Old school gamers will remember Paperboy, an arcade game — later ported to home systems like the NES and Atari ST — that let you savour the pleasure of virtually breaking your neighbours’ windows by tossing a rolled up newspaper through their front room as you powered past on your bike. Because that’s what passed for entertainment in 1984. Well, time and technology has moved on but creative tech company Globacore, which builds these sort of gaming mash-up installations, has decided to do an updated version of the Paperboy concept, because, well, why not?
PaperDude VR — as it’s called its updated creation — has been hacked together using an actual bike, a Wahoo Fitness KickR indoor resistance bike trainer, an Oculus Rift virtual reality head-set, and Microsoft’s gesture-recognising Kinect peripheral as the key parts of the puzzle. This set up — combined with a Lego-esque 3D game world built in Unity — lets the PaperDude VR gamer actually peddle and actually toss (or at least make a throwing gesture) as they play the game.
What’s the point of all this? Well it’s mostly for the fun of it — and for Globacore to showcase what they can do — and it sure looks like a neat way to gamify a bike ride. But with the proliferation of connected and increasingly specialised gizmos, fuelled by crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, these sorts of reality simulations are only going to get easier and cheaper for people to hack together. Which is only a good thing for the creative future of gaming.