In the next nature, many people spend as much time in the digital world of gaming as they do in the real world. We have covered video games before, but this year we thought it could be fun to list some of our favorites. These are the games that in 2017 have been transporting us into the future, blurring the line between virtual and real, and giving us access to new hybrid experiences.
Going back to the tribe: Horizon: Zero Dawn
Horizon is set in the 31st century, in a world where humans have gone back to the tribal hunter-gatherer lifestyle after some unnamed calamity. They live alongside not the animals we are familiar with, but large mechanical beings which resemble dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures. The player character navigates with the help of an augmented reality device called Focus. It’s a world where you can experience the collision of old and new, nature and technology, like nowhere else.
Floating through space in VR: Lone Echo
Lone Echo is a virtual reality game that takes the player on an intense journey into outer space. More than simple visual spectacle, the game offers players the feeling of navigating in zero gravity, as they must use their hands to grab onto objects and propel themselves through space. A striking example of the potential of VR to let us embody new experiences – though not for the faint of heart!
Watching two bots hold a conversation: Seebotschat
This one isn’t exactly a game, but Twitch – a popular video game streaming site – has been playing host to some pretty strange shows in the last couple of years. We covered Twitch Plays Pokémon already. This year, an enterprising user decided to show their audience what a conversation between two bots would look like – specifically, two Google Home devices. The results turned out to be surreal. While the stream is no longer live, you can still watch some highlights from the bots’ bizarre, elliptical conversation on the channel.
Exploring the whole world from your desktop: GeoGuessr
You’ve probably used Google Street View, the service that allows you to virtually travel down streets all across the world. But did you know someone made a game out of it? GeoGuessr drops you in a random location from Street View and asks you to figure out exactly where you are on the world map. More than a test of your language and geography skills, it’s a unique and engaging way to explore the world and learn more about it. Who needs to go all the way to Paris when you can travel there digitally for free?
Seeing through the eyes of a bird: Eagle Flight
Speaking of Paris, our last pick is another VR game, this time allowing you to control an eagle flying through the sky above the city. Eagle Flight doesn’t send you to space, but it gives you a bird’s-eye view of the landscape. Players control the direction of their flight with head movements, meaning you can really feel what it might feel like to navigate across the sky as a bird. Proof that VR technology can blur not only the line between real and virtual, but also the line between human and animal.