There we sat, my Italian friend and I, at a sidewalk café with a bottle of wine. The label had an odd Italian mask; an escapee from a Salvador Dali painting with poked-out eye sockets and the expression of someone who has just missed the subway. We sat for a long time constructing the narrative of his life, passing his tale back and forth, until the game was broken off by the collective chuckles of others. Two women walked down the middle of the street with an oversized inflatable pool, squeaking in their sweaty arms.
A few years later, I laughed when reacquainted with my friend on an equally steamy summer afternoon. His expression, unchanged, brought back vivid memories of our first meeting.
Play is often associated with competition between friends, when in fact its true merit lies in the players’ recollection of the game and the context surrounding the occasion. A spirit of camaraderie that only exists in the real world, shared in real time. While technology enables you to play with those who are far away, the principles of engagement remain unchanged.
Unfortunately, digital gaming in its current form only takes into account two of our basic senses – sight and sound. No matter how absorbed we are, our other senses like smell, taste, and the most connecting – touch – are completely disengaged, ultimately rendering the time we’ve spent playing transitory.
As innovators, how do we lead the conversation? The real opportunity created by digital gaming is that it enables an experimental habitat to deliver insights into conversation. To create platforms that merely entertain us isn’t good enough. And to assume that we’ll never find a way to create true emotional resonance through digital games flies in the face of human progress. Soon, we will begin to connect the still-elusive components of friendship – generosity, camaraderie, and happenstance – to gaming platforms.
- - -
About the Author
Jared H Weinstein, Tech Startup Founder & Advertising Creative Director
Jared has contributed to campaigns for a wide variety of clients from IBM to Embassy Suites, GlaxoSmithKline, Samsung, JetBlue, Women & Co., and Rudy Giuliani’s Twin Towers Fund. In 2008, he formed THEDANDYGROUP – a collaborative network to develop independent projects. Currently, he’s the founder of KNOWN MERCHANT, a wine-related mobile start up that draws the emotional connection between the label and the time you spend enjoying wine with friends.