One may or may not consider the Williams Manufacturing Company from 1943, later known as WMS Electronics, Inc. producing arcade games, as the first step towards the evolution of interactive gaming.
Today, in 2017, children already code their own interactive games with MIT Media Lab’s open source learning platform Scratch. Remarkably, some of these creations might already seem elaborate to Digital Immigrants, a term defined by Marc Prensky. (Prensky, Marc: Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. MCB University Press 2001)
Fundamentally, the capacity of gaming will unfold enormous possibilities in the near future. Virtual Reality is just a tiny piece of the bigger picture. Perpetually, art and design are exemplifying the growing potential of gaming.
Video game design has become a fast growing field. Equipped with programming skills from Web Design, such as coding in several programming languages and knowledge about the World Wide Web, devices, systems, and 3D modeling programs, artists are creating art game works.
Creativity and imagination enable them to think in dimensions outside the box with the result that interactive components oftentimes scrutinize social aspects of interaction itself. Deep political critique is also not uncommon.
The art game studio Molleindustria, for instance, calls itself Radical Games Against the Tyranny of entertainment. Its 2012 online game Unmanned by Paolo Pedercini, co-written by Jim Munroe, examines in detail the actions of a drone pilot. And Phone Story from 2011 is a smart phone game that leads the player through the full process of electronic manufacturing. De facto, these interactive games thoroughly demonstrate through interactive gaming how terrifying reality takes place.
Through using web graphic libraries like WebGL to render interactive 3D and 2D computer graphics, it is nowadays easily possible to create animations and games which are simply faking light to impress the viewer with a 3D effect on a flat 2D screen. While it seems simple to create 3D illusions, the major challenge for interactivity in gaming is to let the player experience an unknown outcome of the story based on the choices he or she makes and the reaction of the game. Although the conditions of the game story are preprogrammed, viz. written and calculated, the player seeks an absolute experience of interaction. Oculus Rift 5D‘s Virtual Reality resembles such idea of experiences, for example.
This idea is not that new. Movies like The Lawnmower Man from 1992 and Black Mirror’s Episode Playtest from 2016 are just a few examples of how deep we would have to stimulate the brain to gain an experience that feels real in every aspect of our bodies and mind. Ultimately, the real question is: What are we going to do when we succeed?