Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Dick was right: we can remember it for you wholesale

In case you were wondering, ign put out a pretty good video review of Halo 3. Some scathing remarks for the campaign mode, but nothing but kudos for the multiplayer.

This review got me thinking...it seems like the trend with games these days is to develop a big sandbox environment so you can play online with folks from Uruguay, Minneapolis, Alsace-Lorraine, Manhattan, and Hayward...or just with your buddies on the block and spend six hours hacking away at each other.

Taking the evolution of games and considering the trend manifesting in other social vectors, like the online environments like MySpace and Facebook, and the plethora of gadgets that have come out that serve to blur the lines between offline and online culture, it could be argued that people are placing more value on their virtual selves, and thus their virtual relationships. There's actually talk of Microsoft buying a minority stake in Facebook...for $300-500 million dollars. The company is currently valued at $10,000,000,000.

Not to be a complete Luddite, as I can see the argument that some of these are new and useful artifacts of our culture's exploration into virtual reality. It's puberty all over again. We're awkwardly moving through a period where some people are "blossoming" sooner than others, and some are acclimatizing faster to the changes than others. However, unlike most things in human history, I think we'll not see this increasing trend of integrated technology dissipating. Rather, we'll see other aspects of our lives and communities ramp up to become part of the evolving new hegemony. Those that don't make the leap will become legacy artifacts.

On the other hand, regardless of how tech-integrated one might feel, or how many gadgets one might have, or no matter how many nanobots you have stimulating your neural pathways so you can totally kick ass on your ACT/SAT/GMAT/GRE test, or how many friends you have associated with your MySpace account, at our core humans are social creatures that require flesh-based face to face interactions. It will always be this way...unless of course a dominant trait surfaces: one that favors encoding genetic material into binary code and developing virtual offspring. Heck, some folks at Calvin College recently built a super computer for under $1,256. With distributed computing we'll each be able map the entire genome index of all earthly life by next summer!

I'll put my faith in humanity and conclude that we'll shuffle in the right direction: a balance of silicon and flesh. Unless, of course, the next iteration of the Windows OS requires a cybernetic implants so a recurring process can run to determine that you're running a 'genuine' copy.

More on Halo 3: Cnet has some great recent coverage of all things Halo.

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