Feeling much better now, with my hearing back, and some new inspiration.
I saw an interesting article today in the NY Times about new and interesting ways to merge video games with real world games. The article focuses on a Pac-Man game played in real life in Manhattan, where strategists remotely track the players’ movement using GPS and assist via cell phone. This kind of thing has just started to blossom in the last year as WiFi and GPS became cheaper.
What I love is how this flip-flops the idea of virtual reality, which we tried and tried so many times. Why bother? With video games, five or so years ago we were starting from the virtual space and looking for ways to make it more physical (guns that aim at the screen, Dance Dance Revolution, steering wheels and petals). Now we have what I’ll call “real virtuality”, starting from the physical space and introducing virtual controls and feedback, a more promising approach, in my opinion. With virtual reality, we are slaves to the machine and its limitations. But real virtuality starts with our goals as active humans and allows computers to assist in whatever limited way they can. And right now, even with the limited technologies we do have for this, there’s a lot of untapped potential.