For some time I have been interested in the possibilities of leveraging video game technology in the geospatial world. Back in 2002, I attended a conference conference where one of the main themes was how commercial video game technology could be used as a basis for military training and simulation software - the game market had become so big that its technology had moved ahead of what more specialized companies could do for the military. This is an example of a more general trend towards consumer-led computing (a term first coined by Garter) - whereas in the past, new computing ideas would generally develop first in the business world and later move into the consumer area, in many cases it is now the other way round. We are certainly seeing this in the geospatial world with the impact of Google, Microsoft and others.
Anyway, I thought that SketchUp was a pretty fun tool for building 3D models (I have used SketchUp to build models of potential future developments around Denver Union Station, and to design a remodel of my loft). However, there is a new game coming out for the Playstation 3 called Little Big Planet (no relation to Smallworld!), which puts a whole new spin on how to build 3D models. The ease of use, the fun factor and the way that they model the physics are really impressive. Check out the following videos on YouTube: