ISSN : 2266-6060

Augmented virtuality


I don’t know if you’ve heard about Skylanders, but you must admit it’s quite a good idea. It’s pretty simple. The characters of your video game are linked to figurines, which are « recognized » when you put them upon a box that is plugged to your game console. That means that if you want to activate a new character on the screen and play with her, you have to buy her « real » flesh-and-bone — well plastic and metal — figurine. Kids are crazy about Skylanders, their parents too, but not exactly in the same way.
If you forget for a while the price of the game and the one of each figurine, and look at the kids practices, you may though acknowledge the power of such an apparatus. When I saw my son organizing what it seemed a new game space with only a pen and a note book, I realized how good the designers of Skylanders were. Not only did they invent a way to transform a single game and a single purchase to multiple ones, they also dramatically expanded our childs’ playground. They also demonstrated that the boundaries between virtuality and reality do not stand what we think they are and that. We already knew that the latter could be augmented with the former, but now we see that things could also go the other way around.

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