Game Diary - September 16, 2008: Your Creations Amuse Me

'Blastworks' 'Metroid' modTwo odd aspects of last night:

1) Despite the calendar informing me that we're in mid-September, the beginning of the high season of video games, I found myself with nothing new to play. I'm all caught up with everything I own.

2) Despite having a couple of hours to play anything old, I spent last night turning on games only to get lost browsing their lists of user-generated content. I was in the Sporepedia for an hour, looking at user-generated "Spore" creatures/buildings/vehicles, browsing Sporecast collections of that stuff, wondering why the browsing options are so limited in a game of 19 million creations (more on the Sporepedia limitations in a post later today).

My Sporepedia session followed several minutes spent in the surprisingly rich "Blastworks" Depot, an online repository of user-created space-ships, enemies and levels that can be used to re-skin the Majesco "Blastworks" side-scrolling Wii shoot-em-up (click that link and you'll see some interesting and familiar creations). The user-made content can transform the game into a side-scrolling, "Metroid" shooter (pictured above), a "Mario"-themed one, an "Ikaruga"-style mod, etc. The content is easily transmitted from the Depot site into the Wii game. Avoiding the dreaded Nintendo Wii Friend Codes, Majesco's engineers have created a"Spore"-like system that lets players browse the Depot, click on the best creations and send them to the Wii "Blastworks" game. It would be a cool cross-platform achievement on any system. It's doubly impressive that it's happening on the Wii.

"Blastworks" fans have created some wonderful mods of Majesco's game (or Kenta Cho's game, if you want to be technical about it). "Spore" players have done great work too. Beware the rise of the amateur creators, all you game development pros.

Techincally, I didn't play anything last night. I didn't create anything either. I was just browsing. Is this the new way to enjoy one's games?

Next: Tuesday's always a slow gaming day for me, but if I'm lucky, "Air Traffic Chaos" will be mine.