Some years ago I was visiting Will Wright at Maxis, while they were still working on “The SIMS 2”. He showed me a box, exactly the size of a computer game CD box, with nice artwork, text, system requirements, everything you’d expect. Except that it was labeled “The SIMS 4”, and the release date was sometime around 2012. I looked more closely at the system requirements, and they were far beyond anything available at the time.
Will explained to me that this was always the way he and his colleagues plan new game releases. Right up front they design the box, the artwork, that characters, the nice little blurb that goes on the back of the box. Then they set about making it possible for you to open the box (which might take a few years). In Will’s own words: “The game is in there. You just can’t open the box yet.”
And so I’ve decided to expand on yesterday’s post with a series of descriptions of the emerging field of “eccescopy”. My techno-geek side likes to think that “ecce” stands for “eye centered computed environment”. An eccescope is simply a device to let everyone see an alternate world created within the computer cloud, thereby allowing that world to appear before our eyes, right alongside our own physical world. It’s the ultimate extension of what is currently called “augmented reality”.
I chose that word because neither “eccescope” nor “eccescopy” appear even once in a Google search (although after today’s post, that will presumably change). I also chose “ecce” in order to rescue that perfectly respectable Latin word, which means “to see”, from its ignominious association with a certain unfortunate fable involving an ancient Roman prefect of Judaea.
When you put “ecce” together with the Latin word “scopus”, which means “to look”, you get the idea — in order to see, all you need to do is look. Well, that’s that’s the basic idea anyway. In follow-on posts I will describe what an eccescopic future might be like, and how we might get there from here.