Famous People Who Attended Montessori: Will Wright

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photo credit: Anya Zavarzina

Following our discovery of highly influential people who attended Montessori, today we focus on Will Wright, who pioneered The Sims, SimCity, and Spore, and opened the world’s eyes to interactive design in the way of video games. Wright credits Montessori education with amplifying his imagination in a way that allowed creative discovery.


Wright holding a Sim: photo credit: Electronic Arts

“Montessori taught me the joy of discovery,” Mr. Wright told The Wall Street Journal. “It showed you can become interested in pretty complex theories, like Pythagorean theory, say, by playing with blocks. It’s all about learning on your terms, rather than a teacher explaining stuff to you. SimCity comes right out of Montessori.”

Says Wright of his interest in his field, “I guess what really draws me to interactive entertainment and the thing that I try to keep focused on is enabling the creativity of the player. Giving them a pretty large solution space to solve the problem within the game. So the game represents this problem landscape. Most games have small solution landscapes, so there’s one possible solution and one way to solve it. Other games, the games that tend to be more creative, have a much larger solution space, so you can potentially solve this problem in a way that nobody else has. If you’re building a solution, how large that solution space is gives the player a much stronger feeling of empathy. If they know that what they’ve done is unique to them, they tend to care for it a lot more. I think that’s the direction I tend to come from.”