New Gaming Hardware: Greater Immersion for Everyone

I went to the undergraduate symposium part of A Day of DH in The Five Colleges. This part of the digital humanities exhibition gave undergraduates a space to present the products of their hard work. There was a game created to represent the interconnectivity of “zines”, artistic representations of hip-hop culture through new technologies, a presentation on a student-created company that allows Five-College students to develop videogames, and even a partial thesis embedded in a videogame (Elder Scrolls) through a modification. What grasped me the most was the use of videogame hardware for the purpose of bringing a greater level of immersion into student’s projects.

Eunice Esomonu utilized the Microsoft Kinect to create an artistic display of ‘breaking’, a mode of dancing that from hip-hop culture. A dancer was breaking in front of the Kinect, which caused the visual representation to burst into a multicolored flow of her body. The Kinect is a camera that connects to Microsoft’s Xbox One system and allows the full body to participate in certain videogames through the camera and motion sensors (http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/11/27/xbox-one-with-kinect-review).  kinect2(Kinect 2.0)

The advancement of videogame hardware enabled Ms. Esomonu to represent breaking through digitally illustrating real-time breaking. These technologies offer a new level of immersion for gamers, but in this case it enabled Ms. Esomonu to develop an artistic display.

This new level of immersion was shown in the games that Isaiah Mann’s Glowlime Games helped produce. One such game was a maze that used a mathematical function to change shape as each movement was made within the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. Oculus Rift is a gaming headset that immerses viewers into 3D virtual worlds that participants can actually move and function within (http://www.ign.com/articles/2016/03/31/oculus-rift-review).

Oculus-Rift-2-1024x576(Oculus Rift)

Mr. Mann’s presentation was about videogames, so he presented some of the games that Glowlime produced with students. However, the Rift has the same potential as the Kinect for utilization outside of gaming.

The impetus of gaming and technology companies to develop greater immersion in gaming has also created more avenues for immersion outside of gaming. Whether it is the use of the body to create a digital, artistic masterpiece, or a digital world created by a student to represent some mathematical principle, immersive technologies are opening new opportunities for everyone, not just gamers.

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One thought on “New Gaming Hardware: Greater Immersion for Everyone”

  1. This post reminds me of the movie titled “eXistenZ” which was a science fiction body horror film produced in 1999 by Canadian director David Cronenberg. Although it was produced a little under two decades ago, it foreshadows the immersive nature of video games and whether video games will be realism’s undoing. This film looks at video game technology, and it presents a game where you connect through a “bioport” which is installed and embedded in your back and also looks like an umbilical cord (???), which gives you access to a game pod. This game pod has the codes that lets you enter into the video game where you feel the thrill of the gaming world that reality cannot provide.

    I think I’m always hesitant when it comes to immersive games because they always have the potential of becoming a sedative and overriding the body’s natural experience. Do you think that there are dangers to immersive technology being a regulated and distributed form of escape?

    Like

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