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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The future of gaming is now

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With the constant march of progress in technology and computer design, it can be hard to appreciate just how far video gaming has come in a relatively short period of time. Now that we're seven years past what was once considered the standard-bearer year of "the future," it's amusing to look back at what was once considered "the future of gaming."

The predictions from 1982's Usborne Guide to Computer and Video Games actually turned out to be relatively prescient, even if some of them took a little longer than expected to come to pass. From our lofty perch of the future, we can easily "reconstruct detailed pictures of, say, the battle of Waterloo" or "challenge someone hundreds of miles away to a game" or play handheld games "in full colour... as detailed and realistic as the pictures for a TV programme today." Remember, these were things that were totally unheard of back in the distant past of 1982... heck, things like being "able to control each member of your team individually" in a sports game seemed lofty back then.

Still, not all of Usborne's predictions came to pass. Adventure gamers still don't tend to use "a board and counters to plan and keep track of moves" (though they do often use complex guides) and we have yet to see many games that "take place all around you in a special games cubicle... [with] laser lighting and quadraphonic sound."

But hey, there's still time. Given how far we've come in the last quarter century, what do you think gaming will look like as we ring in the far off future year of 2032?

[Picture from the excellent Sheldon Comics. Thanks Jonah Falcon.]
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