Will Wright And The Power of The Powers of Ten Posted May 23, 2005 by Daniel Ostroff

“At almost every stage of his brilliant career, video game designer Will Wright has been able to turn to the seminal designers, Charles and Ray Eames, for inspiration.”
– Newsweek, May 23, 2005

Will Wright’s urban-planning game, Sim City, drew on some of Charles and Ray’s ideas about architecture, while his interactive soap opera, The Sims, incorporated their thoughts on furniture. Yet, for years another signature work by the legendary husband-and-wife team rattled around in Wright’s head: the short 1977 film Powers of Ten.

Wright, 45, can’t remember how old he was when he first saw it, but the movie–which zooms out by factors of 10 from a man lying in a Chicago park to the farthest reaches of the universe, and then zooms back in, past the surface of the man’s skin to the cellular level–left an indelible impression. Wright was drawn to the film’s elegant illustration of difficult-to-fathom concepts of scale: how big and how small creation really is.

“‘Powers of Ten gives us a superbig picture of where we are,” Wright says, ‘not only in space but in time: the past, present and future of life.’ For most of us, Powers of Ten was a welcome respite from our droning high-school science teachers. To Wright’s wonderfully unhinged mind, the film turned out to be the foundation on which he could build a new computer game [Spore].”