The Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, New York is home to a massive archive of video game history including design documents and sketches from The Sims creator Will Wright, offering a glimpse into the early stages of creating a long-standing franchise.
Museum director Jon-Paul Dyson and archivist Julia Novakovic spoke with Game Informer recently to showcase Wright's design notebook, providing commentary for certain pages and giving context to why his notes are so important to gaming's history.
"The interesting thing that you see with Will, with these notebooks, is that he's all over the place," Dyson points out.
"You might have some snatches of code, there are random lists of things, there are schematic diagrams..."
"You're seeing just specific key words that he's going to use for programming, maybe some ideas for verbs or characteristics of things, and then you'll also see his grocery list," Novakovic adds.
"They're not systematic," he explains, pointing to a section labeled Lessons, implying that this portion of the notebook may have been a post-mortem. "He might jump back and forth between journals."
Dyson also talks a little about the importance of archiving design notebooks like Wright's, noting that the preservation of these materials is crucial when looking back at how popular games were conceived.
The full interview goes into more detail about Wright's notebook and The Sims, be sure to watch the entire video over at Game Informer.