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Possible Origin of the Term "Sandbox"

roreuxroreux Sorogong, ALPosts: 15Member

Found this on the wayback machine archive.  It's from a 1986 Compute! magazine

 

As I stood in front of my class that first night, I dug deep inside myself for the one thing that I stood for, the one thing that would charge up the class to leap into the media with gusto and pizzazz. Then I thought of the magic word: sandbox. To me a sandbox is more than four boards and a bag of sand. It is a metaphor for play, storytelling, world building, and for a child's personal journey of exploration and discovery. And sand is a metaphor for what good media should be—rich, malleable, and gritty. Playing with media should be a multisensory experience. As with sand, you should smell it, taste it, and touch it. It should get in your ears, in your shorts, and in your hair.

-- Fred D'Ignazio, Associate Editor

 

http://www.atarimagazines.com/compute/issue76/World.php

 

Compute! was one of those magazines that had the code  you typed in by hand and it never worked cause you'd always make a mistake somewhere. lol 

Comments

  • waynejr2waynejr2 West Toluca Lake, CAPosts: 4,481Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by roreux

    Found this on the wayback machine archive.  It's from a 1986 Compute! magazine

     

    As I stood in front of my class that first night, I dug deep inside myself for the one thing that I stood for, the one thing that would charge up the class to leap into the media with gusto and pizzazz. Then I thought of the magic word: sandbox. To me a sandbox is more than four boards and a bag of sand. It is a metaphor for play, storytelling, world building, and for a child's personal journey of exploration and discovery. And sand is a metaphor for what good media should be—rich, malleable, and gritty. Playing with media should be a multisensory experience. As with sand, you should smell it, taste it, and touch it. It should get in your ears, in your shorts, and in your hair.

    -- Fred D'Ignazio, Associate Editor

     

    http://www.atarimagazines.com/compute/issue76/World.php

     

    Compute! was one of those magazines that had the code  you typed in by hand and it never worked cause you'd always make a mistake somewhere. lol 

    There was the use of the term sandbox around virtual reality computing concepts back in the 80s.  I could see atari latching onto it.  So this wouldn't be the origins.

    There is also the concept of a sandbox for playing around with software in an environment (the sandbox).

  • HelleriHelleri Felton, CAPosts: 927Member Uncommon

    Definately interesting. With MMORPG being defined as an artform by the Smithsonian (and following in suit many other institutes of art and history accepting this even with some places being specifically dedicated to it) chronilogical placement of the arival of termonology, important events, earmarks and such is important.

     

    It's nice to think that perhaps 50-100 years from now when this form of entertainment may be so advanced and accessiable that it is looked on as historically important, or as some kind of movement that fundumentally changed the way we train our brains and learn altogether...things like this will be much appreciated.

     

    I think the relevant thing here (if we are attempting to look into this) is to estasblish when the term Sandbox was first associated with MMORPG. Richard Garriot coined the term 'MMORPG' for Ultima Online in September of 1997. I have a short blog post on this: http://www.mmorpg.com/blogs/Helleri/112012/24229_The-first-MMORPG

     

    I do believe it is arguable as to weather UO or Tibia was the first MMORPG. But, one thing can be clear in this. We could not have applied terms like sandbox or themepark to MMORPG prior to their recognized existance. So, while the OP's exerpt and link suggests the term began to evolve for electronic media as early as the 80's it becomes relevant to us much later then that in 1997.

     

    I would think the first time it was used would have been to distinguish an obvious sandboxer like UO from something that came after. In order to say  "Yes, UO and 'this game' are both MMORPG but 'this game' is different in that it is a themepark as apposed to UO's sandbox nature and thusly offers players a different experience".

     

    Since UO hit in late 97'. We are probably looking at between 98'  and 04' (with the launch of WoW I belive the terms were already well established if memory serves correctly).

     

    I think in any case looking for the firsrt time this term was used ever is fruitless as it isn't relevant to how we use the term today... we goto look for when it was first use in reference to MMORPG. Because if we have to go far enough back as when it started being used in electronic arts as a whole, then we have to start where the term may have first arisen period...for any purpose: http://www.play-scapes.com/play-history/a-brief-history-of-the-sandbox/

    So you can see from just that article how it gets a bit too ridiculous and in depth if we don't define our line of interest in the terms use to something a bit more recent.

     

     

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  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,676Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Helleri   But, one thing can be clear in this. We could not have applied terms like sandbox or themepark to MMORPG prior to their recognized existance.
     

