Friday, December 12, 2008

Real world meets virtual world

Today when I watching my colleague Thorsten playing with our Wii station I suddenly could observe how real-world experience can interplay with virtual feedback:



So what`s really the difference between doing sports and playing a computer game triggered through the very physical interactio? Besides the fascination about something new, it`s certainly safety, fun, and the possibility of trying something new. Real boxers will laugh about WII, but newbies get motivated to try movements they would have never done otherwise [1]. Assuming that the virtual experience might become better, the virtual characters on WII still look clumsy to me, the difference between boxing and Wii might become obsolete. Does that mean once we can acquire the same amount of information by our senses stemming from feedback systems as in the real-world, real-world activity and simulated activities in virtual worlds become the same? Does the equation total feedback = physical activity hold? What (apart from nutrition and excretion) does still stop us from moving our lives completely to virtual worlds where we can strip off our physical limitations?
At least it looks really funny watching people being engaged in virtual worlds...it looks like plain activity without context [2] - and we are getting closer to the The Lawnmower Man:



[1] Mhurchu, C.N., et al., Couch potatoes to jumping beans: A pilot study of the effect of active video games on physical activity in children. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 2008.
[2] Mayra F. 2007. The Contextual Game Experience: On the Socio-Cultural Contexts for Meaning in Digital Play. DIGRA 2007 Situated Play Conference Proceedings

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