The focus of my project was to take a look at discrepancies between in-game action (especially in third-person action games) and player action. Many action-oriented games star a protagonist whose sole purpose is to move around really quickly and gracefully (usually while enacting some sort of violence on something). In light of lots of experiments in having players move around in real life to command movement within a game, as a way of “misplaying” these types of action games, I was interested in seeing how the pace of the game was changed by the player being forced to perform those same actions in real life. How exactly would players being forced to run, jump, and generally move around along with their avatars affect game strategy and play?
In order to explore this, I played Metal Gear Solid V while on a treadmill, while my wonderful and frankly really accommodating girlfriend adjusted its speed to match my in-game actions. The result was actually a really interesting deviation from traditional gameplay; even though I’m pretty familiar with the game, I had a lot of difficulty keeping up my normal pace of play under these conditions. Especially interesting was the fact that taking breaks in real life actually factored into my gameplay; MGSV is a stealth game, and hanging out behind a barrel or a wall a little longer than normal in order to catch my breath or get my bearings was definitely a real occurrence. The game definitely played differently in this context, and actually makes interesting the discussion about the viability of these sorts of high-intensity games in VR.
(The whole process also highlighted how goofy normal people look when trying to mirror video games; the last two minutes or so of the video attest as much.)