Gaming in a Controllerless World

I didn’t grow up a gamer. I am terrible with a controller. My 22-year old son said he would play PS3 games with me only after I spend a lot of time practicing myself. It hurts my wrists, I never get better for longer than one session. Each time I start I have to tell myself x is enter, o is jump, my son rolls his eyes.

But I love gaming on my IPad. The touch screen is for 50 year old gamers and 2 year old gamers, those who don’t want any stupid controller getting in their way. Osmos, Bejewled, Angry Birds….I don’t have to remind myself what button to press, I just do it.

Kinect gives me hope that we will be even farther away from controllers and keyboards, for that matter, in the next few years. I first heard about Kinect (then called Project Natal) when I was suffering a rotator cuff injury. I was using Dragon Speed software to write (which was a total mindshift in itself!) and was drooling over the idea of an interface that I could use with anything other than my painful arms.

Then I saw Jaron Lanier talk at G4C about haptic learning. That explained, in part, why I couldn’t write with Dragon Speech. My fingers do my talking, quite literally. The way I write is connected to the sensory touch of my fingers, and the connection between my fingers and brain. The way I talk is different. It’s very hard to speak in my proposal writing language.

So as we move to controllerless interfaces, what will change.  I will be a better gamer. Will I be a better writer? A better thinker? A better learner? Certainly, I think, I will be different in all of these.


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