Will Wright is the ultimate spokesperson for gaming. The same way Bill Gates made being a nerd not only acceptable, but desirable, Wright embodies everything that can be great about video games. Writers find in him a sort of mad scientist, with an impish grin and a clever streak running through him a mile long (he's done the calculations to determine how many stars have received radio broadcasts of The Dukes of Hazzard
). He's the "god of God games," an innovator, a risk-taker, a rainmaker. He's a "genius," with the backstory and the charisma to make it palatable to the masses. And that's who his story is being told to.
Rarely do we see the sort of long thoughtful hagiography in the enthusiast press that we often find about Wright in the mainstream press. A recent New York Times Magazine piece
revered him as "the most famous and most critically acclaimed designer in the young medium's history." This week's The New Yorker
dedicates an incredible 10,000 words
to the "game master," covering everything from the history of Electronic Arts to panspermia to his affinity for dueling robots (seriously) to the negative impressions of video games that Wright himself, as a personality, does so much to disassemble. How much can you really criticize a game whose primary influence is the convergence of Drake's equation
and The Powers of Ten
And that's why every time Wright is put on a pedestal -- as a creator, as an artist, and as a genius -- it advances the acceptance and appreciation of video games far more rapidly than the industry's ballooning profits ever have.