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Wright, Will

Entry updated 25 October 2021. Tagged: Author, Game.

(1960-    ) US Game designer, inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in 2002. Wright's first published work was Raid on Bungeling Bay (1984 Brøderbund Software, C64; 1985 MSX, NES), a well received helicopter combat game in which the player must destroy an enemy city in plan view. While writing Raid, he discovered that he found building the city maps using his own software tools more enjoyable than destroying them in the game, which inspired him to create the urban management simulation Sim City (1989) (see Toy Games). The design of Sim City drew on many sources, including the short stories of Stanisław Lem (see Toy Games) and the user centred urban theories of Christopher Alexander, which include a form of architectural grammar. The game was sufficiently unconventional for Wright to find it difficult to obtain a publisher, but proved to be highly popular when it was eventually released. After Sim City, Wright continued to make "software toys" – games in which the player can toy with complex simulations – rather than more conventional Videogames with clearly defined goals. The most commercially successful of these games to date has been the remarkable social simulation The Sims (2000) (see Toy Games), which is reminiscent of many sf stories in which god-like scientists tinker with artificial life. Until the release of Spore (2008), however, Wright's only explicitly science-fictional game was the unsuccessful Simearth (1990). With the development of Spore, his abiding fascination with enabling learning by creative play is extended to joint creation; the exotic organisms built by the game's players are used to populate the complex universe of inhabited planets which they share. [NT]

William Wright

born Atlanta, Georgia: 20 January 1960


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