Where's My Flying Car?From the 360 to the MoonWhere's My Flying Car? - RSS 2.0
Given that kind of emotional investment, it's not terribly difficult to see how games could still be providing inspiration long after the player has hung up her controller. It's not a huge leap to imagine that the middle-schooler who lives and breathes Halo might one day try to devise a regenerating energy shield, or perhaps fashion a holographic user interface modeled after her beloved Cortana. A die-hard fan of Half-Life 2 may someday create a prototype gravity gun, officially earning the title of Coolest Inventor Ever. A longtime player of Tomb Raider titles may see Lara Croft as the ultimate role model, choosing to emulate her by studying archaeology or world history, traveling the globe to learn about cultures and civilizations long gone by.
There needn't be such a delay between inspiration and payoff, however. A doctor might take a cue from the biomods of Deus Ex to try to improve upon current prosthetic design, or a physical therapist may design a Lost Planet-inspired exoskeleton that would allow a paraplegic to walk again. The possibilities and permutations are nearly endless, depending only on what particular elements in a game become emotional touchstones for players.
For most players, videogames are simple entertainment, an indulgence in escapism meant to distract them momentarily from the grind of normal life. For a special few, though, videogames might very well plant the seeds from which truly great ideas and life-changing innovations will grow. Who knows? Perhaps one day some Nobel Prize winner will thank Cliffy B., Will Wright or Warren Spector for putting her on the path to greatness. Personally, I'm hoping someone playing Phantasy Star Universe falls in love with the Partner Machines that store your items and deliver your messages. I may just get my robot butler yet.
When Susan Arendt isn't writing news at 1up.com or her weekly gaming
column, Token Female, she's training her cat to play DDR.