Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Revenge of the nerds

You know the saying: "first kid on the block to own...". Well in 1986, that was more. For my 6th birthday, my mothers boyfriend came over with a huge wrapped box, and when opened revealed the original Nintendo Entertainment System. Console, 2 remotes, a Zapper, and even that stupid robot that didn't really work. Soon after followed avid playing of such titles as Duck Hunt, Super Mario Bros., Excitebike, Tecmo Bowl, and many others. They had one thing in common: I sucked at all of them.

Years have passed. I pretty much stopped playing video games. I remember getting a Sega Genesis and a Sony Playstation over the years but never ended up owning more that 2 or 3 titles for each system, and continuing to suck at all of them The truth is my hand eye coordination was never that good, which can also be seen in my inability to play guitar or baseball.

The past 2 days I've been working for G4, Comcast's video game based network, covering the Microsoft and Sony press conferences where they announce new technology and games to the fanfare of thousands locally and millions worldwide. Turns out these events are a big deal.

What seemed to amaze me the most was Microsoft's Project Natal. A futuristic gaming platform that when attached to an XBox, will sense human voice and motion without the use of a remote. I had two different feelings about it. One, that this is awesome, or two, that this is really creepy. Especially the video of the virtual child that was interacting with a woman, even showing emotion and recognition of color.

I feel sometimes that we're pushing the limits of technology a little too far. Is Microsoft inventing the new method of human/robot interaction? Will video games and the nerds who create them take over our lives by taking advantage of those of us with limited hand eye coordination and getting me to join their world? Do I really want to hook up something that does all this?

Hell yeah I do.

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