Welcome to the last part of Electric Dreams, a series about the many possibilities for tomorrow’s games, and the technology that might make it happen. Over the course of the series we’ve talked about a lot of different futures for the games industry: an endless graphics race; an exciting world of research; promising experiments in the industry; and a demographic of dreamers. These futures aren’t exclusive from one another. One of my favourite bits of games writing, by George Buckenham, is a list of Rules for Making Games. Rule number 5 simply says “Which future of games is correct? All of them.” Let’s see if we can squeeze in two more futures before we come to a close on this series: my own, and yours.
Writing this series has been an interesting opportunity for me. While I’ve been giving my view of the world of research, and the ways the games industry could change, it’s also come at a time when I’m examining my own reasons for staying in it. As we’ve discussed in previous parts, the power of research funding also comes paired with a lot of baggage and other responsibilities, and while games researchers might be more free than big developers to explore new ideas, we’re still constrained by funding agencies and government visions. If I want to pursue my own ideas about games, if I want to focus on whether my work actually benefits games rather than some abstract notion of ‘the economy’ or ‘science’, academia may not be the best place to do it. But this raises a more difficult question: where else is there?