Growing up I played video games quite often, as most kids generally did. I was never a super video game fan but I was always down for a couple hours playing Crash Bash, Jak and Daxter and Need For Speed. My siblings, being the cruel genius’ they were, would often turn off my controller, convincing me I was playing as my brother secretly was in charge of my avatar. I was not even aware I was not actually playing and still managed to have a good time. That to me is the power of video games.
The older I got the more hesitant I was to the control of technology on human interaction and society. I of course participated in getting the latest iPhone, and played the newest games from the App store, but I always feared things like Siri that could hear me and process what I was saying. Of course that might be irrational, but I watched “Smart House” and “Eagle Eye” growing up and frankly developed a healthy concern to where technology could go if we got careless. My brother, being the video game lover he always was, has gone into animation and video game design. I admire his dedication to the art and industry, but can not always get on board with some the excitement the industry has towards Virtual and Augmented Reality. I can appreciate how they have benefits in many different areas, but I will always fear permanent connections with technology. Google glasses, contact lenses that have data and the ability to do who knows what with what you can see. I personally just never want to feel like I am always in a game or being watched.
When we met with Brian Baglow, a video game designer in Edinburgh who has worked on many games and for companies such as Rockstar, I was just waiting for him to get there. What I did not realize is he believes that Virtual Reality is more of a red herring and that it is limited to where it could go. What he thinks will really take off is Augmented Reality, making real life things almost like a game. For example, the government could benefit your health care plan if you walk to work instead of taking the bus, or even Pokemon Go that puts Pokemon into real places around you. I can’t decide if this is triggering my fear more or not. What I did not realize is that this is already happening. I did not consider Pokemon Go a step towards augmented reality, I just saw it as another game you could download on your phone. Maybe we are more adapted to having technology integrated into our lives than I ever realized. Recently I saw that Amazon is pairing with Whole Foods to create stores where you can scan your Amazon App, walk into the store and it will cense what you pick up, and even what you will put down. That does not seem like a video game I grew up with, but in a way it is like a game for real life. I can’t stop the entire industry, and frankly there may be some really great things that come out of Augmented Reality. I just have to hope it does not turn into a Smart House type scenario, and if it does let’s hope I get a really easy going Smart House.