Creativity is the name of the game. The video game, that is. Just like on the internet, original content is what draws people to a video game, but we’ll have a debate on whether reposts or remakes are worse on a later day. And also like the internet, it’s important for the community to give back to the games that they enjoy by making maps and mods for others to enjoy. But which games have the best content creation systems? Well we’re going to find out while I’m simultaneously creating my only productive content for the week.
This simple puzzle platformer earns a spot because of the emphasis that the game developers put on its create-a-level mode. After collecting items and beating levels in the story mode, you unlocked all of those things to use when creating your own puzzles. You’re then given so many options and features to create levels with. Backdrops, obstacles, items, NPCs, and anything else you encountered during the story are now available to you to use as you wish. And the interface for creating levels is simple and fun at the same time. I did some research to find a LittleBigPlanet level that I really enjoyed, and I actually found one based on research. It’s called STEM Cell Sackboy, and combines beautiful visuals, quality platforming, and holy shit, actual education about stem cells, into a beautiful level that I can only refer to as a scientific masterpiece. Check it out:
A classic in content creation, Garry’s Mod opens up the world of Half-life to those with a hunger for destruction, silliness, and a desire to mess with the laws of physics. Garry’s Mod earns a spot on this list because of its appeal to simple and advanced content creators alike. Those with a knack for the mod, a familiarity with the engine, and a great deal of free time on their hands can set up elaborate Rube Goldberg machines, or create stories with generated characters, or build structures that could be considered wonders of the world in real life. Or, if you don’t have those creative juices, or the attention span to apply those juices, you can spend hours throwing rag dolls around, spawning infinite Combine to run over, or setting up battles of Combine vs rebels, rebels vs antlions, antlions vs scientists, or a free-for-all between all of the above, plus some Vortigaunts thrown in for good measure.
Minecraft (NOT CREATIVE MODE)
Anyone with a PC and now an Xbox 360 knows what Minecraft is all about. A big, open, blocky world filled with resources begging to be collected and built into whatever you put your mind towards. While others, and by others I mean the show-offs I live with, build elaborate structures and bases, and even create generators and jetpacks using high-tech mods such as Feed the Beast, I enjoy the simplicity of my single-player world. I found an above-ground jungle temple that I’ve converted into a coastal home, with a plundered pre-made installation below, a farm on the water growing wheat, melons, and sugar cane, and a strip mine that you take a fucking waterfall to get to. And the reason I don’t like creative mode (no monsters, access to all resources and items with a single click) is the same reason for my one beef with Garry’s Mod: you haven’t earned any of that stuff. At least in LittleBigPlanet, you’ve beaten levels to earn the stuff you build with. In creative mode, if you just spawn the materials for an elaborate structure, you don’t get as much satisfaction as when you go out and collect all the resources, brave the dangers that go along with that, and refine those resources into the necessary materials. And when that fancy fortress of yours is finally built, you know you’ve earned it.
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below.
And if you’re interested, here’s the rest of the shots from my Minecraft single-player world.