    Games existed before MMOs, Helleri. In the mid-90's sandbox gameplay was quite often discussed as sims and god games evolved.

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • HelleriHelleri Felton, CAPosts: 927Member Uncommon

    Games did exist before MMORPG's.... they have existed since humans have...Mancala is likely over 5000 years old and is still played today.

     

    And that is not releveant. This is MMORPG.com, where (with some failings, but on this board of the forums hopefully not to often), we discuss MMORPG. And so, for this topic of when the term sandbox came into use to even belong here, it would make the most sense for it to be in relation to MMORPG.

     

    If you don't narrow the scope of things the topic becomes so broad that it's impossible to really discuss it even and get any where meaningful with it.

    image

  • waynejr2waynejr2 West Toluca Lake, CAPosts: 4,481Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by Helleri   But, one thing can be clear in this. We could not have applied terms like sandbox or themepark to MMORPG prior to their recognized existance.
     

    Games existed before MMOs, Helleri. In the mid-90's sandbox gameplay was quite often discussed as sims and god games evolved.

     Regardless of what someone calls the first mmorpg the existance of an mmorpg could occur before the marketing term.  In any case, mmorpgs were going to come about at some point, too many people dreaming of this type of game since the 70s.   Graphical muds in the 80s were are step, 3d games such a doom were a step, etc.  MMORPG built upon a ton of technology that came before it.  It's kind of silly to give too much credit for creating the first one.  Some credit but not a ton of it.

  • DocBrodyDocBrody EldridgePosts: 1,820Member

    27 years later and the only real AAA sandbox MMO on the market is EvE Online.

    Maybe it will take another 3 years until we have lots of different sandy boxes to play in.

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,676Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by waynejr2
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by Helleri   But, one thing can be clear in this. We could not have applied terms like sandbox or themepark to MMORPG prior to their recognized existance.
     

    Games existed before MMOs, Helleri. In the mid-90's sandbox gameplay was quite often discussed as sims and god games evolved.

     Regardless of what someone calls the first mmorpg the existance of an mmorpg could occur before the marketing term.  In any case, mmorpgs were going to come about at some point, too many people dreaming of this type of game since the 70s.   Graphical muds in the 80s were are step, 3d games such a doom were a step, etc.  MMORPG built upon a ton of technology that came before it.  It's kind of silly to give too much credit for creating the first one.  Some credit but not a ton of it.

    I think you misunderstood. We're talking about the origin of the term sandbox in relation to games.

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • waynejr2waynejr2 West Toluca Lake, CAPosts: 4,481Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by waynejr2
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by Helleri   But, one thing can be clear in this. We could not have applied terms like sandbox or themepark to MMORPG prior to their recognized existance.
     

    Games existed before MMOs, Helleri. In the mid-90's sandbox gameplay was quite often discussed as sims and god games evolved.

     Regardless of what someone calls the first mmorpg the existance of an mmorpg could occur before the marketing term.  In any case, mmorpgs were going to come about at some point, too many people dreaming of this type of game since the 70s.   Graphical muds in the 80s were are step, 3d games such a doom were a step, etc.  MMORPG built upon a ton of technology that came before it.  It's kind of silly to give too much credit for creating the first one.  Some credit but not a ton of it.

    I think you misunderstood. We're talking about the origin of the term sandbox in relation to games.

     Sorry, I was ranting. 

    As to the origin, I gave my feedback.

  • HelleriHelleri Felton, CAPosts: 927Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by waynejr2
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by Helleri   But, one thing can be clear in this. We could not have applied terms like sandbox or themepark to MMORPG prior to their recognized existance.
     

    Games existed before MMOs, Helleri. In the mid-90's sandbox gameplay was quite often discussed as sims and god games evolved.

     Regardless of what someone calls the first mmorpg the existance of an mmorpg could occur before the marketing term.  In any case, mmorpgs were going to come about at some point, too many people dreaming of this type of game since the 70s.   Graphical muds in the 80s were are step, 3d games such a doom were a step, etc.  MMORPG built upon a ton of technology that came before it.  It's kind of silly to give too much credit for creating the first one.  Some credit but not a ton of it.

    The existence of the MMORPG could not occured before it the marketing term. Because, the marketing term was coined to define it. If your trying to say that MMORPG existed before we all had the ability to know about them (like in the arpanet and various intrnets) you'd be wrong. Because, what existed then were not massive.

