Thursday, 7 February 2013

I've seen the future ...

I've seen the future, and yes, zombies are a part of this future (despite what Kim says).

You see the other day (much to my joy) Kim decided that she wanted to watch this "Walking Dead" TV series that I've been going on about. Yay.

So we watch the first episode, me curled up in the corner of the couch quivering in fear (despite it being the middle of the day) whilst Kim is yawning away asking when it is going to get scary.  Then later that afternoon, after Kim has gone home, I decided to download the Walking Dead Game for iPads.

So I download this game, it's about 4pm, and I figure I'll just have a quick look at it before heading outside.

I don't look up again, I don't move from the couch, until 7pm when I finally get to the end of the first 'episode'.

I was excited.

Not so much about this particular game, OK yes about this particular game, because it was good - very good - but more so because to me it was a glimpse into the future of television and entertainment.

This game gives an insight into what can be done when you fuse yourself into what is essentially an episode of a show and you get to make the decisions about what your character says and does.  Might not sound that exciting, and I confess it is in its infancy, but it is still very, very well done.

You get to make decisions about how your character interacts with others, and in doing so they decide how much they trust you, hate you or whatever and then that affects what they may or may not do for you in the rest of the episode.

You also have to solve puzzles, kill zombies (I obviously liked that bit) and in several cases you get to make decisions about which characters live and which die.

The genius bit about this game, the element that captured me the most, is that you don't just get to sit back and have a think about it or redo things if you don't like the outcome.  If the game is in a time critical sequence eg. if  two characters get grabbed by zombies and you have to decide which one to save, well you may only be given seconds to decide, and once you've made that decision - you can't go back.  The moving finger has writ and having writ moves on ...

Similarly, when having a lazy conversation with someone you may have 15 seconds to decide what to say, but when someone steps out in front of a car ... you're given 2 seconds ... barely enough time to even read what your options are ...  to select an option or else the computer selects it for you.

It feels real, and I loved it.  Then what I really loved is at the end of the episode it shows you a summary of key decisions made throughout the game and it shows you the decisions you made compared to everyone else who has ever played the game.

Whilst I admit the marketing and privacy issues about having all your decisions recorded somewhere are pretty terrifying, it is still fascinating to see what others did in the same situation you were in.  For example there's a sequence where you have to choose whether to tell the truth or lie to someone about your background (your character is a convicted murderer).  Now this is only a game, and yet something like 80% of people lied about their background.  I was one of those 80%.

I'm hooked and I can't wait to see what is next ... I just have to nerve myself to fork out the $15 for the remaining four episodes in series one ... yep, the future also has a definite cost.

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