Get a snack, sip on that coffee, kick back and relax. It’s time for our EarlyGame Talk.
My biggest fear used to be growing old. Bones weak and weary, muscles gone, skin sagging, and my teeth in the glass on my bedside table. Yeah… not a pretty picture. It was a legitimate fear of mine, but: I didn’t write ‘was’ for nothing. Things have changed. VR has come along.
What used to be the stuff of fiction has become reality. We really and truly are catching up to sci-fi visions of the past: iRobot? Feels like it’s maybe a decade or two away. Ender’s Game had visions of the internet that have long come true and Terminator had military drones that now roam warzones in real life. That leads me to believe that it is not so far-fetched to think that major parts of Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One will become reality soon enough.
And if you’re not familiar with Ready Player One - here’s the opening scene for you. Spoiler free:
Now in that clip, people are still very much moving in real life to move their digital counterpart. That’s no good for saggy old me. But at the same time, the movie’s vision takes place in 2045. I’d only be 55 by then. I mean, Mike Tyson is having a comeback fight at that age in just under 2 months and he looks far from saggy:
I’m no Mike Tyson by any means, but I hope that by 2045, my bones won’t be cracking just yet and I don't have need for a VR escape. It is when your bed becomes your main room of operations and the wheelchair your main means of transport, that VR really must come through, meaning an extra 20 years down the road: 2065. Tack another 20 years on the reality displayed in Ready Player One and I see no reason as to why mind control in video games should not be a reality yet - with no actual movement necessary. Yes, maybe it’s not exactly living through an Avatar unrestricted, but at the very least we will likely be able to give mental inputs like forward, back, left, right and attack.
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And if that sounds familiar, it's because it's not an entirely new idea. Elon Musk is already dabbling in it and Netflix's Black Mirror has envisioned it in a past episode:
And that’s essentially what the future of gaming is: A revolution of mechanics rather than graphics. From the NES to this year’s PS5 - we’re all still hung up on graphics and performance, but I’m going out on a limb here and say that, after the PS5, the revolution going forward will be all about how we control the games: We will move away from controller and mouse & keyboard, dive deeper into VR and move past Ready Player One to something more akin to the Black Mirror Episode ‘Striking Vipers’. A lot of time will have passed until that comes true and, yes, my bones may be weary by then. My teeth may be next to me and my skin might be sagging, but it won't matter, because in 2065, at age 75, I'll be fighting the evil unicorn army while mounted on my trusted T-Rex, ready to conquer the moon.
What a time to grow old.