Thursday, December 01, 2005

Exergaming and physical engagement

One of the members of my clan constantly complains about the state of his keyboard. He plays a fury warrior - a warrior who can act at extreme speed. The player himself refuses to drink alcohol before or during challenging game sessions, as it slows down his reaction time, and his play is so vigurous and physical that he keeps breaking the keyboard.

Ian Bogost is speaking about exergaming and the physical analogies used in these games, and how such physically oriented games are not all that fit for private homes. His talk is connected, I find, with the thoughts expressed in Henry Jenkins' article "Complete freedom of movement", which connects to and expresses some of the opinions I have on why games are so popular - our society needs to control excess physicality, and leisure is defined as being still. Resting means vedging out on the couch rather than changing mental modes by going from no physical activity but heavy mental activity to more physical activity and less mental activity.

What does it have to do with WOW? Well, everything has to do with WOW these days, but the real connection is in the physicality: how playing a game well does not only connect to the mental activity, but as much to the physical body: ability to endure strain, react quickly, think clearly and cooly, navigate in the virtual space.

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