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Digital Legacy

Steve Haske | 26 Jul 2011 19:25
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Much like the original Game On, every game selected for 2.0 is based on objective importance to the medium, claimed Hitchings.

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"It has to be a game that people will know, or a game that's unique," Hitchings said of the criteria selection process. As an example, Hitchings cited the Xbox 360's Deathsmiles as important because it's a rarity for bullet-hell shooters to be released on a modern console in North America.

"Games are in the show on merit," Hitchings said. "Not because I think they're the bees knees in videogaming."

The selection process, grouping games into various categories by theme or genre, was Hitching's job from the start. "I was given more or less free reign over what to choose for game content," he said. "So I basically put it in a very objective way. I looked at all the sections and said why these games would best represent [them]."

Though there are explanatory labels giving information about each of the games shown, much of that merit will be apparent to many gamers. Gaming icons like Lara Croft, Sonic and Mario are on display (there are even a couple of Miyamoto concept sketches showing what Mario's movements would look like translated into 8-bit sprites), an international section features games from around the world, and sensory games like Rez highlight important titles utilizing sound or visuals. Directly across from the display are a handful of indie games, including one made with the Net Yaroze development kit for the original PlayStation. Uncharted 2 is playable at a kiosk next to several character renders from Naughty Dog and a few original cels from Dragon's Lair. Multiplayer games, handhelds, arcade games and movie tie-ins are just some of the other categories represented.

Then there are the games that have unusual peripherals, among them Taito's train sim Densha de Go! Final, complete with train operator controller, and Steel Battalion, Capcom's original Xbox mech game that's so meticulous it requires a three-paneled, 40-button controller to play it. Alongside the Kinect and Move, the final future-themed room is home to a goliath called the Virtusphere -a life-sized proprietary apparatus that tracks in-game movement through a player's own physical movements, which are communicated through a VR headset worn when inside the sphere.

"We wanted something that would be a draw to the show, but also something that was feasible, as in, this could happen, you may be able to get this many years in the future in your own home," Hitchings said. "But also something that wasn't just a fixed experience. The Virtuspehere is one of the few things I saw that really offered an immersive experience."

The technology is impressive. You move by actually walking forward or backward, the weight of your body propelling the sphere like a giant hamster wheel, while the headgear tracks head-based motion. Hitchings said he's become an expert with it, and has been essentially using it as a life-sized controller.

"I've actually been playing it with Quake III," he said. "It's fun trying to play it with that."

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