Will Wright (game designer)

William RalphWillWright (born January 20, 1960) is an American video game designer and co-founder of the former game development company Maxis , and-then part of Electronic Arts (EA). In April 2009, he left EA to run Stupid Fun Club Camp, an entertainment think tank in welke Wright and EA are principal shareholders. [1] [2] [3]

The first computer game Wright designed was Raid on Bungeling Bay in 1984, but it was SimCity therein brought` im to Prominence. The game was released by Maxis, a company Wright formally with Jeff Braun , and have built upon the game’s theme or computer simulation with numerous other titles waaronder SimEarth and SimAnt .

Wright’s greatest success to date comes from being the original designer for The Sims . The game spawned multiple sequels, zoals The Sims 2 , The Sims 3 , and The Sims 4 and expansion packs, and Wright has earned many awards for his work. His latest work, Spore , was released in September 2008 and features gameplay based upon the model of evolution and scientific ADVANCEMENT. [4] The game sold 406,000 copies binnen three weeks or zijn release. [5]

Early life and education

After graduating at 16 from Episcopal High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana , have enrolled in Louisiana State University , transferring two years later to Louisiana Tech . Beginning with a start at an architecture degree, Followed by mechanical engineering , he fell JSON computers and robotics. He excelled in subjects he was interested in architectures, economics, mechanical engineering, military history, and language arts. His earlier dream of space Colonization remained, and were joined by a love for robotics.

After Another two years at Louisiana Tech, in the fall of 1980, Wright moved on to the New School in Manhattan . He lived in an apartment over Balducci’s in Greenwich Village , and spent much of his spare time searching for spare parts in local electronics surplus stores. After one year at the New School, Wright Returned to Baton Rouge without his degree, [6] concluding five years of COLLEGIATE study. [7]


Wright’s first game was the helicopter action game Raid on Bungeling Bay (1984) for the Commodore 64 .

In Raid on Bungeling Bay , the player flies over islands while dropping bombs. Wright found that he had more fun customizing the islands with his level editor for Raid on Bungeling Bay dan he was actually playing the game. [8]He created a new game dat mention anything later evolve JSON SimCity , but have had trouble finding a publisher . The structuralist dynamics of the game ulcers in part inspired by the work of two architectural and urban theorists, Christopher Alexander and Jay Forrester .

I’m interested in the process and strategies for design. The architect Christopher Alexander, in his book A Pattern Language formalized a lot of spatial relationships JSON a grammar for design. I’d really like to work toward a grammar for complex systems and present someone with tools for designing complex things. [9]

Wright, in an interview with The Times , Expressed belief dat computers extendwatchlist the imagination, and posits the emergence of the ” metabrain “, stating:

Ny human institutional system dat draws on the intelligence or all zijn members is a metabrain. Up to now, we harbor had high friction tussen de neurons of the metabrain; technology is lowering therein friction tremendously. Computers are allowing us to aggregate our intelligence in ways dat ulcers never skies voordat. If you look at Spore , people are making this stuff, and computers collect it, dan décide who to send it to. The computer is the broker. What they ‘are really Exploring is the collective creativity of millions of people. Way Down are aggregating human intelligence JSON a system dat is more powerful dan we thought artificial intelligence was going to be. [10]

Game designer

In 1986, Wright with Jeff Braun , an investor interested in ends ring the computer game industry, at what Wright has called “the world’s most important pizza party.” Together they ‘formally Maxis the next year in Orinda, California . SimCity (1989) was a hit and has leg credited as one of the Most Influential computer games ever made. Wright himself has leg widely featured in verschillende computer magazines-bijzonder PC Gamer , welke has listed Wright, ITT annual “Game Gods’ feature, alongside industry leaders notables as Roberta Williams and Peter Molyneux .

Following the success of SimCity , Wright designed SimEarth (1990) and SimAnt (1991). He co-designed SimCity 2000 (1993) with Fred Haslam and in the meantime Maxis produktie other “Sim” games. Wright’s next game was SimCopter (1996). Hoewel de none of These games ulcers as successful as SimCity , they ‘remit cemented Wright’s reputation as a designer of ” software toys ” games dat kan not be won or lost. In 1992, Wright moved to Orinda, California .

