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Proxi Mind Games

The creator of The Sims launches a revolutionary mobile game that aims to map your subconscious.


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Proxi’s concept art “shows how players will see their world change in response to their choices,” a Gallium spokesperson says.

First, he built cities. Next, he crafted lives. Then, he mimicked evolution. Now? Visionary video game designer Will Wright is out to create an interactive model of each player’s mind.

The man behind the boundary-breaking life-simulation game The Sims, Wright has never been one to think inside the box. But even he admits that his latest project, Proxi, is a step beyond anything else he’s ever attempted. “I’m working on something that’s out there,” the East Bay resident said in June during a panel at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the industry’s biggest annual event. “I love this idea that 80 percent of our intelligence, 80 percent of who we are, is kind of invisible to us. … I began getting interested in how I could map that—through entertainment, through some type of game, start building maps of your subconscious.”

That is exactly what Proxi aims to do, utilizing the shaping force of human memories. The mobile game—which is scheduled to be released worldwide this fall—will allow players to re-create and interconnect their memories, eventually constructing an avatar of the player’s subconscious.

Will Wright

Ambitious? 100 percent. But if there’s one person primed to lead the project, it’s Wright, whose first success, SimCity, was inspired by his personal experience of rebuilding after losing his home to the Oakland firestorm of 1991. Collaborating with him are cofounder Lauren Elliott, who created the educational video game series Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, and the team at their Berkeley start-up, Gallium Artists.

Named after a shape-shifting metal, Gallium encompasses a small, elite group that was assembled from the best of the Bay and abroad. Members include a former Pixar storyboard artist, a neuroscientist, a 3D artist who won an international competition hosted by Proxi, and more. “It’s just kind of fun working with a small team on something where you can just go wherever you want creatively,” Wright said of the Proxi crew.

And there really seems to be no limit to the potential of Proxi, which combines single-player gaming with artificial intelligence and social components. As Wright is quoted as saying on the game’s website: “This is in some sense a game of self-discovery, a game where we actually uncover the hidden you—your subconscious, your inner id—and bring it to the surface.” proxiai.com.

 

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