Console Gaming 2.0 – Little Big Planet

On: September 23, 2008
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About Stefan Keerssemeeckers
New Media Ma Student, Games journalist, coffee-addict. More after the jump!

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Though ‘Web 2.0’ is primarily an affair concerning ‘teh intawebs’, the videogame market will strike back soon with ‘Little Big Planet’, developed for The Playstation 3 by Media Molecule. Although the game is not yet available in stores it has gone ‘gold’, which means the code is done and the game only has to be put on discs and shipped.

Little Big Planet has two faces. On one hand it is a platform-game which features levels made by the developers. On the other hand it is a toolbox that presents the player with the means to create their own levels, design their own protagonist (the endearingly funny ‘Sackboy’), share, copy and paste level designs, vote for their favourite stages and level-designers. The best level designers could actually be recruited by Media Molecule to design new levels. Id est: creative level design might see creative players earning a job.

Although the premise of gamers creating content for videogames has been around for a long time in the form of ‘modding’ existing games, this is quite a big step for the console market. Some games have featured options to encourage user generated content, with mixed results. Forza Motorsport’s extensive ‘decal system’ has inspired gamers to create fantastic designs, as well as some naz(t)i pieces…

Halo 3 has an interesting feature as well, the Forge. The multiplayer levels are all available for editing, primarily through the placement of objects and changing the ‘rules’. In a game about shooting your enemies into smouldering bits this makes it possible to create different games altogether.

Little Big Planet is essentially a toolbox that allows players to do design their own levels, objectives etc. Hopefully the nasty contributions will be dealt with in an orderly fashion. The game is compatible with the PlayStation camera, which could make some of the player creations unbearably foul. Just like other Web 2.0 services it will probably remove these ill-mannered contributions but it’s always possible that children might be exposed to creepy images…

All in all, Little Big Planet will probably be a jewel in the PlayStation-catalogue. It all depends on the community behind it. Check out the trailer! Warning: Some extremely funky music!

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