reading05 —

reading05 — video game peripherals

Video games have historically been physically passive experiences (ie. players sit and interact via stationary input devices). With devices such as the Kinect and Wiimotes and rhythm games such as Rock Band, there has been a push for more physically demanding and interactive games. What do you make of these types of games? Do you enjoy them or do you prefer old fashion passive gaming? What about the potential for things like virtual reality or even augmented reality?

For me, the reasons for playing video games usually breaks down into three categories: for social interactions, for the challenge/entertainment, and for therapy. Social video games would include playing FIFA, Madden, 2k, Mario Kart, Fortnite, etc. Basically any game where I can easily play with my buddies, either in direct competition or on a team together. For challenge and entertainment can also include these games, but it would be different sort of game modes, for example: MyCareer for 2k. For therapy, it is usually games I am very good at or have played a ton in my life and I can just play by myself in a very relaxed manner. Think of Pokemon, Minecraft, or one of my favorites, Basketball GM.

I think it’s important to classify the reasons why we play video games when we think of video game peripherals or the concepts behind virtual reality or augmented reality video games. They could either fit into one of these reasons, or create another entire valid reason for playing video games, but they will never truly just take over video gaming. Just looking at what I would call my “therapy video games”, I see games that I want to lay down or sit comfy and just let go of the world for a bit. This type of gaming doesn’t really fit into something like DDR or a Wiimote shooting game (unless the person playing has played the game so much, it is just instinctual actions). With that being said, virtual reality and augmented reality are breaking new grounds on what it means to ‘play’ a video game. I’ve seen videos of people playing pool just like they would in real life, but with a headset on. I’ve seen awesome hand-grips that let people pick up guns and shoot with them in the game. These games take a lot of hardware, a lot of concentration, and also a lot of skill. With the games being so real, I find it difficult to imagine that someone would enjoy them when they are just bad. The intuition in playing a virtual reality shooter game seems a higher than using a button layout that people have been using their entire life.

One thing that I would love to see out of this development in the next few years would be the return of racing games. Arcade racers were huge back in the day and I remember playing a lot of great racing games when I was younger. Still today, I love Mario Kart Wii, despite not using the wheel attachment. With the way racing games are controlled (i.e. you are sitting in a chair and have very strict movements), I see a very good opportunity to create a really cool environment with VR/AR that would bring back a genre that has kind of dipped in the last several years.