I may go a little crazy into the wild here. But stay with me.
Imagine for a second how far gaming has come in the last 30 years. from crude, simple lines on a screen that bounced a “ball” (Not even a ball, as it wasn’t possible to render anything more than a square.) back and forth until someone missed. resulting in an ear deafening tone to signify that you scored a point. A machine that stood 7 feet tall and weighed 800 pounds and was only capable of displaying black and white.
Now boot up your PS3 or Xbox360, or even a computer game. A system that can be carried with one hand with relative ease. What do you see? Graphics that almost rival real life in terms of lighting, wrinkles in the skin. blades of grass that sway and move independently from the blade next to it as the wind blows. Sound that has the ability to play sounds from 8 speakers. To manifest footsteps and the subtlety of fabric moving against fabric as you’re being approached and then breathing so life like that you physically turn around to see if it’s really your speakers or if someone slipped into the room while you where playing.
Now, imagine what games will be like in 30 years
Video Gameology 101
In 1947. The first video game was played. created by Esle Ray Mann and Thomas Goldsmith Jr. The game itself had no name. although the machine was called the “Cathode-Ray Tube Amusement Device”. It was a simple Cathode ray tube. Players controlled a dot on screen with analogue knobs. The only other graphics where clear sheets of plastic with little targets drawn on them, and these where placed over the screen. Think about this. This was the first “Video Game”. the only thing on screen was a bright green dot that you could move around the screen with a single rotating knob. Just over 10 years later, 1958 “Tennis for 2” was created. although other devices where created in within this decade, they where not huge leaps like Tennis for 2 was. This game used analog knobs again, but displayed some of the 1st signs of “physics” in games as the ball bounced off the “Table” (line drawn by the oscilloscope.) and volleyed over a “net” (line straight up and down drawn by the oscilloscope.)
That was a 10 year gap between a simple dot, to a dot, and 2 lines. Almost 10 years ahead to 1966. and we have the 1st video game system that can hook up and be played to a standard television, although only a prototype and never sold to the general public. “Corndog” was another huge leap in video games. Within 2 years it would be able to play a multitude of games, a lightgun was created for it as well. In only 20 years from the first glimpses of a simple gaming we see a system that could be used by anybody and support several different games.
To think that video games won’t make another huge leap in the next 30 years would be a mistake. 3D gaming perhaps? no, it’s been here for decades. Full motion gaming like that of Natal? That is only a year away, and even then. Was crudely available a decade ago as well. Graphics in games can only get so far before it’s trivial. I think we are already there. Are you really going to notice how detailed Solid Snake is anymore? Can we be awed by shiny surfaces and bright blooming lighting effects coming over the virtual horizon?
This is where I would usually go into my thought process that the video game market is in the market for another crash. Things can only go so far on there current path. But, I’m going to switch my thinking a little bit and try something else, I’m going to think past the “crash” and into the future for what I believe is in store 30 years from now.
One of the 1st computer systems was the size of a small house, weighed multiple tons, cost over a million dollars and performed the calculations that a 99 cent keychain assembled by a Taiwanese toddler assembled in under 1 minute today.
Imagine what will be done in 2039?
Nanotechnology isn’t a new idea, but it is for gaming. in 50 years, could we see the death of “video” games, and see an introduction of “Nano” gaming? injecting our bodies with a solution that will directly change the sensory we have over this world and create a new world controlled only by or brains?. the feeling of actually walking through a new world, with different grass. non-existent creatures roaming the land. being able to touch the trees in this world, and the injected solution manipulating the receptors in your brain to make your body actually “feel” what your touching? Would this even technically be considered gaming anymore or would it be outright called a drug? with something that has the potential to become very addicting. Do we want or need something that interactive in our lives?
Gaming is a multi-billion dollar business that now earns more than Hollywood year to year. This business thrives on the latest and greatest devices and they spend hundreds of millions in development. They aren’t something that are going away. But with the level of interactivity that they already allow, the world has been having even more of a negative impact from them. Gaming “Addiction” leading to Divorce Parents playing MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online.) based games so intently that they allow there children to starve to death.
Staying on the idea of Nano-gaming. what kind of dangers would the world be in for if we already have parents who forget there kids for a game as simple as World of Warcraft?. This idea could become a global pandemic. Governments around the world banning it for it’s legal addictive properties, and people uprising to protect not only there freedoms, but to possibly feed there already ravenous addiction to the, now condemned, drug.
