Extreme gaming – Guts Game
Worth an estimated US$137.9bn globally according to Newzoo, gaming is big business. In order to be successful in the industry it’s important to be ahead of the curve, with unique new concepts which will get the masses hooked.
One example of a game that has taken 2018 by storm is Fortnite, which has over 200 million people registered to play. The addictive nature of the game, which has almost constantly been in the headlines thanks to the dramatic hold it has on young players, has generated revenue in the billions, giving the developer of the game Epic Games Inc a value of approximately US$8bn.
With this in mind developers are in a race to find the next big trend in gaming, utilising technological advancements which might allow for new types of interfaces and gaming styles. The last few years have seen a rise in different types of video game platforms, for example virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), with games like Pokémon GO using the built environment to create a game that people can move through naturally.
Taking this one step further, though, is the recent announcement of new game concept “Guts Game” which works by the player ingesting a biosensor.
Similar to skin implants, biosensors have been going through serious development in the last year, building on the growing trend for health monitors made famous by the likes of Fitbit. Medical researchers have also been keen to develop the technology, with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) last year creating an ingestible sensor which monitored heart and breathing rates from inside the digestive tract according to Forbes.
Translating a body sensor into a game however is a whole different kettle of fish, and an extreme example of what we might expect from the future of the gaming sector. The game works by two players ingesting sensors which then release a ‘virtual parasite’ which can only be killed off by altering your body’s temperature through activities like eating spicy food, working out and taking hot or cold showers. Throughout the duration of the game the results from the sensor are transmitted to an app where players can interact. The game ends after 24-36 hours when the sensor is excreted – whichever player totted up the most points wins.
The trial of Guts Game was carried out on 14 participants and Zhuying Li, a Ph.D. candidate at RMIT University, told Digital Trends: “We have done a user study with 14 participants. The results showed that people liked the Guts Game overall. Players appreciated the feeling of freedom given by the sensor: The players could not feel the presence of the sensor physically after swallowing. Also, the players appreciated their body being the game interface … rather than just using their fingers to tap the screen or keyboard.”
Naturally (despite the seemingly positive reviews from the test subjects), Guts Game has raised some eyebrows, with questions being asked about the safety of the game as well as its entertainment value. By nature games encourage players to perform at extreme levels in order to beat opponents. When your own body becomes the interface there is a definite chance for physical harm, for example if someone wanted to create a world record win in Guts Game they might end up doing something stupid like stepping into fire or jumping into ice cold water.
What’s also important to remember is that classic shooter-survival games don’t seem to be going out of fashion yet. As Fortnite has shown there is little wrong with the traditional format of gaming and themes that are so well loved. Guts Game certainly might be ahead of its time, but the signs point to it being a flash in the pan.