     

    And yes, MMORPG's were an eventuallity that were based on a lot of ground work that came before them. But those ground work games were not MMORPG themselves.

     

    It is not 'silly' to give too much credit, because 'too much credit' was not given. Fair and applicaible amount of credit was.

     

    Apparently it is too much to ask that on the forums for a site that is supposed to be about MMORPG, in the specific board for such discussion, that the scope of a thread be narrowed to actually pertain to MMORPG. And, to additionally avoid getting too analytical about a single phrase.

    image

  • DauzqulDauzqul Detroit, MIPosts: 1,411Member Uncommon

    eqnext / archeage - theme park cat shit will finally be buried in the sandbox.

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member

    According to this Cracked article, the sandbox genre and the term were created by the first GTA game in 1997.

    Sandbox Games

    Not sure how reliable they are as a source, but they tend to do more research than I do when looking this stuff up.

    I know there were games prior to 1997 that had something of an open world aspect, even in the mid to late 80s, but I'm not sure you could apply the term 'Sandbox' to those games.

    ** ** **

    It seems the term pre-existed any actual sandbox game.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • roreuxroreux Sorogong, ALPosts: 15Member

    Etymologists will figure it out one day.

    But until then, et me defend my point.

     

    But for now, why I think Fred coined the term is because Compute! was so widely read by us amatuers.  Fred also published a book or two, on computers in teh classroom.  Don't know if they are still in print or not.  One of the thousands who bought Compute! could've applied Fred's term to MMOs.

     

    Yes, there are many meanings of sandbox including the playground feature with four boards and sand.  And there's the software sandbox used for testing sometimes called a test server or a test bed.   What Fred did is apply the term Sandbox to mean 'degrees of freedom, fund and exploration'.  But I think Fred's use of the term is pretty spot on when used to describe a sandbox mmo.

     

     

     

     

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,676Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Helleri

    The existence of the MMORPG could not occured before it the marketing term. Because, the marketing term was coined to define it.

    What was DoTA before MOBAs?

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • Mors.MagneMors.Magne LondonPosts: 1,420Member


    Originally posted by roreux Found this on the wayback machine archive.  It's from a 1986 Compute! magazine   As I stood in front of my class that first night, I dug deep inside myself for the one thing that I stood for, the one thing that would charge up the class to leap into the media with gusto and pizzazz. Then I thought of the magic word: sandbox. To me a sandbox is more than four boards and a bag of sand. It is a metaphor for play, storytelling, world building, and for a child's personal journey of exploration and discovery. And sand is a metaphor for what good media should be—rich, malleable, and gritty. Playing with media should be a multisensory experience. As with sand, you should smell it, taste it, and touch it. It should get in your ears, in your shorts, and in your hair. -- Fred D'Ignazio, Associate Editor   http://www.atarimagazines.com/compute/issue76/World.php   Compute! was one of those magazines that had the code  you typed in by hand and it never worked cause you'd always make a mistake somewhere. lol 

    I work for a public relations (PR) company and I play 'sandbox' MMORPGs. My role within the PR industry is to use the written word, so this is a subject that interests me.

     
    From my perspective, the intention of marketing games using the description 'sandbox' is to sell games rather than to be 100% accuate.


    This is an excellent example of how the term is used to brilliant marketing effect: 


    The reason it's used is because it's a word that conveys freedom and imagination. The important points here are that it's only one word and it's a metaphore, which together put the message across very quickly indeed.


    But it's not all good news. Although it's a word that sells games, these games are, generally speaking, not real sandboxes because you can't build structures (analagous to sand castles). In reality, most of these games are entertaining simulations, which doesn't sound quite so sexy.

  • HelleriHelleri Felton, CAPosts: 927Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by Helleri

    The existence of the MMORPG could not occured before it the marketing term. Because, the marketing term was coined to define it.

    What was DoTA before MOBAs?

    A non-existant derivative of an rts that released long after MMORPG had previously been defined (the key word there being non-existant, and the parralell your trying to draw mute).

    image

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,676Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Mors.Magne

    Originally posted by roreux Found this on the wayback machine archive.  It's from a 1986 Compute! magazine   As I stood in front of my class that first night, I dug deep inside myself for the one thing that I stood for, the one thing that would charge up the class to leap into the media with gusto and pizzazz. Then I thought of the magic word: sandbox. To me a sandbox is more than four boards and a bag of sand. It is a metaphor for play, storytelling, world building, and for a child's personal journey of exploration and discovery. And sand is a metaphor for what good media should be—rich, malleable, and gritty. Playing with media should be a multisensory experience. As with sand, you should smell it, taste it, and touch it. It should get in your ears, in your shorts, and in your hair. -- Fred D'Ignazio, Associate Editor   http://www.atarimagazines.com/compute/issue76/World.php   Compute! was one of those magazines that had the code  you typed in by hand and it never worked cause you'd always make a mistake somewhere. lol 

    I work for a public relations (PR) company and I play 'sandbox' MMORPGs. My role within the PR industry is to use the written word, so this is a subject that interests me.


