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Arnold’s Press Pause and Rewind: July 29th

I had intended on putting up this bit as part of last week's
entry, but I got a little carried away with my Nintendo rant, so
I decided to bump it to this week's entry. Naturally, E3 opened
my eyes up to a lot of things, as it always has in the past. I
stopped and stood for a few minutes watching people play Eye of
Judgment, and I was sort of impressed with the interactivity
between the camera and the playing cards it recognizes as the
foundation of the game's core.

It made me wonder, if we've already got Eye-Toy and Eye of
Judgment, are suits next? I mean, think about it. We went from
Duck Hunt to Time Crisis. From Super Mario Bros. to Super Mario
64. From Adventure to Final Fantasy XII. From Parappa the Rapper
to Rockband. From a standard game-pad to a Wii-mote. Motion
capturing technology is nothing new, and if you couple that to a
camera and sensors that are designed to recognize the data and
convert it to actual gameplay, you've got yourself something
special. Similar technology for videogames has existed in the
past, albeit it was extremely poor in execution and never worked
to its proper potential.

We're in the age of game consoles that are so extremely powerful
that they're being selected to partake in grueling CPU tasking
projects such as Folding@home. And Folding@home's tasking is so
demanding that even high-end PCs can't run it as efficiently as a
PS3 can. Motion suits would probably not be feasible this
generation, seeing as how today's processors would need a little
bit of extra juice in order to calculate your movements, convert
them to animations on a rendered character in real-time, and then
calculate stuff like collision detection among other specifics.
It can be done, but not without cutting corners and limiting the
amount of/type of movements recognized – because the level of
detail I'd like to see is having my every move mimicked, right
down to my fingers.

This is ultimately not a question of "if", but rather a
question of "when". Is the market ready for something
like this now? Or will it have to wait? With games becoming far
more physically involving than ever before, how much longer will
it be until we can be more than just dancers, guitarists,
singers, or boxers? When do we get to strap on a piece of gear
and physically partake in a Tekken or Virtua Fighter game? Or
control the actions of Solid Snake?

Rockband, Guitar Hero, Time Crisis, Dance Dance Revolution, the
SixAxis controller, and the Nintendo Wii as a whole may be
shaping the future of the industry and preparing it for something
entirely different. Virtual reality may finally live up to its
meaning in the coming years.

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