Here's a few key innovations in the massive and ever-growing video game industry. The blockbuster studios have laid down the hardware, but it's the smaller indie joints that are ditching the TV screen and creating entirely new games out of the already-existing consoles, batons, wands and controllers. Just as Twitter became something beyond what Ev Williams had envisioned, video games are evolving with purposes never imagined by the original designers.
Here is a sample of the best new designs in gaming, according to MIT Tech Review.
Spin The Bottle: Bumpie's Party
This game makes use of the Nintendo Wii motion controllers and the Wii-U console and has players compete in teams to play various mini-games. For instance in so-called "Rabbit Hunt" one team hides the Wii remote controllers and then the other team tries to find them, in only one minute, while the controllers emit random sniffing rabbit sounds. So the room itself becomes the set for the game. It's a great example of how a hack of hardware can become a new game in ways the original developers never intended.
This game uses the new and powerful virtual-reality headset created by Oculus Rift (see video below of the Oculus Rift creator's 90-year old grandmother playing with the VR headset). Inspired by Hitchcock's Rear Window, it's a detective game in which the player spies on occupants of a building from our wheel-chair (head movement is all you can do), knowing a murder will take place at 10pm. We then need to piece together answers by catching key details. What a refreshing change from the bloody war and killing rampant in most vid games.
This is the first game to be released for Google Glass (even though the glasses have yet to be released.) it's a pretty simple game, something you might play on the subway or waiting for a friend (or apparently, as in the demo video below riding your bike?) Like a black and white pared-down version of Pacman, you guide a stick figure over a path of dots. I think the bigger question here is whether Google Glass can actually be a gaming platform. Will be really want to have a corner of their view consistently obscured with a game? I just have to say it looks dangerously stupid to ride one's bike while playing this game. (Watch video above.)
Johann Sebastian Joust! from Die Gute Fabrik on Vimeo.
Johann Sebastian Joust
Another game that does away with any screen, easily one is my favorites so far. Here, two to seven players use the PlayStation Move controllers to jolt each others baton while keeping their own steady (see video here.) Think of typical jousting. The added challenge here is that J.S. Bach's Brandenburg concertos are played slowly at random intervals, and this means that one's baton is less sensitive to that means it's time to get aggressive with your opponents and raise the intensity of action. I'd almost not want to categorize this as a "video game"—since it's players competing, in real life, with each other, no screen, just digital tools. I mean the characters in the video above are playing it in the streets of Copenhagen!
With new games like Joust and then Occulus Rift delivering the holy grail of virtual reality headsets, in the future kids might ask: Hey, what's the video in video games?