Little Big Planet 1

The original Little Big Planet was a game exclusive to the PS3 made by England-based developer Media Molecule. The main point of the game is expressed by its tag-line, “create, play, and share,” and the player could create, play, and share 2-D platforming levels with an online community. Overall, the game was about expression and freedom for the player.

The creation aspect of the game was complemented by its art direction, with various fabrics, craft material, mechanical devices, and various other around-the-house items being used to create scenery and items within created levels. Clouds were made out of cotton, ice was made out of glass, traps were made by igniting or electrifying objects; the possibilities were vast. Hand created objects could further be personalized with paint and stickers. Creatures could be created with sensors, wheels or legs, eyes, and more. The developers of the game even used the in-game tools they designed for the players to use to create the main story levels, and their creativity really shows; they have levels based on the African Savanna, Japanese castles, New York City, and even a secret arctic base. The character the player uses, aptly named Sackboy, can also be customized with hundreds of clothing items. The art style of make-it-yourself materials really complemented the game’s creativity and gave the game a distinctive motif.

The game’s community of players also tapped into the creative potential of the game, creating levels and objects which demonstrated the infinite potential of the game. Some people created levels based on other video games, such as Super Mario Bros., Metal Gear, and Dead Space. Other levels had historical themes such as prehistoric times, medieval times, and the future. Other levels were completely novel; for example, one level put you in the role of a sperm cell trying to reach “your goal” while avoid terrible traps and horrendous monsters (indeed, it was quite funny). Some people created very complex items which stretched the possibilities of the game (which is quite a feat), such as creating a fully operational tank. The creative aspect of the game was embraced and utilized by the game’s community.

This game is the first significant step in utilizing video games as an accessible creative tool, inspiring other games such as Mod-Nation Racers (create-your-own cars and race tracks), and it launched the, “create, play, share,” genre. I would argue that the creative potential of the game makes the game a work of art, since it allows players to tap into their creativity and create their own small worlds.

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