Ostensibly, this Wired profile is about legendary videogame creator Peter Molyneux, who recently left Microsoft to start his own company 22Cans. But, it is also so much more.
Molyneux is known for dreaming up big, heady concept games, over-promising while under-delivering, and marching to his own drum beat. He doesn’t play it safe when it comes to creating games. That’s reason enough for such a fantastic profile, but Jason Tanz takes it one step further by diving into the Twitter parody account @PeterMolydeux, run by Adam Capone, that has become something of a lighthouse for indie videogame designers.
There was at least one person who seemed to understand his frustration. In the summer of 2011, Microsoft’s PR department alerted Molyneux to @PeterMolydeux, a satirical Twitter feed that parodied his public persona. At first Molyneux found the feed annoying; @PeterMolydeux was a pathetic character. His shtick was to spout overheated, ridiculous game ideas that could never get made. One tweet described a Kinect game that required players to cry before they could pass through a gate. Another posited a racing game in which you controlled the road instead of the cars. But over time Molyneux found himself drawn to his online impersonator. The ideas were silly, yes, but they were also oddly compelling. It was clear that whoever was coming up with these concepts had to be awfully clever:
Online sidescrolling co-op 8 player game where each person controls a leg of an octopus. Each leg can attach guns which the player can fire.
War game where at the end you walk through a graveyard looking at each and every headstone of those you killed followed with 1 minute of silence.
3D adventure game where you have amnesia and wake up in a gigantic museum where every room is devoted to a year of your life.
It’s a love letter wrapped in a profile coiled around the redemption of a man’s ideas spit through the prism of a DIY industry.