How Digital Interaction Is Revolutionizing Gaming

It’s quite clear that the newest revolution in movies, and in experiencing them is three dimensional technology. Let’s face it, it’s good for business, and it’s terrific for ticket sales garnering lots of hype. Although the push to create and sell three dimensional televisions to the home market is steadily starting to increase, and the talk about games utilizing the new technology is almost a sure thing, a much quieter revolution has been beginning to take form in the video game universe.

Sure everyone knows about the Nintendo Wii, and how it has ruled the gaming world since its release back in 2006. With the ability to control your games with a motion controller, it introduced gamers to a whole new experience. Sure their are the skeptics (me being one of them) who will argue that most motion controlled games for the console only use the motion because it can, rather than for a purpose. None the less, gamers of all ages embraced the new technology, and with Nintendo dominating the sales charts it was only a matter of time before Sony, and Microsoft joined the party. Now with both companies planning to release their very own motion devices by the end of 2010, one thing is for sure – motion controlled games are here to stay.

Yet amongst the hype, and skepticism that surrounds both three dimensional games, as well as motion controlled games, perhaps one of the most exciting changes in the way games are being played is happening right under our feet. Video games as a personal experience, unique to each player. Now I know that doesn’t sound as glamorous as 3D, or motion, but think of the endless possibilities of them combined. New releases such as Mass Effect 2 (which sold extremely well), and to a greater effect, Heavy Rain, both are becoming known for giving gamers a personal experience unique to them. In other words, the next morning when your standing around the water cooler, and a co-worker is explaining the outcome of his incredible experience he enjoyed the night before, you are stunned and confused to find out that the same thing never happened to you.

It is always stressed that no two people are the same. We all have different likes and dislikes, values and opinions – so why are we forced to share the same gaming experience? I know it could easily be said that, if a developer has a story in mind they want to tell they should tell it with a beginning, middle, and end having every player come to the same conclusion, similar to the way a movie script is handled. With that being said, video games are not movies, similar to novels they are something we don’t mind spending fifteen or more hours playing. Giving gamers unique experience based around morals, and around how they interact with real people in their everyday lives is most certainly a revolution in gaming.

How is this achieved though? How can you make a player sincere, angry, and emotional around a character in a video game? It’s simple, by making the on screen character as human as possible. From the way they interact with the environment they are in, the situation, too detail things such as the way they move, their reactions to the players actions. Moral choices is not something new to video games. For years now allowing the player to either play on the good or bad side has been interwoven into countless games. Most times however the choices the player makes has no real lasting effect on the outcome of the experience, and tends to only have an effect on the overall world the game takes place in. For example, grabbing an enemy by the neck and having the ability to kill him or not will usually only grant the player a different power up depending on if he kills or doesn’t. That has no effect on the player, other than them having to think about which power up will get them to the end of the game with more ease. However giving that non-player character human like personality, and completely changing the outcome for the player whether or not he kills the enemy will leave a lasting effect on both the outcome of the story, as well as the player himself.

Now combining interaction with non-player characters and motion gameplay would easily make games the best experiences people can have with their entertainment. The ability to interact with your hands, feet, and movements with engaging narratives filled with characters we care about as well as giving the player choices on how they want to go about the story depending on the mood they are in at the time can truly immerse the player. It’s long been argued over whether or not video games have reached the level of artistic merit that films have achieved. I’m not about to stand on one side of that argument, but one thing is for sure – the next big step in the way we get our entertainment (whether we like it or not) is through immersion. Video games have the advantage here, it’s always been easy for game developers to get gamers attached to characters more so than it has been with film. Time is on the side of game developers, and soon the only way to separate each gaming experience will be by allowing the game to be in the players hands. Taking the way he/she lives their own lives and molding that into an interactive gaming experience is what developers should be looking at.