We are all still gaming troglodytes. What a wonderful thought.

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Well, I just got back from my Honeymoon in Mauritius and boy, I can tell you that that place has some really nice graphics (*dadumm tisshhhh*).

But seriously, the place was absolutely gorgeous and warranted me spending a lot of time doing nothing but staring at how beautiful it was and just soaking in the atmosphere and feeling that the island had to offer. If you were wondering, the header image is not a screenshot, but is in fact a photograph I took (big surprise).

This got me thinking… sure graphics and sound have come a long way in videogaming and above that, a lot more time is being spent on the artistic feel as well as the atmosphere, leading to a more immersive experience. What I realised though is that we have yet to experience anything remotely as immersive and atmospheric as the real thing.

Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that game developers are constantly pushing to make games more realistic and immersive, that’s obvious, the question really is more about asking what steps need to be taken until we break through that barrier.

For those of you that don’t know, Mauritius is a tropical island, not too different from the ones you see in shows like Lost or games like Crysis and Just Cause. It was actually Crysis that made me think of all this and start asking questions.

Crysis takes place on an island that is pretty much the same as Mauritius in it’s make-up, consisting of lush forests, mountain ranges, beaches and blue seas. Why is it then, that when I was there, looking at the real thing, I just couldn’t help but sit in awe, letting time go by as I did nothing but stare at the beauty that the island had to offer.

Many of you know that Crysis is regarded as the best looking game of all time, utilising as much technological muscle as it can to stream what some regard as the most realistic real time graphics ever to grace a screen. In Crysis however, you might take a moment to marvel at the technical achievements of the game but never would you take time to walk around just to appreciate the beauty of your surroundings, that’s just proposterous.

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But what are we looking at here? Is “Virtual Reality” really the next step, maybe, but not so much in the way that we have always had it shown to us. Helmets with audio and video built in, some sort of body control system, I’m not so sure.

What this makes me realise is that the gaming industry still has a wonderful life ahead of it. We may think that we are starting to hit some sort of peak with high definition graphics and photorealistic graphics just around the corner, but the truth is that we are only now starting to invent the wheel on what will eventually become a truly realistic interactive experience.

It makes me think back to a movie I saw quite a long time ago called “Strange Days”, with technology that allowed people to record their memories onto a little device that sits on your head, letting other people put it on and truly experience the event through they eyes of the person who captured it.

Maybe in future we won’t need powerful processors and amazing sound systems. If we are able to connect a device directly to our brains, we will become the console, with our brains emulating the visuals, the sounds, smells and feelings directly. Only then will we truly experience an authentic feeling of being in a different reality.

But on that note, I think that the novelty of sitting on your couch and having a lightweight experience, using a TV and a controller still has its place in the world. I really look forward to a true virtual experience, but at the same time I will never ever lose my love of out current form of gaming, because sometimes you just want to laze on the couch with a cup of coffee, lie back and pwn some noobs with your superior thumbstick skills.

I look forward to a long and innovative lifetime of gaming and technological progression, maybe one day, when I am playing Crysis 5, I will put my gun down for a moment and lay around on the beach for a while, soaking up the rays and frolicking in the calm blue water but for now, I’m still happy to pick up a controller, climb in a tank, and shoot some poor sap in the face.

We still have so much to look forward to and as a gamer I feel happy to know that this is only the beginning.

Last Updated: July 14, 2008

Nick De Bruyne

Video games writer, editor and critic since '08. Living and breathing video games, movies and cars since the 80s. Follow me on Twitter if you love tons of gaming talk, and @pennyworthrevs for fun stuff and links.

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