Gaming in 17 Years

A mash of the colors from my favorite Blip Festival logo.

This is part of a 2013 series of Medium drafts that I never published.

Many game developments have happened in the three years since I wrote this: the releases of PS4, Xbox 1; Apple TV launched a store with 1 button / motion tracking games and Sundance showcased the beginnings of VR with New Horizons. Plus, I just finished Fallout 4 and have completed many innovative storytelling mobile games like Device 6, 80 Days and Lifeline. Be gentle with my 2013 opinions. Still, I agree with my final sentence. I think after I digest this even more, this Medium post will be heavily annotated.

Gaming in 20 years (when I’ve had time to think about it).

So, that 30 second clip of me “talking about gaming” was during Blip — a week when I’m at my worst mental condition. I’m reading the comments on Kotaku and experience a cocktail of feelings. It’s amazing that Blip Festival got a spotlight on a major blog / video post. We’re toeing the line between gaming and chip music, that’s ok as long as we keep talking about it. The inclusion of Blip in “gaming” isn’t obvious. But 30 seconds on the spot isn’t enough to explain why I was in front of the camera and what gaming will be like in 20 years.

First of all, I’m not a hardcore game-player. I’m not even a casual player, I started playing Skyrim and I don’t play regularly enough to move fast enough through it! I’m aware of what’s going on in the gaming world but I’ve never been an expert (and will never claim to be one!)*. I was a jumbling mess when we were trying to shoot this clip. People kept walking by, there was loud traffic and I was nervous about being away from the show for more than 2 minutes. I had to retake it at least 4 times and I said something different for each one.

  • From the perspective of chip music / Blip Festival, we’re already seeing the development of non-console indie games with chip music soundtracks. It’s so meta to create vintage sounds on old hardware for something completely in the digital cloud. In the not too far distant future, the audio-visual experience will escalate music making into a game in itself. Imagine Garage Band hooked up to a console with Rock Band controllers that live update with social features. I’m sure the music industry will pick up on this in oh, 20 years. I can already picture record labels releasing exclusive albums in games.
  • That brings me to physicality. Games like J.S. Joust are only the beginning of console-less physical games. Is this a video game if there is no video? Playstation Move, Wii and Kinect are going to get finer and finer with detecting movement and soon enough you’ll be able to play ninja via Facetime with someone across the world. Or how about worldwide Carmen Sandiego-style scavenger hunts with your phone? Imagine your pocket buzzing when you walk by a GPS-tagged clue as your dropping off your laundry!
  • Liveness was something that I always thought about when it came to performances / live event production. In-game phone numbers, tweet progress, moon phases and QR codes are now influencing game play. It’s going to get to a point where the world you explore is tailored to your Facebook likes and how many times you tweet about pizza (I AM NOT KIDDING, IT WILL HAPPEN). Or what if Siri connected to your gaming experience? When you rack up 8 hours, she automatically orders you dinner.
  • You know what I want to see? Retro-retro throwbacks. Reworks of childhood games like tag, hide/seek, Marco Polo but with mobile devices / controllers**
  • I haven’t said it outright, but mobile mobile mobile. The idea of going to a Game Stop will become null and void. I have a hard time believing that going to a store to buy games will stay relevant in 20 years. Everything will be in the online marketplace. I don’t think consoles will vanish into thin air, but they will get smaller and more powerful, more in tune with the human body.You think Futurama was joking about the eyePhone? Google’s already on it.***

In short, I’m afraid of what games will be like in 20 years. We won’t be able to escape them. It will be the way people communicate, get to know each other, create content and consume.

*Shortlist of games I’ve actually completed: Super Mario RPG, Yoshi’s Story, Professor Layton and the Curious Village, Pokemon Yellow, Pokemon Platinum, Pokemon Black, Limbo (trading off with someone), Fez, Sword & Sworcery. I’ve started hundreds of games and played many demos but finishing games is sort of impossible for my frantic lifestyle.

**If you decide to make any of these games, I request to be listed in the credits as inspiration. Just sayin’ !

***I just wanted to have a third asterisk to confuse you.