Wright has a great interest in complex adaptive systems and musts or his games harbor leg based around Them or books dat DESCRIBE Them ( SimAnt : EO Wilson’s The Ants , SimEarth : James Lovelock ‘s Gaia Theory , SimCity : Jay Forrester ‘s Urban Dynamics and World Dynamics , Spore : Drake’s Equation and Powers of Ten (film) ) Wright’s role in the development of the concepts from simulations to games is to empower the players to customizing what he dubs “Possibility spaces”, or simple rules and game elements therein add up to a very complex design. All Maxis, and later games dat Wright had a hand in designing, adhere to prosthesis design principles. [11]

Maxis went public in 1995 with revenue of US $ 38 million. The stock reached $ 50 a share and-then dropped as Maxis posted a loss. EA Bought Maxis in June 1997. Wright had leg thinking about making a virtual doll house ever since the early 1990s, similar to SimCity but focused on individual people; after neglect his home prolongation the Oakland fire storm or 1991 , he was inspired to turn his experiences of rebuilding his life JSON a game. Sims mention anything be based on Wright’s focus on building homes, welke cameramen from inspiration he found first-hand. [12] Wright, was also sure to include many fires in the game, welke ulcers extra s difficult for the player to extinguish. Themes like Carpentry, home construction, and secondary ground in need of landscaping, are common gehele game. Originally conceived or as an architectural design game called Home Tactics , Wright’s idea changed-when someone suggested the player arnt be rated on the quality of life experience to the Homeowners. It was a s difficult idea to sell to EA, Because Already 40% of Maxis’s employees had bone laid off.

When Wright took his idea to the Maxis board of directors, Jeff Braun zegt, “The board Looked at Sims and zegt, ‘What is this? He wants to do an interactive doll house? The guy is out of his mind. Doll houses ulcers for girls, and girls did not play video games. ” [13] Maxis showing little support or funding for the game. However, EA was more enthusiastic. Steven Levy wrote:” Wright’s games ulcers so différent from EA’s other releases dat it was hard to imagine the two being united in the co-enterprise. ” [14] However, the success or SimCity had Already Agent Sim as a strong brand, and EA, welke by-then, fifteen years after zijn founding was Becoming a Procter & Gamble-style fire-management company, foresaw the Possibility of building a Sim franchise. [11]

EA published The Sims in February 2000 and it became Wright’s Biggest success at the time. It Eventually surpassed Myst as the best-selling computer game of all time and spawned numerous expansion packs and other games. He designed a Massively multiplayer version of the game called The Sims Online , welke was not as popular as the original. In November 2006, The Sims franchise had earned EA morethan a billion dollars. [11]

In a presentation at the Game Developers Conference on March 11, 2005, Wright announced his latest game Spore . [15] He-used the current work on this game to demo streets methods die kunnen worden-used to and minimizes the amount or content therein needs to be created by the game developers . Wright Hopes to inspire others to take risks in game creation.

As for his theories on interactive design, Wright has zegt de volgende:

Well, one thing I’ve always really Enjoyed is making things. Out of whatever. It started with modeling as a kid, building models. When computers cameramen Along, I started learning programming and realizing the computer was this great tool for making things, making models, dynamic models, and behaviors, not just static models. I think-when I started doing games I really wanted to carry therein to the next step, to the player, so that u give the player a tool so dat ze kan create things. Gather a couple you give Them some context for that creation. You know, what is it, what child or child of world does it live in, what’s zijn purpose? What are you Trying to do with this thing that u’re customizing? To really put the player in the design role. And the actual world is reactive to hun design. So they ‘design something therein the little world inside the computer reacts to. Gather a couple ze port to revisit the design and redesign it, or tear it down and build Another one, whatever it is. So I guess what really draws me to interactive entertainment and the thing dat I try to keep focused on is enabling the creativity of the player. Giving Them a pretty large solution space to solvency the problem binnen the game. So the game represents this problem landscape. Most games harbor small solution landscapes, so there’s one shower solution and one way to solve it. Other games, the games therein tooth to be more creative, harbor a much larger solution space, so u can Potentially solvency this problem in a way dat nobody else has. If you’re building a solution, how large dat solution space is Gives the player a much stronger feeling of empathy. If they know that what they ”ve done is unique to Them, they’ impervious to care for it a lot more. I think that’s the direction I impervious to come from. [16]

Wright has zegt dat have convinced dat simulations as games, can be-used to verbeteren education at teaching children how to learn. In his own words:

