To My Former Roommate and Dear Friend James
— Skye Hoffman
Every technoculture––a leap in technology that begets a new way of living––has been marked by a corresponding defining medium: Industrial Revolution and photography; Modernism and cinema; Postmodernism and television; and now, the Digital Revolution and the internet. What’s next? The answer lies in your Switch, Xbox, or maybe in the very machine on which you’re reading this.
Technology has enabled the world to be more connected than ever, but much of the way that we relate to a person behind the screen remains unchanged since the early days of the internet. We still surf the web via webpages, message each other through text based chat rooms, and look at collections of pixels representing a person’s image. And although games have a lot of hardware in common with that of traditional internet communication, it’s a fundamentally different medium in that it offers an experience––a holistic, immersive form of embodiment through which one must actively negotiate. Unless intended otherwise, the whole point of games is that it is not a game, but a referent to a time and place beyond that in which you are currently residing. Meanwhile, webpages can’t help being a webpage. That’s why gaming is the next frontier––the Experience Revolution, if you will, where ideas will no longer be elements on a screen, but rather experiences on a screen.
Let’s take it further. What if people were represented as experiences, as games? So instead of Facebook stalking or Tinder swiping, you’d download a person’s game––a game of a person. You’d then explore whatever environment and do however many things, and that would be how you’d get to know them. This is my take on James’s game; everything in the game is designed for him. One of the things that he misses the most is hiking, which he can no longer do due to the visual impairments he developed as a teenager. Here, you and other players walk through a forest scattered with items from memories James and I have shared. You can play it here: https://huegor.itch.io/james.
Additional credits: oxysoft, Geug, printable_models, Voxelize, Designs 303, Marc Mons, Raystani E. de Oliveira.