Nevermind is perhaps one of the most interesting horror games of 2015, at least in terms of how it intertwines technology and gameplay. Released last September, its shtick was integrating a heartbeat sensor in-game – a peculiar idea that actually worked quite well in dynamically adjusting pacing and appearance depending on how stressed players were. However, as cool as that was, the main issue arguably lied in people having to actually acquire such a sensor in the first place.
Luckily, there’s a new alternative for all you adventure seekers, this coming in the face of Affdex – a piece of software employing “emotion-sensing” through your rig’s webcam. The feature is now officially added to Nevermind as a free update, which means that any functionality that was exclusive to the heartbeat sensor can now be handled through the game by detecting changes in your facial expression. Although I’ve never tested the software myself, according to the Kickstarter update at question most webcams should work just fine (as long as you’re not sitting in a pitch-black space).
Oh, and eye-tracking support is also included through the so called Tobii EyeX controller, in case you thought things couldn’t get any more futuristic. Basically, it involves some pretty cool features such as closing your eyes to pause the game whenever things get tense, or looking towards the edge of the screen to peek behind. Welcome to the future!
It’s all slightly scary when you think about it, although perhaps not nearly as ridiculous as the idea of using a headset that translates your brainwaves into gameplay decisions – I’m looking at you, Throw Trucks With Your Mind. Hopefully we’ll see more games utilizing such technologies in the near future though, as apart from looking at it from an immersion perspective there’s also the undeniable positives of using such “gimmicks” as viable control mechanisms for people with various disabilities.