A virus in this type of environment would kill. But on a psychological plain. Would viruses get to that point? creating a virus that destroys a computers system files is, almost harmless on all levels. Sure, it could wipe your credit record, could lose family photos, all your music files and so on. But you can always rebuild. nothing is ever FOREVER. Death is a completely different barrier to get through. Can virus creators so easily create something that can kill people and release it without warning?. It’s possible, and probably. More than likely, viruses would stay in the realm of Trojan Horses. you inject or ingest your..”game” I guess, and a trojan would allow the hacker to “follow” you on your daily activities. This “game” would just seem like a dud to you, but you stay in your body and allow another users to be you for however long they can keep the solution in your body.
The idea of living as someone/something else is a huge draw for some people. Life can be boring, and Video games are an avenue to use when you want to escape it all. There are those that simply take it too far and forget about there real life, and the damage they can do when they drift to close to the line that divides real from fiction. This new form of “gaming” would cause that line to disappear. As long as the user was connect 24/7. why would they ever need to leave? physically tied to the machine along side millions of others doing the same thing. It’s easy to lose yourself, not only because everything is better in this new world, but because so many others are doing it too. Group mentality is a dangerous thing. Even today the internet is a place for everyone of every mental disability to find a safe haven. Find a group of like minded people who all have the same problem. Why get help?
From here it’s so easy to go into a Matrix like scenario where the machines all control us at birth and use us as batteries as we live out some life of oblivious servitude. I’ll try not to tread on that. instead I’ll go another route.
Let’s say we dodge the “illegal drug” scenario and “NG” (Nano gaming) is allowed by most governments. What would keep people from leading a self destructive life? Personally. I would like to imagine the lack of “soul”. Sure, you can program Jesus, Hitler, make me a turtle cruising at 189,000 miles per second through time and space wearing clown shoes and eating galaxies. But, I can’t imagine it ever feeling completely real. The closest this form of entertainment could ever get would be mimicking my memories of looking into a real persons eyes and seeing there soul, what makes them tick. But this would just be a fake. And I would hope that deep down I would know, and remember what that is truly like.. and miss it. Even though I could do everything possible. The real essence of life would somehow be missing from it all, the details wouldn’t add up. In that, tiniest of moments. I see everyone missing that and down the line and slowly just stop using it. Not in a big riot or biblical type flood or bloody massacre. Just… subsiding.
This is of course an extremely optimistic “movie” ending. In reality, something that can change your perception so much would easily become one of the most addictive substances on earth. and depending on if the government can control it. would make it illegal or not. If they can control it’s distribution would mean we could become there slaves forever.
Who says while we are in this fantasy land full of our dreams our bodies are comatose on a bed?. nobody. While NG is distracting your mind with big breasts and furry manimals (I know that has got to be some ones fantasy!) Our bodies are doing something else?. working? filing papers? taking the kids to soccer practice? who knows. The part of our brains that control what we perceive as reality could be split from what is real. while we are in lah lah land. Our lower brain function could be unaffected and be set in auto pilot. This, in the wrong hands could be extremely deadly as well. We could be used as soldiers, completely unaware we are able to be gunned down for our country because we think we are sailing on a pirate ship full of zombie pirates. Or, again, a virus. We could be under the control of a hacker.
I brought up how a psychological barrier exists that would keep many hackers from using a virus to actually kill anyone. But, does this same barrier exist if the hacker puts you into autopilot to kill someone. a 3rd person murder? What kind of moral conflictions are there for a scenario like that?
While in NG.. would there be one?. would you feel bad for having sex with a stranger if you are married in Real life?. does that constitute as cheating? Could you kill someone as long as it was a “game” character. feeling there warm blood splatter across your face and hearing there cries for help. It’s only a game, Right? Would you be able to make that type of disconnection? If so, what would keep you from realizing that it’s no longer a game?
If my hope for people being able to see the difference, seeing the details, the soul. the essence of life. If all that doesn’t pan out and the line for reality blurs. At what point would we even know when real life started, and the NG life began? If you could disconnect yourself while in NG to bring yourself to murder and you are unable to differentiate NG from real life. What is going to keep you from killing a loved one because you think it’s in the game?
My mind is spinning and I have so many more thoughts on this… but… my hands hurt. Catch you on the Flip-Side.