The future may be that games become what we now perceive as a “book”.
The CBC radio program Ideas looked into the future of books and it’s a really interesting piece on what we think a book is from a human and cultural experience. You should listen to the entire episode but if you’re interested in the part about video games it’s around 45 minutes in.
Many of us sit in front of a computer at a desk most of the day which can get rather uncomfortable. Using a tablet or smartphone while sitting at most desk chairs can be rather ergonomically bad. Industrial designers at Steelcase have scoured the world looking at how people use modern electronics and how they sit when using them.
The result is a remarkable chair that I really want after watching this (admittedly cheesy) video:
The chair is called Gesture and you can find out more at Steelcase.
To put this whole thing in context, it’s important to realize that in terms of human history that chairs are still kind of new to us. From Wikipedia’s entry on the chair:
In fact, it was not until the 16th century that it became common anywhere. Until then the chest, the bench and the stool were the ordinary seats of everyday life, and the number of chairs which have survived from an earlier date is exceedingly limited; most examples are of ecclesiastical or seigneurial origin. Our knowledge of the chairs of remote antiquity is derived almost entirely from monuments, sculpture and paintings.
In a 30 minute segment, BBC Radio 4 looked into the world of immersive theatre and came out alive. In It’s Fun, But Is It Theatre?, they explore what the world of immersive theatre holds and why it’s worth looking into.
If you’re new to the idea of immersive theatre it’s worth listening to, as well as checking out the links they have assembled to some of the more popular troupes creating immersive events. One of the theatre companies making immersive theatre has a great name: You Me Bum Bum Train.
Sarah Hemming, theatre critic for the Financial Times screws her courage to the sticking point and embarks on a series of theatrical experiences, to help you decide whether you too might enjoy this type of theatre trip: the sort that doesn’t involve a stage, a programme, an ice cream at the interval – oh, or a seat. Experiences can range from Lucien Bourjeily’s re- enactment of imprisonment in a Syrian detention centre – “we promise you will be released at the end” ,to a magical storytelling moment by a cosy library fireplace – but is it theatre?
Just think of the future when augmented reality and immersive theatre collide!
In the article, the author provides some great insight into the LARPing community and why this style of game play is captivating to a growing number of people.
“Video games, they’re fun—but I like creating my own fun,” said one Darkonian I met hours later, after parking the minivan and unloading our gear. He identified himself as Warboss Gutsmangle, leader of the Darkon orc nation known as Waaagh Gutsmangle. “Nothing against video games, but I can come up with better things than programmers for my character to do, and being able to have this sort of limitless role-play opportunity appeals to me more.”
The questions most programmers ask (in fact most people ask) how do they track damage. The answer is rather simple and makes sense, as long as you aren’t playing with jerks who’d lie about hits:
Weapons have color-coded damage associated with each class: cutting weapons (swords) are white or black, thrusting and piercing weapons (arrows, daggers, spears) are red, and blunt-damage weapons (maces, flails, staves) are coded yellow. Each color causes a certain kind of damage depending on where it lands on the body and how many times one has already been hit. Those who have been around long enough to rate wearing armor have to do mental math to track the damage their armor takes on each part of their body before they lose a limb or drop dead on the field. The dead go to Hades (off the field) and respawn for the next round, or they can be healed or resurrected on the field by someone with those powers.
Using games for this purpose is not new, but it is gainging in popularity. RealAge writes in response to a question about how to keep mentally active that there is now research in ways that games can help seniors:
It’s no wonder the National Science Foundation is putting $1.2 million into a four-year study to investigate if and how video games slow cognitive decline. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation also pledged $8.5 million to study the impact of video games on everything from Alzheimer’s disease to driving skills.