Once again, an idea came to me while I was in the la-la land between waking and sleeping, and I thought I’d share it with you, dear reader(s): the Un-Game. Basically, the Un-Game is a piece of software that looks and behaves more or less like a video game (in most cases a first-person shooter), but isn’t. It has the same sort of graphics and controls, but no plot or real objectives. The idea came to me while I was being generally disappointed by both movie versions of Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris. The 1972 version was long and depressing and strange, and the 2002 version missed the spectacle of the planet entirely. I realized that it wasn’t likely that anybody would do a re-make any time soon. But the only other venue with special effects to do justice to Solaris is the video game industry. And thus, the idea of the Un-Game was born. Here are a few examples:
Solaris: The player wanders around Solaris Station, maybe interacting with the crew, but they also have the option to go out and just look at the scenery, watch the suns rise and set, and observe the ocean’s strange transformations. That would be the main focus of the game: trying to visually re-create the symmetriads and agiluses that Lem described so vividly in the book.
Schizophrenia: Something like this already exists in Second Life, but I’d be interested to see a more thorough, first-person treatment that lets non-schizophrenics like me get an idea of what the symptoms are like. This could also be applied to other dieseases like epilepsy or autism: the player could have goals like go to the grocery store or drop the mail in the mailbox, and try to do them in spite of the symptoms.
Hallucinogens: Many moons ago, I played an interesting modified version of Tetris. The rules were exactly the same, but the player had to combat drug-induced hallucinations while slotting the blocks into place. Once again, I think a first-person-shooter-type perspective could be interesting here, giving people an idea what it’s like. This one has the most potential for development into a traditional FPS.
Training: I know that simulations like this already exist in huge numbers, but as I keep saying, I think the FPS perspective has a lot to offer here, allowing people to experience the dangers and intricacies of a new job or a new task.