Rode the Mariachi Bullitt to an early breakfast with Jon. Discussed video games. I bought a Playstation ten years ago and played a few games, but it’s been gathering dust for years. Video games just don’t seem interesting to me. When talking about this subject to another friend over lunch last week, he said that maybe the technology just needs to be taken further. I said that there are two separate issues I have with video games.
The first issue is that one basically plays the same scene over and over. One gets better at that particular scene, of course, but so what, it’s too narrow of an experience. Let’s say there is a bike-messenger video game versus a bike-messenger racing through a real town. In the video game version the truck on 46th street will ignore the stop sign every time, so watch out for him… in real life you’ll never know what the truck-driver will do so you’d better be prepared. The video game rehearses one particular set of events, while life is full of surprises…
So, my friend said, well, they just need to create more variations, so that you play a different scene every time. True, I answered, but there will still only be x-possible variations, unless we get to the point where the computer can actually re-write the scene every time – like generative music. And, this is my second issue, I still won’t smell the tar they are cooking to fix the potholes on Eight Avenue, or the perfume of the woman who just crossed the street, and I won’t feel the breeze on my face or the steam from rising up from grates on the street.
So, why would I play a bike game, rather than riding my bike?
Video games seem to solve that problem by creating game-play that enables the player to do stuff that would otherwise be punished by society, e.g. stealing cars, killing loads of people etc… Hm, that also does not sound the least bit interesting to me. Want to study fighting, go to a karate club?
When I discussed this with Jon, I suddenly thought of a game I would want to play. I am currently reading about the adventures of the eunuch Yashim Togalu in Istanbul in 1836. It would be lovely to have be able to walk through a 3D rendering of Istanbul circa 1836… But, who else would want to see that!???? And it would be less of a game and more of a moving map. Hm, like Google Earth with more detail and a time button…
Then I started thinking about whether there is an advantage to rehearsing a specific scene, the undulations of a race course for example. I would love to know how big an advantage a race-car driver who did 10, 50, 100 laps around a course in a video game would have against a second driver who hasn’t played the video game, if they are both racing around the same course in real cars. What would happen if the second driver had a head start of 10 test-laps on the real course, while the first driver did 20, 50 100 virtual laps before racing? Again, real race craft is more than knowing the race course. It’s being able to judge how wide one’s car is, knowing how to deal with a new oil spot in the third turn, how to escape an out-of-control car coming too close etc.
Good rehearsal with the band. Recorded all of the new arrangement-bits. Then packing for the tour.
I wonder if Thomas Edison would have enjoyed a video game?
Inventor yes, game player… my thought.. probably no.