We started off with a quick game of Pong to get a feel for how things worked. It was a gurn-inducing experience at first, but after about a minute we were almost completely unaware that we were making any effort to control the game. It was just happening, and what’s more, we were playing well. As Dr Schuette explained, “You don’t think about doing it, you just do it.”
But then the question we were waiting for came. “Do you want to play a real game?” Hell yes sir. Hell yes we did.
And thus we fired up UT3 and dropped ourselves into Shangri-la, feeling ever more like Neo in the combat training dojo for the eastern setting. Our stuttery start lasted all of thirty seconds, and then we were running, jumping and killing with the best of them. We used the mouse to aim, but everything else, including jumping and firing, was done entirely with our brains. Put simply, it felt like we were flying. The more we got a feel for the levels of thought needed, the faster, smoother, and more instinctive things got, until we eventually got back to the point we achieved in Pong, where we were hardly having to think about what we were doing. We were going Tetsuo on everyone’s asses and it felt great.
The feeling after playing a game with your mind is a strange and tingly one. Excited and wired because of what you’ve just done, but happily relaxed and mellow because of how smoothly everything in-game just seemed to flow. No-one we saw walk out of the demo having used the tech didn’t want a set of their own, and excitable talk of networked deathmatches echoed around the office for a good long time afterwards. We were doubtful of the idea before we tried it, as much down to the fact that brand new third-party peripheral ideas tend to lack software support as anything else, but with the technology working so well and being completely adaptable to any player and any game, we can definitely see a bright future for it somewhere down the line.
**Disclaimer: Not all minds may be compatible with the technology. One of our number found himself unable to interface with the system, but it seems that issue was down to a broken brain rather than broken hardware. The calibration charts showed some frankly non-human brain activity which raised a great deal of concern, both for him and those of us sharing an office with him. Please check your cerebral cortex to ensure that it meets minimum specifications**