    From my perspective, the intention of marketing games using the description 'sandbox' is to sell games rather than to be 100% accuate.


    This is an excellent example of how the term is used to brilliant marketing effect: 


    The reason it's used is because it's a word that conveys freedom and imagination. The important points here are that it's only one word and it's a metaphore, which together put the message across very quickly indeed.


    But it's not all good news. Although it's a word that sells games, these games are, generally speaking, not real sandboxes because you can't build structures (analagous to sand castles). In reality, most of these games are entertaining simulations, which doesn't sound quite so sexy.

    That is one of my favorite EVE videos. :) I think you're also spot on regarding marketing's use of the term. Like 'MMORPG', the term has acquired a decent amount of baggage, which is why you'll see a lot of  newer MMOs say their game has 'sandbox gameplay' or 'sandbox elements' rather than call the game a sandbox MMO.

     

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • kjempffkjempff AarhusPosts: 883Member Uncommon

    Can we really name any mmorpg as sandbox ? Isn't sandbox all about building worlds out of a generic material, sand - Mmorpgs are mostly just the tools like showels and buckets but there aren't much sand to form _your world with.

    Early games like Populus and simcity are much more what I think of as sandbox, and later on also fps games or Sims types to some extend. True sandboxing in a mmorpg is but a beautiful dream still, wouldnt you agree ?

  • Mors.MagneMors.Magne LondonPosts: 1,420Member
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by Mors.Magne

    Originally posted by roreux Found this on the wayback machine archive.  It's from a 1986 Compute! magazine   As I stood in front of my class that first night, I dug deep inside myself for the one thing that I stood for, the one thing that would charge up the class to leap into the media with gusto and pizzazz. Then I thought of the magic word: sandbox. To me a sandbox is more than four boards and a bag of sand. It is a metaphor for play, storytelling, world building, and for a child's personal journey of exploration and discovery. And sand is a metaphor for what good media should be—rich, malleable, and gritty. Playing with media should be a multisensory experience. As with sand, you should smell it, taste it, and touch it. It should get in your ears, in your shorts, and in your hair. -- Fred D'Ignazio, Associate Editor   http://www.atarimagazines.com/compute/issue76/World.php   Compute! was one of those magazines that had the code  you typed in by hand and it never worked cause you'd always make a mistake somewhere. lol 

    I work for a public relations (PR) company and I play 'sandbox' MMORPGs. My role within the PR industry is to use the written word, so this is a subject that interests me.


    From my perspective, the intention of marketing games using the description 'sandbox' is to sell games rather than to be 100% accuate.


    This is an excellent example of how the term is used to brilliant marketing effect: 


    The reason it's used is because it's a word that conveys freedom and imagination. The important points here are that it's only one word and it's a metaphore, which together put the message across very quickly indeed.


    But it's not all good news. Although it's a word that sells games, these games are, generally speaking, not real sandboxes because you can't build structures (analagous to sand castles). In reality, most of these games are entertaining simulations, which doesn't sound quite so sexy.

    That is one of my favorite EVE videos. :) I think you're also spot on regarding marketing's use of the term. Like 'MMORPG', the term has acquired a decent amount of baggage, which is why you'll see a lot of  newer MMOs say their game has 'sandbox gameplay' or 'sandbox elements' rather than call the game a sandbox MMO.

     

    I agree. I often see threads that say that EvE / Darkfall /(insert the name of any 'sandbox' game here) are rubbish sandboxes. They are correct - they are rubbish sandboxes, BUT their strengths and entertainment value lie elsewhere - e.g. In providing a sense of imersion and adrenaline rushes that come with that.

     

    Real sandboxes and real sand castles might indulge your imagination and enable you to be free, but I have never known them to provide an adrenaline rush.

  • VengeSunsoarVengeSunsoar Posts: 5,316Member Uncommon

    Many many times in many many fields new terms are invented to try and differentiate someone's game or idea from another, whether their actually is any difference or not.  They are done to promote that person or idea.

