Pocket Monsters

(H/t Mad Minerva)

A bit of reverse cultural assimilation: Pokemon (ポケモン) is a Japanese contraction for the English words "pocket monster" (ポケットモンスター / poketto monsuta-). For some reason, I find it amusing to hear Americans say "Pokemon".

No, I have no excuse for posting this. It's Friday: We don't need no stinking excuses!


Grim said...

I saw a proposal for a Fallout 4 Go, which would be a different animal entirely.

Tom said...

That would be a whole different game. I wonder what it would like like in a city park or on campus.

douglas said...

I have huge issues with this game. You can start with what you would have thought would be obvious to the developers, and we have already heard on the news- people playing while driving, Pokemon located in places like Arlington Cemetery or other places where decorum would suggest one not engage in such activities, trespassing.

But perhaps more deeply, I have my concerns about people playing a game as they navigate through our shared real world.

I did a study project in architecture school that examined the underlying concept of our emerging into an era where 'enhanced reality' was something that was possible. It consisted of three pieces-

-First was a wearable device for reading a book via a heads up display- the idea being that it would allow an overlap of the virtual world of the book and the real world. In practice, especially as the device was rather large and clunky, the device though intended to allow one to navigate the real and virtual worlds simultaneously, in fact made it impossible to fully engage either world adequately. If you tried to read, you were less than adaquate navigating the real world, and if you navigated the real world, you really couldn't focus on the text.

-Second was a device intended to facilitate your interaction with the real world through documentation and observation. It was kind of a wearable, miniature note taking desk. Yes, it was as clunky and unwieldy as you'd imagine, and achieved pretty much the exact opposite of it's intended purpose (this was in the end the least relevant part of the exercise).

-Third was a device intended to solve the issues of the first device by inverting it's function. It took the book, and rather than displaying it to you via a HUD, attached it to a device that hooded your face, effectively cutting you off from most of the real world, such that the only way you could engage the book was to engage the real world and have someone read it to you.

I don't remember now exactly how I came to this device- but using it was a rather interesting and profound experience. The whole project really convinced me that ideas about layering over the real world with more information was a losing proposition- our brains have over time become quite good at filtering and limiting the amount of data we have to process for a reason- trying to achieve too much ends up achieving less as far as depth of experience goes, and I think this is what you see in these people who have done silly things while playing Pokemon Go- they were so immersed in the game that they neglected reality and it's proprieties. Likely, if you observe the real world's proprieties, you're going to occasionally miss out on catching a Pokemon. You really can't have both and have them fully.

Grim said...

At times, people have accused me of being distracted from reality by visions of other things. Sometimes, though, it is worth it.

Tom said...

douglas, that's fascinating. I agree you can't have them both, but this game is interesting (not that I've played).

I guess I can relate to this in land nav -- Paying so much attention to compass and terrain features that that hole (or log or branch) right there sneaks up and bites you. And nature photography.

I think I might try the game just to see what it's like. With all due caution, of course.

Ymar Sakar said...

Japan's culture has a high level of assimilation capability. It used to be the West and mainline Christian lineages had that capability.

Right now, Enhanced Reality is technologically blocked. People are still getting used to Oculus and personal VR software. Once the tech improves to a sufficient level, signs will have built in microprocessors and Ram, which allows someone with say Google glasses to access the info, wirelessly. Currently the Western world has wireless power transfer for recharging phones, that is sufficient power transfer in and of itself. If distance is an issue, then limit the distance so that people have to look directly at it and then get within a standard distance. Like say, touching phone to card readers. Except with lasers, it doesn't need to be touched, and with wireless protocols, it doesn't need to be LOS either.

Right now one of the interesting things phones can do is to capture a shot of one of those symbols. QC symbols I believe they are called, which does the same thing, except the processing and data relay is done via online and from the phone's ram and cpu itself. Once the world can attach ram and cpus to signs, billboards, machines, then Enhanced Reality can become a reality.

jaed said...

douglas - I'm wondering how long people were given to practice with these devices.

It strikes me that handling virtual reality overlays might be something like learning to drive. When you start out, you're not used to following all the stimuli you need to be aware of, and it can be overwhelming and distracting. But as you practice driving over weeks and months, your brain gets better at identifying the things you need to pay immediate attention to (child running into street just ahead of you? Priority override!) while keeping track, in the background, of a lot of other things that would once have distracted you by requiring conscious attention (cars in neighboring lanes, people walking along the sidewalk, street signs).

Just the sensations of traveling at 65 mph are very new, and the brain (in my experience) needs time to get used to them in order to handle them well. I'm wondering whether VR overlays might work the same way: very distracting at first, and gradually melding into the background as your brain learns what needs attention and what can be quietly tracked without bothering your conscious mind. This would imply that people might need to "wear" VR on a regular basis for weeks or months before it starts being a useful part of the senses.

Ymar Sakar said...

Jaed, plenty of data from FPS and other line games that allows people to understand that most people are not good at utilizing complicated motor controls in conjunction with their visual cortex. The statistical range of people who are good, can be seen by their performance and scores in competition. And the number of hours they put in to be that good, is probably more than 100 hours. Closer to 1,000-5000. That's probably a pro SC2 tournament outlier, but for the average user, how they perform has a statistical breakdown.

The number of hours a person has on an interface is important, but there are people who hit a plateau and because they lack talent, they cannot progress to the higher levels.

douglas said...

Jaed, Good point. No one practiced with it in any way, it was a spontaneous experience. Of course, in driving, our scope of what part of the world we interact with is also narrowed quite a bit- I'm always fascinated when I don't drive and can look around at things I don't normally get to look at much (anymore, since I'm almost always driving). Fact of the matter is we have a limited scope of attention and we have to narrow the incoming data stream somehow- adding to the data stream just means something else has to get edited out.