin Fletcher

    Wow, a reason to watch G4. The mind boggles.

    This kind of goes back to our recent discussion on developer influences, and how interesting getting inside the head of designers can be. Certainly some of the names you mention could make fascinating “minutes” of their own.

    As for the younger folks, Jaffe could be entertaining, and I’ve liked some of the interviews I’ve seen with Balrog. Levine kind of straddles the generations, but he would be a lock for this sort of thing (I still miss his column from CGM).

    But after watching the Gears of War “Making of” DVD, I’m not sure I want to know anything else about the inner workings of Clifford B., Esq.