[ExI] simulation as an improvement over reality

spike spike66 at att.net
Tue Dec 21 21:09:58 UTC 2010

My son was given a wii bowling game.  Some of you may be familiar with it: a
simulated bowling game in which the player holds a device instrumented with
accelerometers that simulates a bowling ball, with a simulated alley and
pins.  Those of us who play bowling or have done so recognize that it is a
poor substitute for the real thing, but one aspect of the simulated wii game
caught my attention.  It can be set up to simulate interesting variations on
a well-worn theme.

Bowling has ten pins, but what if our sim could offer us any arbitrary
number?  What if we could have instead of four pins along the back row,
about twenty?  Then the total number of pins would be 210.  To set up an
actual alley and maintain the same spacing as 10 pin, the alley construction
would present some practical real-world show stoppers.  The alley would need
to be five times the width, and logically five times the length, so 25 times
the floor area in high-cost super flat and level hard wood.  Never mind
attempting to set up a mechanized pin setter.

But a good computer sim can do a convincing job of calculating what would
happen if you did manage to set up such a cool arrangement.  It would open
wide the possibilities, such as struggling to be the first person in history
to achieve a strike in 28 pin, where the back row has seven instead of the
usual four pins.  Or set the world record for the largest single-roll score
in 55 pin, where a strike is universally considered impossible.  I can
imagine the sim being sophisticated enough that it takes a minute or two to
calculate all the dynamics of scattering bowling pins, even with today's
highly capable processors.

This sets the stage for international wii bowling-variant tournaments, where
no one needs to leave their own home.  Imagine the fuel savings.  That game
would be a kick in the ass!

It is getting easier now for me to imagine future entertainment, much less
passive than sitting like a boiled rutabaga in front of a big silver screen,
far more interactive, more people involved, less money changing hands, waaay
more variation in the old familiar games.


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