At some point during the evolution of video games, some inspired designer realized that by adding secondary achievements of varying difficulty, gamers actually feel like they are achieving something by playing the game. Needless to say I have achieved a lot since I started toying with Little Big Planet 2, and I say this with my tongue only halfway in my cheek. It isn’t a game you play so much as a game you play with. Sure, there is a story mode packed with beautiful and challenging levels, but it serves more as inspiration and a source of materials for the creation of your own levels in the robust level creating mode.
For years it was easy to label video games as passive escapism (a prejudice I found insulting coming from a population that spends 4 hours a day watching cable television) but that argument has been buried in an increasingly deeper grave as game companies continue to revolutionize the genre with devices that actively engage the audience such as the Wiimote and Kinect. While the Little Big Planet games don’t put you through the contortions of the Kinect, developers at Media Molecule have achieved something equally as inspired. They have created an art form. That might seem like a bold statement, but all you need to do is spend a few minutes exploring the massive amount of user-created content to see just what can be done with the level creator (remembering Sturgeon’s Law that 90 percent of everything is crap; you will certainly have to wade through some online rubbish to find the gems). Players are making not only playable levels but movies and music as well. It truly feels as though anything is possible with the creation mode.
Personally, I enjoy working through the story levels with my fiance, then scratching my own creative itch in the world creator when I have some free time. I’m currently working on a bit of a narrative level as I try to figure out all the tools the editor makes available. Not sure exactly what the end product will be but knowing me it will probably have a dragon in it… I’ll be sure to let everyone know when it’s done and up in the Little Big universe.