When we talk about new possibilities, industry revolutionizing improvments and other “next gen”-enhancements, it´s always about un-released hardware. Stuff that needs a certain hardware, be it raw power, a wiimote, Natal or the balance board. But what about the “new” stuff that doesn´t need any of these?
At this point i´d like to admit that i´m one of those people that said that pure software-innovations aren´t possible anymore, that we had to get new hardware (the Wiimote) to be able to expand further. I still think that we need new hardware to get closer to V.R., but there also are new, and, imo, revolutionary software-possibilities out there. One of them being the Fake-game.
By using the term Fake-game i mean nothing else than a game that pretends not to be a game. Consider it like that: You´re starting a new game, enter your name and whatsoever, and everything´s fine. But instead of, if you´re like me, playing it eight or more hours in one session, the game is about random short events. That means that there´s no ingame-clock that let´s you play dozens of days in a few hours of real-time. It´s like Animal Crossing, times are equal. But that´s not all (and that´s how i came up with this idea). By using a feature like WiiConnect24, the game sends you messages. No “visit the WiiShop and buy new items for the game!”, but messages that are part of the game. Also, all the characters within the game refer to you as yourself, not as some kind of preset character, and depending on when you play the game, they take notice of it.And as i already mentiond, an important part of the game is that events happen at times you cannot control. Of course you can play the game a whole day, but not to progress in the story. You colud, for example, play minigames, go around and look for sidequests, befriend with new people, maybe do relationship-stuff and start a romance. Whatever. But in the end, the game dictactates the pace.
For example, you started the game, played for two hours to get to know everything that´s important, and that´s it. When you go back to the Wii-menu you find a message that says “Come to the school roof in two days”. And for real, you have to wait two days until something happens in that place. I haven´t thought about how to manage it if you miss events, but i´m sure that could be worked out.
I´m sure all that has been done to some extent already, but i´d really love to see it taken to the extreme, where you yourself are part of the game and, vice versa, the game becomes part of your life. My favorite example of this “you are part of the game” is Baten Kaitos. Don´t read this paragraph if you don´t want to be spoiled. The game starts off with you being a spirit that travels alongside the main character. For most part of the game it´s just a gimmick, where characters talk to you and you can chose between yes and no. But later in the game, your role as a spirit becomes more involved. That´s what i absolutely loved. You became part of the game, not even as a “spirit”, but the characters referred to you as a person.
To give some settings i could especially imagine this kind of game work great, i´ll name a few: The cyberworld of //.hack has a perfect setup for this kind of stuff. You have your computer (or videogame system) that you log on to and even though you´re not looking like yourself while playing, it doesn´t matter because everyone is just some kind of avatar. Another good example would be the anime Chaos; HEAD, where the character is, while an extreme otaku, quite connected to reallife. But after a while things between reality and fantasy get so mixed up that everything becomes messed up. Or even the Digimon-series is a great example of what such a Fake-game could turn into. In general, i think settings that start out in some realistic place would work best for this sort of thing. You being a student in your own room with your computer, so that the conncetion between you and the game can work the most effectively.
Maybe i´ll add something to this article to make my point even clearer, but to those who already understood what i said: Please post a comment of your thoughts about that concept. I´d love to talk about that. Or maybe you can even recommend me games that are close to my idea.