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Games, Virtual Reality, and the Pursuit of Happiness

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1 Author(s)
Gotsis, M. ; Univ. of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

The paper discusses the aspects of games and virtual reality in human happiness.In the past few decades, scientists have focused most of their attention on developing technologies that sharpen only the minds or relieve minds and bodies of certain duties. The people become smarter but incredibly unhealthy. Health games seem to offer one solution to this problem. Entertainment based health interventions have a huge potential to transform healthcare. Most people love games.Play is a fundamental mode of expression, fulfills the human need to connect with the "other," and can even be fun. Serious play is also great exercise for the mind and spirit. The Nintendo Wii was a good start for motivating people to get off the couch. But Wii isn't good enough for virtual reality (VR) fans due to easy sensor cheats, but Wii is the first step toward liberation. For many people, the Wii is as close to VR as they've ever gotten. Health games and sensor based experiences have recently become the new, shiny promise of hope and change in our field. However, an affordable, untethered full body VR experience is still the Holy Grail. Playing Flower game was as close to VR. Liberated from complex controller buttons, the author role played a flower petal by using the controller's tilt sensor to navigate a sublime landscape.It was exhilarating, and for once, appreciated all the special realtime graphics effects that compensated for the absence of head tracking and stereoscopy, luxuries that was always expected from VR. The author concluded that health games is an exciting research area today. It's an opportunity to reuse what learned from decades of CG, VR, and digital game research, merge that with knowledge with other areas, and release new ideas into the world.

Published in:

Computer Graphics and Applications, IEEE  (Volume:29 ,  Issue: 5 )

Date of Publication:

Sept.-Oct. 2009

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