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Will Wright gives surprise talk at GDC

"I'm an unemployed child pornographer."

Sims creator Will Wright made a surprise appearance at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco today.

The show guide listed an hour-long talk titled 'Metaphysics of Game Design' by a speaker called 'Phaedrus'. This turned out to be an alias for Wright, who said he kept his identity secret because he wasn't sure whether he'd have time to attend GDC or what he would talk about.

Wright kicked off by discussing how he left Electronic Arts last year to set up his own company. "From there I became an independent game designer with the Stupid Fun Club, and when I told my mother she of course reminded me that means unemployed," he said.

"Games still have this cultural baggage. Most people think of a game designer as being kind of like a drug pusher, so I guess I'm a drug pusher - an unemployed drug pusher."

Wright then recalled the furore over the nudity patch for The Sims 2, telling the audience, "The height of my professional career was when Jack Thompson called me a child pornographer. I took that as a medal of honour.

"Actually, that makes me now an unemployed child pornographer," he added.

The rest of Wright's speech covered a wide range of topics, including the rise of social gaming, the move towards expanded platforms, the nature of play and the ubiquity of horse software in German games stores ("You think there are a lot of Sims expansion packs? Check this out").

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Ellie Gibson avatar

Ellie Gibson

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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