Colin Northway has an interesting interview up on indiegames.com with Scribblenauts’ lead designer, Jeremiah Slaczka.
Reading the interview it occurred to me that sandbox games like Crayon Physics, Fantastic Contraption, Scribblenauts, and to a somewhat lesser degree GTA, have started putting meaning and reward, two extremely important factors of game design, on the other side of the player/designer divide.
I find this interesting because it represents an opportunity for games to reach deeper into human experience. This is something that naturally happens with music, visual arts, and literary works. One’s experience of those works is heavily colored by the listener/beholder/reader, and often takes on completely different meanings for different people. This versatility allows for the work to feel more personal to an individual as well as appeal to a wider audience.