Friday, September 2, 2011

Let's Interface

Six or seven months ago, I think some time in march, I came up with a plan. A crazy plan. A silly plan. A plan involving a series of games I always had a interest in despite not being the most refined or enjoyable series of games in the world. That game series is Pokemon. That plan is the one I began with a last desperate bid to get an event pokemon, and it is almost complete. On my birthday in July I received the second item, a brand new 3DS, and today (well yesterday now) I received the final item, that of a brand new copy of Pokemon White. Now it is only a matter of time till my plan is complete.

Quite a while ago

But all that crap is completely besides the point of what I actually wanted to talk about. What I wanted to talk about is a realization I made while playing Pokemon White and also with the 3DS. Well not so much a realization as a conformation, since it's something I have thought about before. And that is that computer interfaces are getting so much more... maybe not better, but more INTERESTING at least. How they look and how they behave, and what they do, from the 3DS's little "augmented reality" games to the pretty way the menus open up and fold out, as if the game menu was a device on the character's wrists, the way the 3DS organizes things and how the 3D works, all sorts of little details most people don't really ever think about.

A while ago, I don't remember when, I learned about what I have heard referred to as The Mother of All Demos, and event in 1968, where a team of scientists first demonstrated ideas about computer interfaces to the world. A lot of the way commuters work today can be traced back to that team. When I watched it I was awestruck. Here seeing some of the first ideas of how these things work take flight.

But more then the practicality it's also the look of the 3DS and of Pokemon's interfaces that gets me, and not only interfaces, and not only the 3DS. It seems the new "future look" is that cool sleek plastic ipad-like thing, and that seems to extend both to interfaces and devices.

I also have to say one of the things I really like about Pokemon in particular is how the newer games fuse the interface into the story and the setting in some way. Black and White's visuals have tons and tons of interesting technological devices, a lot of which serve some gameplay purpose. it did it the last game I played too, and to a lesser extent to the older ones. And as I alluded to before, pretty much the whole menu system and various new abilities and functions are actual devices your characters use. And I think that's super neato. I think Homestuck also deals with some fun devices come to think of it. Like the whole alchemiter thing. It's neat to think about what you could do with these hypothetical technological marvels.

( Side note: As an added bonus to my plan, my brother finally found my long lost copy of Ruby that he misplaced when I lent it to him (the fact he got it for me in the first place is besides the point). Which means, I have a perfect line of secession through Generation III, IV, and V, even if my Generation IV games are remakes of Generation II, so I don't get all the Pokemon from IV, but I do get all of them from II and probably most of Generation I as II also featured the regions and Pokemon of I. Why does this matter? Heck, I am not even sure any of my plan matters.)

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