Built to Play explores the great beyond with games about the human heart, the future and cosmological afterlife.
It's taken us a few weeks to get back into gear thanks to DICE, GDC and PAX East all being in short succession of each other, as people are either at a conference or will be soon. With that in mind, welcome to our first theme of 2015, Space. We're going to explore games and media's relationship to space and how it was almost inevitable that the black background of early video games would be explained as "Oh, that's just space." Not included on that list funnily enough is Space Invaders, which takes place in the upper atmosphere and therefore has no excuse.
Infinity, whether it's expressed as the infinite blackness of the void or the range of infinite possibilities, has often been alluded to by games. In Gravity Ghost, Erin Robinson uses our impression of space as a glimmering and distant wonder to set a stage for a purgatory of sorts, where hurts can be healed and children can be redeemed. Zach Gage doesn't refer to space at all in #Fortune, unless one is lucky enough to have a fortune involving it. Instead, #Fortune reaches into the seemingly infinite output of Twitter and delivers an often random collection of potential events. Both projects attempt to describe something beyond us, the future or death (or maybe both), and trust that we'll like what they find.
ON BUILT TO PLAY, WE PUT ON A HEADSET, STRAP ON A PAIR OF HEADPHONES, AND TALK ABOUT VIRTUAL REALITY IN ALL ITS FORMS.
Some people just can't stop thinking about virtual reality. Last week Oculus chief technology officer John Carmack (and the creator of DOOM) got on stage at the VR conference, Oculus Connect, and improvised a speech about the technology for more than an hour. Oculus Connect is also where the Facebook-owned tech firm revealed their newest, and presumably last, Oculus Rift prototype, Crescent Bay. With 3D audio and better motion tracking, it looks like this prototype is the closest we've come to confusing reality with the virtual.
But Arman and Daniel are not these people. They don't have time to keep up with these people and their "headsets." They're far too busy playing the new Smash Bros. So they called up a local VR game developer,Stephan Tanguay, to explain the ins and outs of modern virtual reality.
Stephan has been a fan of VR since at least mid-'80s. He watched the great outpouring of shoddy, ugly and straight-up misguided VR attempts get laughed out of the room. So when the Oculus Rift came out in 2012 as a developer's kit, Stephan was one of the first to use it. He's been waiting for a while to see a form of virtual reality that's easy to create games for, is affordable, and can fully immerse you in another world.