    Examples in my field:

    ATP-CP system, Anaerobic alactic system - different words, same thing.  Done because someone else wanted to write his own book.

    Fast oxidative glycolytic, anaerobic lactcc, lactic acid system, anaerobic glycolysis- same things

    Slow oxidative glyolytic, cardiovascular system using glyocolysis, aerobic glycolysis - same thing.

    Garriot coined the term MMORPG to describe his game.  However MMO' were around before UO, and many of them were considered RPG.

    Inventing a new word does not mean that that is the start of that particular idea.  In other words, it is just for promotion.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_massively_multiplayer_online_games

     

    Quit worrying about other players in a game and just play.

  • ArakaziArakazi OxfordPosts: 889Member
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by Helleri   But, one thing can be clear in this. We could not have applied terms like sandbox or themepark to MMORPG prior to their recognized existance.
     

    Games existed before MMOs, Helleri. In the mid-90's sandbox gameplay was quite often discussed as sims and god games evolved.

    Yeah, I remember a game called Raillroad Tycoon being called a sandbox. First time I heard it though was in graphic design.

     

    Edit:

    I meant Computer Aided Design.

  • AeliousAelious Portland, ORPosts: 2,854Member Uncommon
    Great find OP and I think it fits the idea pretty well, immersion into a game due to freedom and creation.

    I personally think that "sandbox" is an inclusive term and not exclusive. As long as there is sand to build with and the freedom to move around there can be other structures in the box.

    I remember thinking about this at the zoo. There was a big area of sand with plastic animals for kids to climb on scattered about. That about sums up what kind of sandbox MMO I'm looking for.
  • AxehiltAxehilt San Francisco, CAPosts: 8,759Member Uncommon
    Oh hey, it's the same "Sandbox = Sand = Malleable game elements" definition I've been plugging here for a year.  Nice!

    "Joe stated his case logically and passionately, but his perceived effeminate voice only drew big gales of stupid laughter..." -Idiocracy
    "There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance." -Socrates

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by Helleri   But, one thing can be clear in this. We could not have applied terms like sandbox or themepark to MMORPG prior to their recognized existance.  
    Games existed before MMOs, Helleri. In the mid-90's sandbox gameplay was quite often discussed as sims and god games evolved.


    What about in RPGs? Not sure about most people, but when discussing and thinking about the term 'Sandbox', I'm thinking of RPGs or Adventure games. The 'God Games' may have sandbox game play, but they don't really seem to be marketed or referred to as sandboxes.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • waynejr2waynejr2 West Toluca Lake, CAPosts: 4,481Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Helleri
    Originally posted by waynejr2
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by Helleri   But, one thing can be clear in this. We could not have applied terms like sandbox or themepark to MMORPG prior to their recognized existance.
     

    Games existed before MMOs, Helleri. In the mid-90's sandbox gameplay was quite often discussed as sims and god games evolved.

     Regardless of what someone calls the first mmorpg the existance of an mmorpg could occur before the marketing term.  In any case, mmorpgs were going to come about at some point, too many people dreaming of this type of game since the 70s.   Graphical muds in the 80s were are step, 3d games such a doom were a step, etc.  MMORPG built upon a ton of technology that came before it.  It's kind of silly to give too much credit for creating the first one.  Some credit but not a ton of it.

    The existence of the MMORPG could not occured before it the marketing term. Because, the marketing term was coined to define it. If your trying to say that MMORPG existed before we all had the ability to know about them (like in the arpanet and various intrnets) you'd be wrong. Because, what existed then were not massive.

     

    And yes, MMORPG's were an eventuallity that were based on a lot of ground work that came before them. But those ground work games were not MMORPG themselves.

     

    It is not 'silly' to give too much credit, because 'too much credit' was not given. Fair and applicaible amount of credit was.

     

    Apparently it is too much to ask that on the forums for a site that is supposed to be about MMORPG, in the specific board for such discussion, that the scope of a thread be narrowed to actually pertain to MMORPG. And, to additionally avoid getting too analytical about a single phrase.

     This is just silly.  IF today we started calling all mmorpgs fruitsalad and we said fruidsalads existed before it, you would be the guy claiming today is when mmorpgs.  THINK ABOUT IT. MMORPG IS A MARKETING TERM. 

    Some people have giving it too much credit.  THAT IS MY OPINION.  If you have a different opinion that is fine.

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