Personal Pets and Unified Ingame-Avatars

Videogaming and technology in general are still far away from creating a true Artificial Intelligence, short A.I. For many of those interested in the subject of A.I., it´s so damn fascinating because it would allow for so many option in whatever technological way. Using an A.I. for making navigating your MP3-player easier, exploring philosophical matters, and, of course, using them in video games. Imagining that every single NPC in a game would be “alive” is one incredible thought. So that´s what could be awesome somewhere down the future. But there´s stuff we can do even now.

I recently played Wii Sports Resort, the frisbee-game. For those that haven´t played the game yet, you have to throw a frisbee that then is caught by a virtual dog. That dog is beyond cute. Really adorable how it shakes its tail and brings the frisbee back to you. That got me thinking: Why can´t we have such a pet for the menu of a video game console?  Or forget the dog, it could be whatever virtual being, ranging from a dog, to hot girl, to a dinosaur. Basically, integrate a fake-A.I. that interacts with you. Using voice-recognition to navigate through the menu. In the end, it wouldn´t be anymore than a cosmetic change, but being a scifi-fan myself, it´d be so much more awesome. Starting your system, being greeted  by name by your fake-A.I., which then would ask how you are. Game publishers could integrate advertisements, like “Hey, Max, there´s some interesting news about XYZ. Do you want to know more?” and you answer yes or no. And back to navigating the menu, say you´re starting your 360. Instead of clicking through all the menus, you simply say “Start Mass Effect 2” and it´s being done for you. Depending on what´s offered, you could enhance your fake-A.I. by adding new behaviors and teaching it when a certain reaction is expected. That´d really make the whole experience more lively and, for scifi-fans like myself, more fascinating.

Another topic are main characters in video games. We´ve reached a time where either customization plays a bigger role, or games feature more unusual human variations, i.e. characters that differ from your typical white, male, 30-year old Rambo. I´m of the opinion that said variation should be taken to the next step. By taking away pre-made main characters from games and instead let your create your very own main character in the console´s main menu. Think of it like creating your Mii or Avatar, and using it in every game you buy. Of course, depending on the art style, your self-made avatar would change to fit in the game. But you´d also play as exactly the person you want to play as. The only kind of games that would have a problem with this concept would be cinematic games with lots of voice acting and pre-rendered cutscenes. But who cares, these games are taking the wrong direction anyways.

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