Gaming Gets Real

Posted: October 28, 2012 in Trends

Throughout the history of video gaming, game developers have been indefatigably trying to make their games better simulate reality. However with the arrival of new technology, a new trend has begun. Now with devices such as the Iphone, the Nintendo 3DS, the Playstation Vita, and the yet to be released Google’s Project Glass, game developers are hard at work aiming to integrate gaming into reality in a new field called Augmented Reality.

Screenshot from Freddie Wong’s youtube video, Future Motion Control Gaming.

For those unfamiliar with the term, Augmented Reality is basically taking computer generated content, most of the time 3D models, and implementing it into the world we see. Although we see this computer generated media in front of our eyes, it doesn’t actually exist- the technology needed to accomplish that is generations beyond us. What we do have however, is more than sufficient to create very intricate illusions that seem completely real.

The Technicals:

So exactly which technologies are being used? Lets take a look:

  • 3D Cameras – Cameras are the brick and mortar of augmented reality. They allow the hardware to process the environment and determine where to display the content.
  • Light Sensors– Ambient light sensors found in almost any mobile device determines the shading of 3D models.
  • Accelerometer– Gives information about the movement of the device itself, this determines the angles at which to project content, giving them their 3D illusion effects.
  • Proximity Sensors– Proximity sensors allow the device to calculate depth, which is crucial in the detailing of 3D objects.
  • Digital Displays– These are what are actually used to view the simulated images. They display the surrounding environment captured by the cameras with the addition of augmented reality media.
  • Eyewear– Hardware that places screens in close proximity to the eyes are still in the developmental phase. The closer the screens are to the eyes, the more realistic projection effects are.

The Commercial Products: 

Here are devices on sale now (or soon) that can utilize Augmented Reality

  • Iphone – Because of the impressive hardware packed inside the Iphone, Apple’s “do-it-all” phones are very much capable of employing augmented reality. Here’s a simple basketball game available on the app store: 
  • Nintendo 3DS – Nintendo’s latest portable handheld has the capability to make 3D models appear from special cards that can either be purchased or printed from a printer. Here’s a video demo of its augmented reality applications:  
  • Playstation Vita – Sony’s latest handheld uses 3G data along with augmented reality which allows players to connect with others from virtually anywhere and share the same projected content. Sony’s recent television commercial teases at the potential of internet-enabled augmented reality gaming: 
  • Project Glass – Perhaps the most anticipated augmented is Google’s project glass that is slated for release from late 2013 to early 2014. Much of the hype is from concept videos that show off the possibilities of Project Glass. In this concept video the user plays the first person shooter Battlefield by first scanning a vacant area after which the glasses start projecting a gun on to the player’s hands, army gear on to the player’s arms and even virtual enemies before the player’s eyes: 

The Spread: 

Of course, no piece of technology can advance without popular demand. So far, the future of Augmented Reality looks bright.

Nintendo’s 3DS has sold almost 19 million units globally (source:

While Sony’s Playstation Vita has shipped nearly 2.2 million units (source:

Apple’s Iphone, has sold an astounding 125 million units (source:,18740.html)

Finally, Google’s Project Glass are expected to sell for $1500 (source: Despite the high cost, sales are expected to be numerous due to the limitless applications it has.

The Impact

Augmented reality gaming has the potential to reverse trend of depersonalized communication. In order to play with other players, they must be captured on a camera, which requires person-to-person contact. If Augmented Reality gaming catches on, gamers will have to transgress outside of their homes and meet other gamers for multiplayer.

In a League of its Own

Posted: October 21, 2012 in Reviews

There’s a buzz in the gaming community and for good reason. A relatively new game called League of Legends has been breaking records left and right. With the membership count at 70 million and growing, this 3 year old game created by Riot Games is quickly becoming a household name.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mobile Gaming Speeds Past Competition

Posted: October 14, 2012 in Trends

Most people would consider the Iphone and Ipod touch to be innovative devices that offer great music and video playback. But what they don’t usually realize that those devices are the most popular gaming platforms in history.  In truth, Apple’s Iphone and Ipod touch along with all the Android devices are heading the monumental movement to make gaming portable.

Read the rest of this entry »

“Block” Out the World

Posted: October 8, 2012 in Reviews

Any video gamer’s first thought when he or she looks at the hit PC game Minecraft is probably along the lines of “How the hell is this game popular?”

Such words of disbelieve are surprisingly appropriate to describe a game that is implausibly simple but has already sold over nine million copies since its release in 2009 (Source: Weighing in at about a minuscule 60 Megabytes, Minecraft is unbelievably tiny when compared to a modern PC game like Crysis , which is almost 210 times larger with a file size of 12 Gigabytes (Source: When you look at the graphics of Minecraft, it’s easy to figure out why. It touts 8-bit graphics, making it look indecipherable from those retro games made in the 80’s. 

Read the rest of this entry »

(Insert Game Here) With Friends

Posted: October 1, 2012 in Trends

Ask a friend to play Scrabble with you. Chances are they’ll reply “how about Words With Friends instead?” It’s crazy to think that just a few years ago you would have rummaged your closet for the old Scrabble board and tiles instead of reaching for your phone.

Social gaming have gained enormous popularity along with the growth of social media. During the peak of MySpace, Mafia Wars reigned supreme. When Facebook picked up momentum Farmville helped it skyrocket to success. Now as smartphones be come the must-have gadgets, the “With Friends” franchise continues to reap in the profits.  Read the rest of this entry »

MMOs Take Gaming to the Next Level

Posted: September 24, 2012 in Trends

Imagine a video game with no ending; no final boss battle, no conclusive cut scene, not even a victory banner scrolling across the screen. Who would want to play such a game?

Well in fact, at this very moment, millions of video gamers around the world are logging into MMO games that promises no true game-winning accomplishment. Read the rest of this entry »

How Networking Changed the Game

Posted: September 16, 2012 in Trends

Back in the day, when retro arcade machines acted as coliseums for competing gamers, the “high score” on a particular machine was the most coveted prize. Today the concept of the high score has been broken down, re-invented, re-branded, and ultimately, revolutionized.

So what caused the change? The short answer is: the internet. Read the rest of this entry »

Home Is Where The Fun Is

Posted: September 9, 2012 in Reviews

Welcome to the first post of The Social Joystick. Throughout the lifespan of this blog I will be exploring the different methods video gamers- both hardcore and casual- employ to connect with others who share their interests.

Ever wonder what exhausted video gamers do after finishing an intense gaming session? The answers may vary but for those who are sporting a Playstation 3, Playstation Home offers a relaxing and social environment that is designed to cater to the specific needs of video game specialists.

Brought online at the end of 2008 by Sony, Playstation home is a virtual world heavily inspired by games like “The Sims” that houses the bustling community of Playstation 3 users. In Home, users are provided a living space in which they may thoroughly customize every feature of their character: from facial features to clothing. After stepping outside their personalized apartments, Playstation Home residents are greeted by a vast explorable world that is constantly changing.
Read the rest of this entry »

Hello Terps!

Posted: September 6, 2012 in Introduction

This blog aims to defy the stereotype that video gamers are socially awkward recluses.