Can you really rocket jump?

Games vs science: let the showdown commence!

We take a lot of things for granted in games. Such as guns that leave nothing but skeletons when they hit the enemy, or that you can hack a computer by playing a simple puzzle game. But no more. PC Gamer UK wanted to find out how far science was being abused for the sake of our entertainment. Questions were asked. We’ve probed, supposed, tested, tweaked, investigated, analyzed and, the most important part of this punishing process, typed things into the deepest scientific resource of our time: YouTube. That’s where the real world is. That’s where the videos of robots are. Prepare to be edutained...

Note: In-game examples were chosen for iconic quality, rather than where they actually first appeared.

Rocket jumping
In-game example: Quake III. A method of providing extra force to a jump by firing a rocket at your feet and using the blast to propel you.

In Quake III you can fire a rocket at your feet to add a little pep to your jumps. The thing is, the bazooka was built for taking down tanks. If there is a difference between tanks and the human body it’s that one is made of metal, while the other more resembles a garbage bag filled with water. Point-blank rocket explosions are nasty. What happens when you fire a powerful, propelled explosive designed for splitting apart tanks at your feet can only be described by making a squelching noise with your cheeks and tossing strawberry syrup-drenched oatmeal into the air.

Cloaking
In-game example: Crysis. You bend light around your body in order to turn invisible to your enemies.

It could happen, but it’ll take a lot of work. In 2003 Naoki Kawakami, of the University of Tokyo, produced a cloak that reflected a projected image from in front of the wearer onto the back of the cloak. So you’d need a camera, a projector, a cloak made of a special reflective material and a small, naive child to fool. Still, we’re getting nearer to flexible monitors, with both Philips and Sony working on that technology, and cameras are shrinking at an alarming rate. It doesn’t take too much of a stretch of the imagination to see the system being refined into something useable. And by then we’ll all have windows made of diamodillium and we’ll be drinking steak lattes.

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