While this might be little more than a novelty for many non sack-boy-loving folk, Sony has announced that the PS3 exclusive kart racer ModNation Racers has surpassed two million user- generated levels, and compiled a celebratory video to mark the event. Obviously compared to Media Molecule’s LittleBigPlanet franchise that probably doesn’t seem so huge, but remember that LittleBigPlanet 2’s most recent sum of 3.6 million levels includes stuff made for the first game. So really ModNation is doing rather well for itself considering it came out in May last year. With praise from critics and very little serious competition, this little racer continues to fire away quite happily.
But all these stats about ‘user created content’ drill home the point that gaming isn’t all about destruction as so many hastily and unfairly claim. Whilst blowing crap up and ploughing through action packed adventures are the typical safe zones in videogames, those who scoff at them are going to have to accept someday that gaming is a medium that operates on a plateau that can potentially match the scope and diversity (both intellectually and artistically in my opinion) of films and books.
Clearly we haven’t got many examples to quote for the argument at this stage, but everyone can see the industry is becoming more fluid and intelligent, we’re trying new things, reviews and critical opinions are getting more involved than “sometimes boring” and developers are evolving in synch with it all. With hundreds of thousands of people ripping bullets into each other’s virtual backs every evening on Call Of Duty in a planet scale theatre of HD death, we also have thousands of folks teaming up for RPG style missions, or buddying up with 3 people they’ve never met before from all over the world to endure some kind of survival game together (think of the psychological dynamic there), and then there’s stuff like LBP2 and ModNation where we open up our otherwise neglected creativity and pour countless hours into polishing our very own little gaming masterpiece.
In the grand scheme of things it seems incredible to think about, if that non-gamers could freeze time and somehow zoom out to understand and see how wonderfully alive we make all of it perhaps they would reconsider their judgements. Such huge and bizarre feats of human obsession and indulgence simply cannot be ignored.
The product of all this time that has been spent is debatable in its value (like everything), but the fact it even happened is the testament to life….even it is plugged into electricity.