Posted by: lorihowell | October 10, 2011

The Mall is Closed

In chapter five of Convergence Culture, Jenkins reports on the success of Will Wright and the company he works for, Maxis.  Wright, creator of SimCity and The Sims, appears to be the first developer to articulate the importance of modders (people who modify software or hardware) to the success of games.

Wright acknowledges that the community of gamers helps them take projects to next level; and Maxis is competing with other companies for this creative audience. By stating this publicly, Wright is giving fair credit to the fans that put in the long hours and are loyal shoppers at The Sims mall; and the praise seems genuine.

This profile is a departure from some of the other companies who take advantage of their audience and then turn around and insult the community’s intelligence by making software changes incompatible with user feedback.  Or better yet, release an incomplete product and let the gamer community put in the hours and research to fine-tune it — a practice that Jenkins and Chris Brogan describe as analogous to Tom Sawyer Whitewashing the Fence.

For those who need a literature brush up – I did – Wikipedia describes how Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer is made to whitewash the fence as punishment on Saturday. At first, Tom is disappointed by having to forfeit his day off. However, he soon cleverly persuades his friends to trade him small treasures for the privilege of doing his work.

Update on The Sims: I am sorry to report that the Mall of the Sims has closed.  I was hoping to shop for some new boots.

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