Wednesday, May 22, 2013

GimpyGamer: XBoxOne and Motion Wut?

Yesterday (5/21/13) I sat my complicated self down in front of the XBox One console reveal. I am a video gamer. I am also a mom, a wife, a girlfriend, a gimp, a member of the LGBT/QUILTBAG community, a mom of someone in the QUILTBAG community, a liberal (if we must), a franchise wide Halo fan, a person at the beginning of the middle of ages, I contain multitudes but let us get to the geek!

I liked a lot of what I saw, and I gave them room to save most of the sweet game reveals for E3. There is an industry show for that coming up soon, okay. It looks like Microsoft is really taking the dive to make the XBox One the ONE CONSOLE TO RULE THEM ALL. Not the other consoles, I mean, but to RULE YOUR LIVING/FAMILY ROOM!

And it wants to get your ass moving.

Here is the thing: gaming is a great pastime for some folks with disabilities. In particular, it allows for a time of virtual/physical competition that people with mobility issues really cannot get anywhere but with video games. When a game is really engaging, really immersive, you tend to equate the physicality of your avatar/silent protagonist/franchise space marine/sprite with your own. Just watch a handful of gamers sit together and play and watch their body language, not just before and after but during play

The reveal, and the industry in general, has me worried that as we progress along the motion control future, people like me are going to get left out in the cold. It is hard enough some days just to hold a controller, why must everything be swiped and pinched and snapped in big gestures? In a big way, this is what I got into gaming to avoid. I appreciate motion sensing in general - it lets my decrepit self work with a yoga section of a fitness game and a meditation game pretty well.

I want to shoot for the big snark target and say that if gamers wanted to be physical, they would go play goddamn sports outside! But that is not, and has never been true. Exercise and adventure games are great for kids in neighborhoods where maybe their parks are not as safe as they should be, exercise games let a lot of us that would feel awkward for a whole host of reasons in a gym participate in guided exercise, and sometimes it is just good in general to get off the couch, if you can.

The mandatory motions in tablet and phone games, the movement wands and cameras with consoles, the mandatory twitch skills raiding now requires - they could all start freezing out this small contingent of geeks to which I belong: gimpy gamers. Just keep us in mind, gaming industry. Sometimes it is hard enough to work a keyboard or a controller or a wand. Let us continue to play, too. Thanks.