Well, first thing this morning I called up my 10 year old son, Doon, on Skype to let him know that I had seen the preview of the Galactic Extension Pack for Spore.
Now, this may not have been a panel with direct relevance to activist organising in the digital social sphere, but dang it was fun. The first thing I had heard of Spore was here at SXSW back in 2007, when Will Wright demonstrated some early development work. I missed the presentation, but the buzz about it was intense, and someone got the whole thing on Viddler.
Caryl is a great speaker, and I loved her description of the design philosophy behind the editors in Spore: Zero to Smile in Three Clicks.
They succeeded. From my 4 year old son all the way up to their 50 year old dad, we love Spore at Casa Fitzgerald. Our friend Boris, who is a scary-good ten year old artist, creates objects with Spore that I defy anyone to look at without breaking into a goofy grin.
And I found this bit strangely compelling, about one of the artists who had found a sketchpad from when he was ten years old, and how Spore enabled him to bring those early creations to life.
There’s a longer video here with some visuals previewing the new Terraforming module, which looks far better than the clunky system currently in the release version.
If there was a takeaway from this for me about User Generated Content in the activist world, it’s the importance of fun, of enabling someone to make something very cool, very easily.
Now, if only the real planet Earth had a global temperature slider as easy to use as Spore’s.