Recess! 4 — Glass

Hi Niels & Kars,

I’m checking in with you guys straight from what used to be Cold War Berlin. Berlin is still in a state of conflict, mostly because of growing pains and a lack of a coherent identity (today they started demolishing the last bit of that wall to make place for luxury apartments). An interesting example of that conflict on the streets is the civil disobedience and destruction themed game Camover. The idea is generally that people with balaclavas go around destroy security cameras and documenting the fact to gain points. Now as if that wasn’t controversial enough, an activist associated with it suggested to extend the game to ‘data goggles’ and destroy those of people recording your visage.

Data goggles obviously means Google Glass. Last week we had a brief discussion on twitter about why Glass would or would not be an obvious device to play games on. Say what you will about the video or just compare it to the Microsoft vision of internet connected fridges.

I’m well aware of the standard arguments against AR. Kars was quick to point them out. These are very valid, but it is still an experience that can be put to a variety of uses. Just look at the Move controller’s whose limited in- and outputs enable a game as interesting as Joust of which the depths have not been exhausted yet. Similarly the hardware affordances of Glass should yield at least one interesting game.

What is the most annoying part of Joust is finding enough controllers to play it with. If Glass reaches the Android like ubiquity that Google is obviously aiming for, we can expect a very rich ecosystem to arise around this. These games will be mostly very boring, poor conversions or techno-wankery such as for instance Ingress but we should not rule out that there may be one or two good ones to pop up as well. I’ll take something that’s half as fun to play as Zumbie looks to be.

Straight up game development of course is not the most interesting thing that such a platform offers. The changes in our social interaction that such hardware engenders will probably be the most interesting hooks to build interesting playful interactions into. So the loony activist above was not that far off the mark, but let us try to be a bit more constructive.

– Alper