A man who had a massive influence on LittleBigPlanet, and me, has just passed away, and I wanted to mark the moment with a post to say thank you to them for all the years of inspiration.
They may not have been in the office, typing code, or pushing pixels around in Photoshop (to be honest, I would be surprised if they owned anything more modern than an electric-typewriter) but their influence is scattered thoughout our little orb of dreams.
Tony Hart was an icon of 1970 & 80s British television, through creating and presenting various art & craft shows such as Take Hart and Hart Beat, he gave a whole generation of children a love of making stuff. I’d sit in front of the tv, with a pile of cardboard and pens, trying in my basic way to do what he was doing so effortlessly on screen. And waiting, while holding my breath, for the Gallery section, where he shared some of the best artwork that had been sent in from viewers (a key element of this, the wonderful accompanying Left Bank Two music even lives on in the opening credits level of LBP).
Mr Hart wasn’t the only star of his shows. There was also the character of Morph (produced by the then newly-formed Aardman Animations) a tiny Plastercine stop-motion animated character. I’d giggle in delight as he ran around on Mr Harts work-table having various adventures, knocking over pens and running through pools of paint. A little creation that can be seen as an early precursor to a certain little sack-person that came along many years later.
We were very privileged to meet Tony Hart late last year, as the game launched – which felt like the completion of a circle for me, and I hope, in our small way, we can pass on that same love of “making stuff” to another generation with what we’ve been doing and with LBP, and all the creativity players are putting into making stuff with it.
As Stephen Fry, voice of LittleBigPlanet, said on learning of Mr Harts death, “Tony Hart gone. How Sad. Not dead, but morphed.”