Tag Archives: gaming

Is The Future Made Yet?

Technology is an ever-changing commodity, and the video game industry always proves to be at the forefront of this change. Over thirty years ago, gaming consisted of countable bits on a screen and a little entertainment. Now, we play AAA titles that reach past our hand-eye coordination and touch our minds and soul. I’m a strong believer in the influential power of strong storytelling, but we cannot discount the hardware and gaming mechanics that go into a gameplay experience. And with the recent innovations into virtual reality headsets and gaming, an observer of trends in gaming has to wonder just where all this is going. Are we on the cusp of a gaming revolution shown in older ’90s movies such as The Lawnmower Man and Hackers?

Call of Duty: Ghosts
Call of Duty: Ghosts

Let’s start with what we already know. For the most part, first-person titles such as Call of Duty and Left for Dead are more interactive than third-person games. It’s that point of view that allows the player to see the world as they would see it. Of course, this is not to say that third-person games are not interactive as well. Look at The Last of Us, nominated by so many magazines and companies as Game of the Year. These kinds of games are just as good. However, gamers seem to enjoy the FP games because of the connection they can make with their character. Not seeing who you’re playing as for most of the game can help immerse you in the environment around you, at least in my experience. Even if the playable character has a face and form, the psychology of the situation shows that the player sees their own self in that character. Think of it like a long episode of Quantum Leap, if you’re old enough to know what that show is. If you’re not, feel free to stop reading and do a little research. I won’t mind.

 

The game doesn’t even have to be a shooter to be completely immersive, though that sometimes seems to be the go-to game for people looking for a good time in gaming. My example for this would be Outlast, truly one of the scariest games I have ever played. In case you’re unfamiliar

Something very creepy to look at.
Something very creepy to look at.

with it, Outlast is a horror FP title in which you’re a journalist investigating a shady mental asylum, armed with nothing but your video Something very creepy tocamera and a decent amount of cardio fitness. Couple this incredibly frightening run from the evil guys action with a gaming headset to put the disturbing sounds right in your ear, and you’ve got yourself a hell that you’re trying to complete just to escape from. No amount of pre-gaming conversation could prepare me for what I experienced in that game, and I loved every minute of it. I think Outlast is a testament to just how far the gaming interactivity has come for us.

Now, let’s look at the immediate future: VR gaming headsets. One of the big wave-makers in the industry is the Oculus Rift. According to their website, the Rift is allowing for a full 3D headset experience, completely removing the TV from the equation. Though the Rift is not on the market yet, the promise of future games using this is a little

OR
Oculus Rift

exciting, if you can get past the initial awkwardness of wearing a giant box on your head.

Of course, the Rift is not the only headset being promised on the market. Being a huge Sony fan, I was interested in hearing about their line of VR headset, dubbed Project Morpheus. Playstation’s blog speaks on this headset, boasting a 90 degree field of view at any given time along with1080p resolution and stereoscopic sound. Now, don’t get too excited. You can’t walk around your living room with the headset and expect to save the world. You’ll still need a controller and a Playstation Camera to interact with this world. But, the implications are pretty promising, not to mention the future happiness of FPS competitive gamers who struggle sometimes to find the right TV to aid in their killing conquests.

Morpheus
The Morpheus

Now, one has to consider some of the consequences to this. First of all, what is the cost? Will these headsets be affordable toys for the masses or luxuries for those with plenty of time and money on their hands? I’m inclined to believe that they’ll start off somewhat pricey and come down as time and technology grow. That’s usually the trend with these things. Another implication is eyesight degradation. Mom and Dad always say don’t sit too close to the TV. Will headsets have the same effect on the eyes? You can go either way on this one. You are experiencing a first person view of things just like you do every single day. However, you’re experiencing it through a synthetic screen, which is not natural for people to look through. So, a bit of caution may be in order for this new wave of gaming.

Finally, let’s think outside the gaming box. These headsets are great, but if you’re imaginative, you can find more uses for this tech. Astronauts and the military already using virtual simulators for combat and flight practice, that’s already known. What other ways can this be used? Maybe nursing schools and hospitals can train students to administer aid while removing some of the fear of mistakes. Computer techs can play with the insides of their devices before working on them for real. What if real estate agents and homebuyers could coordinate to create a dream home that a person can “walk” through before actually buying or building the place? This may sound a bit extreme, but VR can definitely be useful in the real world. Think about that in a few years when you see how things turn out.

If you’re trying to stay up to date with gaming news and devices, then obviously you’ll want to invest in a VR headset. These things can definitely open up a new world of interactive possibilities. It’s really going to be a matter of choice as to which device to pick, just like in picking a console. Personally, I’m not really in a hurry to pick a headset up. I’d like to let the market mature a bit before choosing to do that. I am optimistic though. The world is an evolving place, and the VR business is looking up. Or down. Or all around.

Morality in A Dead Zone

You sit and watch. Yell at the perceived stupidity of the characters. Tell yourself that you would do things differently. Because you know better than them, right? You, like millions like you in the world, are a Walking Dead fan and pass on your criticism to your television and friends all the time. What’s interesting about being a critic of a zombie apocalypse show is that your opinion could mean less than you think it does. After all, how well do you know yourself in regards to what actions you would take in the characters’ shoes?

ImageSee, I found that I asked myself this question a lot when playing Telltale Games’ award-winning The Walking Dead title recently. I used to sit with friends and watch every Sunday what Rick Grimes and the other survivors did, and we all used to exclaim our distaste for their choices and vowed that we could do better. But, it’s not easy once you have the choice and about 5 seconds to make it. I think that’s what made this game so good to so many people. It turned a mirror onto the player and forced them to consider what exactly holds weight with them.  Continue reading Morality in A Dead Zone

A Pirate’s Life: My Month with Assassin’s Creed IV

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A pirate’s life for me.

Let me begin with a sincere apology: I haven’t written nearly as much as I should these past few months. As I’m sure many of you understand, the tasks of life always seem to overtake the wishes of our pastimes. I promise to be more diligent in the future with my gaming musings and such.

Part of the reason I’ve been away from the blogging scene, besides the long hours I’ve been working, is the even longer time I spent trying to earn a 100% completion rate for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. I determined a long while ago that out of all the kinds of gamers out there, I’m definitely a completionist, especially when it comes to this franchise. It’s almost a kind of obsession I have had ever since the first title, and I definitely cannot stop now. With this title, I was able to experience a whole new type of simulation in the squalor of a pirate’s life as well as the continuing story both past and present that has kept me intrigued for years. I’ll do my best to keep this as spoiler-free as possible. I’d like to focus mainly on the motivations of the protagonist, both the pirate in the history books and the present-day person you control outside of the Animus.  Continue reading A Pirate’s Life: My Month with Assassin’s Creed IV

Would The Last of Us Really Be The End of Us?

by Marcus Brown

Human civilization is characterized by order. We wake up each day assuming that life will act more or less like it did yesterday. So, when something crazy happens, it throws us out of sync, and we react in such extreme ways, whether we act out or we shut down. Take a second to stop reading and and think about how you would react to any kind of major change in your life, if you haven’t already experienced something similar already. Imagine what you would do then, if this certain event happened to everyone at the same time. Do you think society would find a way to exist, or is it really every man for themselves? You may think you know the answer to this, but perhaps an in-depth thought process on the matter would surprise you. Continue reading Would The Last of Us Really Be The End of Us?