Little Big Planet's Disconnect


I skimmed this post on Brainy Gamer about Little Big Planet and Creativity.

That and some of JC Barnett's comments got me thinking, ....

As amazingly cool as LBP's level editing is, does anyone except game creators and game creator wannabes care?

That post above talks about how amazing the game is because the brainy gamer guy appreciates that all the levels were created in game and so seeing amazing things and realizing how you'd go about making them in the editor (ie, realizing the very creative uses of the system) is one of the most amazing things about LBP.

I totally agree. I'm amazed when I see the creative uses both in the shipping levels and in user created levels.

But, I also feel that that is something that 98% of players don't care about and won't notice.

It's like trying to show my Dad a demo on To me the good ones are extremely awesome. I'm amazed at the creativity and that they run in realtime or that they run in 4k even including music. To my dad though, it's not Wall−E or Star Wars level CG and the music isn't __insert_favorite_band_here__ so it's crap or rather he doesn't have any context to care about or appreciate it. He doesn't know how hard it was or how creative they got with the limited memory or computer power, he just knows he can turn on some music videos and see better visuals and hear better music so what's the big deal?

It's like me playing most games, as a developer, when I'd play Chrono Trigger and see these full screen attacks my first thought is to figure out how they did it. Things like the Lens of Truth in Ocarina of Time (there was a similar effect in Soul Blazer for SNES). All the crazy effects in Dynamite Heady on the Genesis for example. Most players I suspect really don't notice the creative use of those limited systems. They just see the visuals, whatever they are and may or may not like them but they only judge them based on comparisons to other games, not on how creative they are inside the limited system of that specific game.

And so, supposedly LBP has tanked. Something like 250k units to date which is not that great. I don't know if that number is correct but if it is it's really low. It could be that the concept of the game in general is just not appealing to the mass market that just wants the next GTA or Halo/Gears.

But, I also think, the disconnect between the people that think it's game of the year and people that think hmmm, 7 out of 10 is probably also related to this issue that most people really don't care about the level editor and are not judging it on how awesome the level editor is nor on how creative a particular level uses the system. Rather they are just judging it as a game.

Emacs causes RSI?