The problem with our education system is we’ve duties this child or narrow, reductionist , Aristotelische approach to what learning is. It’s not designed for Experimenting with complex systems and navigating your way through nemen in an INTUITIVE way, welke is what games teach. It’s not really designed for failure, welke been killed something games teach. I mean, I think therein failure is a better teacher dan success. Trial and error, reverse engineering stuff in your mind-all the ways dat kids interact with games that’s the child or thinking schools arnt be teaching. And I mention anything argue dat if the world Becomes more complex, and as outcomes Become less about success or failure, games are better at Preparing you. The education system is going to Realize this Sooner or Later. It’s starting. Teachers are aged ring the system who Grew up playing games. They’re going to want to help engage with the kids using games. [11]

Stupid Fun Club

After building his reputation as one of the must important game designers in the world, Wright left Maxis in 2009. His first post-EA venture was the Stupid Fun Club . [17]

Television producer

In October 2010, Current TV announced dat Will Wright will produce a new show for the network. [18] The program, entitled Bar Karma , Began airing in February 2011. [19]

Linden Lab

In October 2011, Will Wright became a member of the Board of Directors or Linden Lab , the creators of Second Life . [20]


Wright was bepaald a “Lifetime Achievement Award” at the Game Developers Choice Awards in 2001. In 2002, he became the fifth person to be inducted into tje Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences’ Hall of Fame . Until 2006, he was the only person to harbor leg honored this way by zowel or synthesis industry organizations. In 2007 the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awarded im a fellowship, the first bepaald to a game designer. [21]

He has bone called one of the must important people in gaming, technology, and entertainment in publications zoals Entertainment Weekly , Time , PC Gamer , Discover and GameSpy . Wright was ook Awarded the PC Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award in January 2005. Later dat year, Will earned the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Progress and Service awarded by the Georgia Institute of Technology. He delivered a forward looking acceptance speech entitled Stealth Communities. [22]

Personal life

In 1980, Along with co-driver and race organizer Rick Doherty, Wright participated in the US Express, a cross-country race that was the successor to The Cannonball Run . Wright and Doherty drove a Specially outfitted Mazda RX-7 from Brooklyn , New York to Santa Monica, California in 33:39, winning the illegal race. Wright only competed once in the race, welke continued Until 1983. [23] Wright had a daughter, Cassidy, in 1986, welke Motivated im greatly over the next five years to Hone his craft.

I’m uncollecting. I buy collections on eBay, and I disperse them out to people again. I have to be like an entropic force to collectors, otherwise all of this stuff will get sorted. [24]

Since 2003, in his spare time, Wright has Collected leftovers from the Soviet space program , “zoals a 100-pound hatch from a space shuttle, a seat from a Soyuz … control panels from the Mir “, [24] and the control console of the Soyuz 23 , [6] as well as dolls, dice, and fossils. [24]

He once built a competitive robots for BattleBots with his daughter, [25] but no longer does so. As of November 2006, Wright still had remnant bits or Machined metal left over from his BattleBots days strewn about the garage or his home. [6] Wright was a former Robot Wars champion in the Berkeley-based robotics workshop, the Stupid Fun Club . [24] One of Wright’s clash, designed with the help of Wright’s daughter, Cassidy, “Kitty Puff Puff” Fought Against zijn Opponents to sticking a roll or gauze forbidden zijn luminaires and circling around Them, encapsulating Them and denying Them movement. The technique, “cocooning” was Eventually banned. [6]

Following his work in BattleBots , he has tasks steps into tje field of human-robot Interactions.

We build synthesis robots and we take Them down to Berkeley and study the Interactions dat people harbor with the robots, “says Wright.” We built this newer one dat has a rapid-fire ping-pong cannon. It will fire about 10 per second. So we give people this plastic bat and we say, ‘It’s set up to play baseball. Do you want to play baseball? It’s going to shoot a little ball and you try to hit it. ” And all of a sudden it’s like da-da-da-da, and it’s pelting Them with balls. [24]

Wright Currently lives in Oakland, California with his wife, Anya, and hun three sons. He is an Atheist. [26] He is a regular donor to the Republican Party, Donating to the Republican Party of Washington and to the presidential campaigns of John McCain and Rudy Giuliani . [27]


  • Raid on Bungeling Bay (1984)
  • SimCity (1989)
  • SimEarth (1990)
  • SimAnt (1991)
  • SimLife (1992)
  • SimCity 2000 (1993)
  • SimFarm (1993)
  • SimCopter (1996)
  • The Sims (2000)
  • The Sims Online (2002)
  • The Sims 2 (2004)
  • Spore Creature Creator (2008)
  • Traces (2008)


