If games like Halo 3 and Super Smash Bros. Brawl were small pushes, then consider Media Molecule’s LittleBigPlanet a huge shove into a content creation renaissance.

Up to this point, level design in console games has more often than not felt like a half-evolved, useless appendage — if even that. While PC gamers have for decades been able to craft complex, fully-realized experiences on top of their games, console gamers have been stuck puttering around with simplistic level creation tools that seem added as an afterthought. From the ultra-simple course editor in NES’ Excitebike to the Skatepark Editor in the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series, console level editors have been characterized by strictly limited set pieces, restrictive construction grids and the inability to easily share creations with the world.

It’s hard to blame crappy level creators solely on console developers: Consoles have only recently enjoyed the processing power, built-in hard drives and Internet connections that have allowed PC gamers to easily create, test, store, and share their own levels. With a game like LittleBigPlanet, we seem poised to enter a new era in which millions of console gamers can finally discover the power of their creativity.

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