It’s 11 a.m. and you’re still in your pajamas – plaid shorts, a faded David Bowie t-shirt and worn moccasin slippers. Brows furrowed, deep in thought, you tap your fingers on the desktop, creating concentric circles in your now-cold coffee. Your eyes drift back and forth between a stack of notebooks (filled with your handwriting) and the Microsoft Word document on your laptop (all but empty).
“’Project Spark’ – where players create, and creators play.” It’s all you’ve managed to type so far. Your word-starved cursor blinks eagerly. How do you even begin to tell the story of “Project Spark?” The new video game for Xbox One and PC is a traditional game in some ways, but it’s also a digital bucket of Legos that players of all skill levels can use to make virtually anything.
We’re talking creativity unfettered, here. During its beta, “Project Spark” users built a little bit of everything – first-person shooters, medieval quests, movies, music videos, heroes, villains, flying cows, flaming sand beasts – even a 30-foot guy in his underwear dancing “Gangnam Style” in a village square. Everything.
With “Project Spark” making its official world debut in stores this week, its creators and early devotees hope the game will spread far beyond its million beta users and help break the glass between players and their adventures (not unlike how YouTube helped transform a world of video watchers into an army of camera-wielding, homespun videographers).
Your gaze rises to the wall above your computer. There hangs a small postcard of Ira Glass, one of your storytelling heroes. You imagine him giving you an unsympathetic look, pushing his glasses up and gently chiding you in his trademark public radio cadence: “You know, great stories happen to those who can tell them.”
“But imaginary Ira, how do I tell this one? And how do I make it great?”
Before postcard Ira can answer, you’re interrupted by the ding of a new email. It’s your boss, Ben, suggesting that you travel to a video game convention in Boston to get a better idea of what “Project Spark” is all about.