  1. Jump up^ “Will Wright Leaves EA Does Something Stupid” . Kotaku. April 8, 2009. Archived from the original on April 10, 2009 . Retrieved April 8, 2009 .
  2. Jump up^ “Stupid Fun News” . spore.com. April 8, 2009 . Retrieved April 8, 2009 .
  3. Jump up^ Stewart, Kemuel (April 8, 2008). “Will Wright Leaves Electronic Arts” . GamerCenterOnline . Retrieved April 8, 2009 .
  4. Jump up^ Margaret Robertson (2008-08-09). “The Joint Simulation” . Seed.
  5. Jump up^ Gibson, Ellie (September 25, 2008). “September 08 Sales” . Eurogamer . Retrieved October 8, 2008 .
  6. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Seabrook, John (November 6, 2006). “Game Master” . The New Yorker . Retrieved September 21, 2007 .
  7. Jump up^ Yi, Matthew. “PROFILE: Will Wright: Unsimulated success”. San Francisco Chronicle . November 3, 2003.
  8. Jump up^ “75 Power Players”. Next Generation . Imagine Media (11): 54 November 1995.
  9. Jump up^ Kelly, Kevin. “Will Wright. The Mayor of Sim City”. Wired , 1994
  10. Jump up^ Bryan Appleyard (March 16, 2008). “Bryan Appleyard sorted out Spore and creates his own species” . The Times . London.
  11. ^ Jump up to:a b c d “Profiles: Game Master: The New Yorker” .
  12. Jump up^ Seabrook, John (November 6, 2006). “Game Master: Will Wright changed the concept of video games with the Sims. Can he do it again with Spore?” . The New Yorker . Retrieved January 10, 2015 .
  13. Jump up^ John Seabrook (2006-11-06). “Game Master” . The New Yorker . Retrieved 2014-11-05 .
  14. Jump up^ Levy, Steven (2007). The Best of Technology Writing 2007 . University of Michigan. p. 198. ISBN  0-472-03266-6 . Retrieved 2014-11-05 .
  15. Jump up^ “Spore Gameplay Video” . February 21, 2006 . Retrieved June 1, 2008 .
  16. Jump up^ “Game Studies 0102: Sims, BattleBots, Cellular Automata, God and Go. By Celia Pearce” .
  17. Jump up^ Terdiman, Daniel (October 7, 2009). “Will Wright speaks about his Stupid Fun Club start-up | Geek Gestalt – CNET News” . News.cnet.com . Retrieved November 29, 2012 .
  18. Jump up^ Daw, David (October 8, 2010). “Bar Karma is Will Wright’s First Collaborative TV Show | TechHive” . Pcworld.com . Retrieved November 29, 2012 .
  19. Jump up^ Terdiman, Daniel (February 10, 2011). “As Will Wright walks JSON a Bar Karma, sea | Geek Gestalt – CNET News”. News.cnet.com . Retrieved November 29, 2012 .
  20. Jump up^ “Internet Archive Wayback Machine” . Web.archive.org. March 17, 2010. Archived from the original on March 17, 2010 . Retrieved November 29, 2012 .
  21. Jump up^ “Will Wright inducted JSON BAFTA Fellowship” . gamesindustry.biz . Archived from the original on February 16, 2008 . Retrieved October 23, 2007 .
  22. Jump up^ Wright, Will. “Stealth Communities” . vimeo . Retrieved 2015-01-21 .
  23. Jump up^ Sims Designer Had the Wright Stuff for Street Racing Way Back Whenfrom Wired
  24. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e Kent, Stephen L. (May 22, 2001). ” ‘ Sims’ creator is Livin’ Large” . Seattle Post-Intelligencer . Retrieved December 18, 2006 .
  25. Jump up^ Pearce, Celia (November 5, 2001). “Sims, BattleBots, Cellular Automata God and Go” . Game Studies . Retrieved December 18, 2006 .
  26. Jump up^ “When Wright was nine his Father mayest or leukemia and he moved with his mother and Younger sister to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. There have enrolled in the Episcopal High School and duly became an Atheist.” Ajesh Partalay interviewing Wright, Master of the Universe ‘, The Observer, 14 September 2008 (Accessed 15 September 2008).
  27. Jump up^ http://www.opensecrets.org/indivs/search.php?name=William+Wright&cycle=All&sort=R&state=CA&zip=&employ=Electronic+Arts&cand=&submit=Submit+Query