I've been doing a lot of thinking about "game design theories" and about how most of them are pretty easy to put into clever little parables and presentations, but can seem totally useless when you actually need to develop them. (Paul is responsible for this. He gave me this huge document he wrote and then went out of town so we couldn't talk about it.)
I think about things like this because I'm a producer and not a designer anymore, and because we're in severe crunch time right now and I'm at work the majority of every day and night.
But I also think about things like this because it seems like, with any game where you give players flexibility and freedom (which is great!), you lose control over what they're actually going to do/like in your game (which is also great! but sometimes feels like poopoo).
This is how I feel about the Tome of Knowledge, where we're trying to make this open ended experience, and I know two weeks into it that players are going to find some crazy new thing to do with it that I didn't think of, which is exciting but also makes the control freak in me a little sad.
This also makes me wonder how Will Wright feels about the Spore Penis Phenomenon. Give em an inch, right Will? (Pun intended...)