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Monday, October 02, 2006

A Darwinian Dynamic

Harvey Smith, team member on such projects as System Shock, Deus Ex and Thief : Deadly Shadows, gives an interview with Gamasutra which you can enjoy here. I found Harvey's views on the games industry a real pleasure; this is a guy who understands the history of gaming and the need avoid stagnancy by introducing revolutionary concepts into the community. Harvey is now a creative director at Midway Austin, toying with such ideas as "cell phone players [being] the butterflies in MMO's" and "players in a chat lobby being pulled into shooters for micro play sessions, playing the parts of throw-away enemies or even the player-character's semi-autonomous rockets." Harvey says, "Some of that is starting to happen, which is cool."

Bringing together various gaming platforms, combining previously disparate gameplay elements (orc slaying and butterfly flapping, for example) and enabling players to experience both alongside one another; cool indeed! Such a concept as connecting mobile phones to MMOs such as World of Warcraft are not new, but the potential to include a swathe of new, eager gamers into the online sphere simply by accessing their familiar mobile devices seems like an opportunity to share gaming with a diverse and uninitiated audience. I look forward to a time I can text my (imaginary) long-time City of Heroes playing friend, ask him to show me where to find the underground layer of the evil Dr. Spelunker, and have him pop into my world as a helpful monkey-sidekick using the phone in his (fictional) holiday villa.

"I don't have strong opinions about the way "the game industry" should go. There's a Darwinian dynamic that will drive that [...] I think that "good things happening for the industry" will be a second order consequence of creative people doing what they love." - Harvey Smith

1 comment:

Ciaran Hanway said...

I'm always really impressed by the imagination and ingenuity of people, as evidenced by this article. Computers accelerate this by making it easy to realise these imaginings.

I think the future of gaming is definitely online. The social aspect of the web (including things like blogger) is proving really good at retaining interest and subscribers.

I also think that one day we might see a broad acceptance of online gaming or online worlds as just another medium for people to interact and for ideas to spread. It is happening now anyway:

Remember when the internet was only the preserve of geeks: Normal people needn't apply? That was 10-15 years ago. Give it another 10 years and social gaming will take off I think.