We’ve come a long way since the likes of Pong, Asteroids and Space Invaders.
The humble origins of an engineer pratting around with an oscilloscope has developed in to a billion dollar industry with cutting edge graphics and realism.
The fact that in this day and age you can play in 3D is incredible.
More human than human?
There are times where the graphics are too perfect when the skin of a character comes over as a bit waxy or shiny but do we really want ultra realism. Where does the divide between life and gaming fall?
I must admit that I fully welcome the high level of detail that goes in to character skinning, motion and artificial intelligence because I can tell the difference and ‘switch off”. It’s no where near perfect yet.
What happens when it does become indistinguishable to look between a monitor or a windows? Will I be as cavalier in my attitude of being able to tune out from the virtual world? I’m not totally sure.
Am I worried? Yes. The younger generation claim to be able to tell the difference but their brains are simply not ready to make the right judgment calls so the influence of these potential crowd pleasers is hugely significant.
Having left my teens over a decade ago I feel I have a good amount of experience and moral fiber with which to assess the world. I still welcome the progress of photo realistic settings as I know I’m equipped well enough to take on whatever is thrown at me and to a certain extent I want to lose myself knowing that I can still make the distinction of digital and real.
I want to be free.
The more immersive the environment the better the experience is for me. Deus Ex almost hit the nail on the head for me in Human Revolution aside from the awkward character movement and waxy skin textures.
Games like Borderlands draw me in because of their unique styling, great story line and awesome gameplay which make them a sheer pleasure to indulge in.
For a visual feast I turn to the Myst series as it’s pretty hard to beat.
I know others will spout racing games as being highly detailed which I agree with when it comes to the cars and the lining of the fixed routes used in these games, but I won’t be happy until I can drive down any street in London get out of my car and run in to any building. Tall order, I know.
I like being able to escape easily in a game, but i’m always aware that I’m sitting in my man-cave with headphones on staring at a screen.
The levels of realism are largely dependent on the advances in technology.
With each miniaturisation of technology we cram more power on to the board or processor and push the boundaries harder. What will it take to deliver our very own Matrix?
I can’t imagine we’re far away from achieving something of this nature or scale.
As our species progresses further, we are delving more in to the realms of neural enhancements which are tapping straight in to our senses. This has mainly been in search of more honorable goals such as trying to cure Alzheimers and Parkinsons but it’s only a matter of time before scientists realise the potential of tapping straight in to our consciences and manipulate our brain patterns to deliver a vision that is by all accounts real. It’s a marketing executives dream to be able to know exactly what you’re thinking.
It won’t be a case of having the latest processor or largest graphics card anymore as the technology available won’t come in to it. It will simply be a case of having your brain-waves altered.
As Morpheus states: “If real is what you can feel, smell, taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.”
The recent reboot of Total Recall again calls in to question what do we perceive as reality. The basis of this film, Philip K Dick’s short story ‘We can remember it for you wholesale’, did well to get Doug to wonder who he was/is and I can see this happening in the future, maybe not in my lifetime, but it will happen.
Why pretend to be a character in an alternative reality when you could have those memories implanted and actually ‘be’ that character?
For now I’m content with flicking the PC on and addressing my first world problems by hitting the keyboard and mouse.