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Column: 'The Esoteric Beat: Playing With Poochie'

This week's edition of The Esoteric Beat, regular columnist Jim Rossignol's examination of the esoteric side of game design, takes a look at chat-tubbies, superior hamste...
This week's edition of The Esoteric Beat, regular columnist Jim Rossignol's examination of the esoteric side of game design, takes a look at chat-tubbies, superior hamsters, thought controlled cursors, and some delicious reading material. In the following extract, Rossignol takes a look at 'Metazoa Ludens,' perhaps the first project to allow pets to play video games with their owners. Sort of: How about this for man's best friend? "Metazoa Ludens is the new computer gaming environment which allows pets to play mixed reality games with humans via custom built technologies and applications." The project, when you get past the ludicrously jargon strewn descriptions, is about seeing what happens when animals get thrown into the videogame and communications technology mix. It's a series of experimental models that place the actions of animals in gaming environments designed for both them and their human owners. As the site explains, the potential situations created by pets being part of a multiplayer game are as humorous as they are potentially enlightening: "The first game enables hamsters to have a superior position compared to the humans' position in the game." I, for one, welcome our new hamster overlords. You can read the full Gamasutra column (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).

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