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COMPUTER SYSTEMS

A Different Kind of Tabletop Gaming
By: Terri Wells
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    2006-06-20

    Table of Contents:
  • A Different Kind of Tabletop Gaming
  • How it Works
  • Possible Applications
  • Coffee Table Competition

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    A Different Kind of Tabletop Gaming


    (Page 1 of 4 )

    Forget the Xbox 360, forget Wii, forget all the other gaming consoles you've heard about. Mitsubishi demonstrated a touch-controlled tabletop computer system that can be used for a lot more than just gaming (though it ought to excel at that too). It's nowhere near ready for mass production, but that's not going to stop us from checking out the early reports.

    Remember the days of dice-and-paper gaming? Maybe you still get together with your friends every other weekend for some dungeon crawling. If youíre not playing World of Warcraft or one of the other massively multi-player online roleplaying games (MMORPGs), you might still gather around a large table to throw dice on the outcome of fantasy or comic book-style adventures. If youíre really lucky, someone has a hex map and a good-sized collection of painted figures so you can see where youíre going.

    Or maybe youíre a war gamer. In that case, youíve probably spread your tanks and armies out all over tables covered in maps representing terrain (if you didnít have someone take the time to build ďrealĒ terrain) and relished playing the role of commander. At least, you did until the time came to move all that stuff when you gave commands. Wouldnít it be nice if the stuff moved itself?

    A new technology demonstrated by Mitsubishi Electric recently promises to make both the roleplaying game and the war game much more exciting and realistic. It could even make ordinary board games such as Monopoly and Scrabble more fun, or at least easier to set up and clean up after playing. And oh yeah, it has some other very cool possible real world applications as well.

    Unfortunately, itís currently beyond the average gamerís budget. A single table can cost as much as $10,000. Itís only available by special order from the company Ė and as of March, Mitsubishi had only manufactured about 100 of them (at that price, itís no wonder). But thatís not going to stop us from taking a look at the technology behind this wonderful table and imagining what we could do with it in our living rooms.

    Who knows? We might see it in our homes sooner than we think. After all, most of us remember when a super thin, super clear, super large color TV was a pipe dream. Now you can go out and buy one in almost any good-sized electronics section or store if you have the cash. With that in mind, join me in a peek at the family game room table of the future.

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