As Real As It Gets or As Crazy As It Gets for Kickstarter?
Kickstarter has been a wonderful way to democratize the creative and entrepreneurial nature of the average internet user. Some people want to just make board games, some want to create theatrical productions about the life of Tesla, but some want to create the coolest and craziest gaming peripheral you’ve ever seen. This is the ARAIG.
That big black thing that looks like a personal mechanical beetle outfit is called As Real As It Gets (ARAIG). According to its developers, ARAIG is “a new dimension to gaming” and solves that pesky two dimensional problem that most games have. The developers say that the average gaming experience is basically limited “to sight and sound”, but the ARAIG will help immerse the player into the game through sensoring technology. Brody and Michael Stanfield definitely have the work cut out for them, but if this works ARAIG (pronounced “air-egg”) could be the next big gaming peripheral.
The ARAIG suit works with a full body exoskeleton, a decoder, a power cell (rechargeable battery) and a power cord. The exoskeleton will connect with the decoder, which will be attached to your gaming device of choice and feed information to the suit as you play. The suit will then react with your nervous system and your game, providing a force feedback loop of interaction and immersion. Both will send information back and forth to give you a truly immersive experience as you play and possibly develop some kind of muscle spasm.
Now, in the past companies like Nintendo have tried sensoring technology such as the Vitality Sensor but never followed through with it due to the lack of demand, but then again that didn’t stop them from making Wii Music. That being said, ARAIG could be the real deal and their devs are only asking for $900,000 for their initial goal. The campaign so far has been mildly successful with only 5% of the total funds have been raised. That $43,579 (as of writing) has been from small backers hoping to get things such as access to the forthcoming ARAIG forums, ARAIG exoskeletons and early access to purchasing ARAIG merchandising and products.
The bigger incentives, such as the base ARAIG model, have already sold out with the first hundred going in only five days. The higher tiers include personal engraving and customisable “Sim Skins” for your ARAIG have been less popular but still affordable for the average consumer. The highest tier includes being invited to a launch party in Toronto for the ARAIG and also being apart of the Alpha Test Team in March of 2014.
Overall, the project is incredibly ambitious but I feel it may be at best, a rich kid’s toy. The immersion of video games have never been about the physical experience but more in the mental interpretation of your efforts, effects and actions. You know you’re not really running through a forest as Link, but there are moments after a few hours of play that you’re truly sucked into that world and enjoy every single moment. You could be completely stationary, but you’re really taking down enemies and slashing your way to Ganon. With the Oculus Rift providing a new way for gamers to see the world of games, maybe ARAIG will be the next step in feeling those worlds. We’ll definitely keep you posted with 26 days left to the campaign.