There was a time when the only way to play games was to run around outside with your friends or to sit shoulder to shoulder around a tabletop game and use all your imagination to transport yourself into the game world. These days, technology offers us a far more immersive gaming experience.
Not only can we still play the tabletop games we’ve always loved, but now we can also play those and millions more on our computers, phones, and consoles. Online slots have not replaced in-person trips to the casino, but they are a nice alternative. Online card games are also an option if you want to play with friends in far-flung places.
The advent and development of AR and VR tech are taking us inside our screens instead of just letting us look at them and immersing us in whichever reality we choose. A casino with whirling roulette balls and clinking slots, a fantasy land where dragon fire makes your whole body vibrate (or will, once wearable AR tech becomes more readily available and the metaverse is further along), or a realistic-looking race track that you can run on from the comfort of home. Tech has irrevocably altered how we interact with our favorite games; let’s see how much.
We’ve come a long way from the 8-bit graphics that were the norm when video games were first sold commercially. The capacity of a modern graphics card to successfully render the most detailed and lifelike graphics possible has brought us into a new age of gaming and offered us the chance to see things and places we never thought we would. Developers and animators work together for years to ensure that the graphics are pixel-perfect and captivating, drawing us further into the game worlds that we love so much. New creatures, characters, and places are created for us to explore, and the high-quality graphics immerse us even deeper in the stories.
Though this tech is more readily available than it has been in the past, VR has a long way to go before it’s part of every home’s computer setup. VR tech is designed to take us inside the worlds that our games create for us. Instead of just looking at a character on the screen taking fire in a battle environment, you’ll BE the character. You’ll see all the action through goggles that give you a first-person view as if you were really there in the heat of the moment. We can interact with our casino games, such as online slots, in a way that makes us seem as though we’re right there in the casino, surrounded by the chatter of the other players and the clink of glasses. Pilots use virtual reality tech in simulations to help with their training while keeping costly aircraft intact, as do marines and now even doctors. However, these efforts are hard games, the applications of the tech stretch far beyond the gaming industry.
AR is the ultimate companion to VR. The combination of these two technologies is what will eventually enable us to step into a fully formed metaverse: an online world where we interact through avatars but take part in conversations, transactions, fights, casino games, dance battles, sailing, running, or shopping as if we were there. Eventually, AR tech will progress to a place where we can feel sensations like getting wet or the touch of another virtual person’s hand in ours. We’ll see, hear, and feel our game worlds and become completely immersed in the experience, body, and senses. AR technology is still in its infancy, as technology goes. The cost of AR software and hardware is so extreme, and the tech is so new that very few people have access to it. Eventually, full-body suits and headsets, as well as apparatus that we’ll use to walk and act in the game world, will be the norm. Think “Ready Player One,” but hopefully slightly less post-apocalyptic! We will eventually arrive at a place where we can spend real time accumulating real wealth and possessions in a completely virtual space: we’ll have become one with our game worlds.
Tech is always changing how we interact with our world, particularly online or game worlds. It won’t be long before we can see, touch, feel, and maybe even taste the things that happen to us in-game worlds!