Inspired by Neuromancer’s famous hacker-agent dynamic, Case and Molly is a game which pairs one player, wearing an Oculus Rift as a hacker in cyberspace and another as an agent in the real world, who uses three smartphones. The smartphones feed 3D video back to the Oculus Rift user, who must tell the agent whether she’s going the right way by displaying a green or a red cube.
NOTE: The video is a little jerky, it’s not just you.
Case and Molly was made by Greg Borenstein as part of a “Science Fiction to Science Fabrication” class at the MIT Media Lab, the code of which can be found here.
In a blog post Borenstein explains that the dynamic of “divided attention” featured in Nueromancer has become all too common in life’s more maundane systems.
“We try to walk down the street while sending text messages or looking up GPS directions. We mix focused work with a stream of instant message and social media conversations. We dive into the sudden and remote intimacy of seeing a family member’s face appear on FaceTime or Google Hangout.”
The experience, much like that in Neuromancer, was surprisingly intimate Borenstein found, although perhaps a little disconcerting.
“In conventional VR applications, the Oculus works by head tracking, making the motions of your head control the direction of a pair of cameras within the virtual scene. Losing that control, having your head turned for you, and having your actual head movements do nothing is extremely disorienting. Since Molly holds the phones closely and moves through a crowded public space, she speaks in a whisper, which stays close in Case’s ears even as she moves ever further away in space.”
I love this stuff. It makes me wonder about sharing your life with others, outsourcing tourism to livestreamers and the like. The Rift’s commercial release can’t come soon enough.