The future of gaming
Posted on Saturday, January 19 2008 @ 17:53:29 PST
Not as catchy as my last title, huh? Ah well, hopefully it'll be worth a read even without the lack of apologies for not including boobs or hummingbirds. After covering one of the (unjustifiably) biggest stories at the moment with my Sex! blog I've decided (well, JCD decided) to take a look at what could happen in the future. Pretty broad topic, I know, so I'll limit it down to gaming I guess... what with this being a gaming site and all.
Gaming has come on leaps and bounds since Pong (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pong), we've shot up hollow blobs in Asteroid, jumped over alligator head infested ponds in Pitfall! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitfall!) and eventually leapt into the third dimension with games like Wolfenstein 3D and Doom (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doom_%28video_game%29) and since then things have been steadily improving not just in terms of graphics but with gameplay, sound and size of games, just take a look at modern titles such as the GTA titles, Halo series and stand alone tours de force like Bioshock, Mass Effect and Uncharted (and yes, that is the plural of 'tour de force' (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/tour%20de%20force)). Crap, this is fast becoming the past of gaming... ok let's cut this short, gaming has come a looooong way and given little factoids like this it promises to carry on for much longer. But where does that leave us? Is each subsequent console going to get better graphics, bigger worlds and not a fat lot else? I doubt it, we've already seen attempts at controller innovation in the ludicrously named Wii (seriously, Nintendo must be playing some trick on us here!) and the sixaxis PS3 controller, we've seen analogue buttons in the recent past and even attempts at controlling a game via a camera but really, when all's said and done the core gameplay principles are largely the same for most great games.
So what can we look forward to in the future? Well clearly graphics are going to get more and more lifelike and as storage solutions become larger the game worlds can become more complex but will there be anything else? Well I found this (http://www.bhfo.org/news/press-releases/contact-lens-display-system-2.html) earlier today and almost cried with happiness. Geeky? You betcha. Exciting? Oh hell yes! The possibilities with this technology are mind boggling, from military applications such as providing a permanent HUD for soldiers featuring intelligent target selection to industrial safety implementations to flash up a warning in toxic areas all the way down to those stock guys who get all excited when their stocks go up and are reduced to tears when it craps out getting instant notifications when something important happens. But this blog is about games so let's start being selfish and think about what this amazing technology can do for us. Well my first thought is virtual reality, although I hate that term because it conjures up memories of Virtual Boy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nintendo_Virtual_Boy), not a good moment for Nintendo. Even though the concept of 'virtual' reality is tainted it doesn't mean it has to be ****. In fact, I reckon it holds a lot of promise, at least the idea of being 'inside' the game world does and if those lenses are used in conjunction with something like this or this it's actually a feasible idea and being able to actually be inside a game is an incredible idea to me... if it can be pulled off.
But what about the content of games? There's no denying that games today are so much deeper than the games of old simply because technology is more capable of supporting the visions of developers now so are we going to be able to explore larger and larger areas? How about whole countries? Or planets! Full size planets! See, Mass Effect built on the ideas of KOTOR and allowed us to explore lots of planets in lots of systems but even that didn't give us whole planets! With holographic discs just round the corner of production we can expect absolutely enormous storage in just a few console generations.
Even if my ambitious hopes aren't realised soon it's an exciting time to be a gamer, let's get away from the pessimism, stop focusing on the profiteering conglomerates like EA issuing rehash after rehash of done to death sports games and focus on the awesome smaller companies like BioWare and Havok releasing innovative, glorious titles, even larger companies like Rockstar are giving us hope. Even though the small number of massive companies are scared of taking even the smallest of risks there are hundreds of little guys just itching to get their amazing idea turned into an amazing game. In the words of my phone provider, "the future's bright, the future's orange"... except it's not orange really is it? The future can't technically have a colour.