Last night, Microsoft's recently revealed Project Natal was shown on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (video embedded below).
Project Natal, in case you missed my earlier post, is an add-on for the Xbox 360 that will let you control games without using a controller; instead, your body in effect becomes the controller. More details can be found in the earlier article.
What I wanted to talk about today is the fact that this demo appeared on a talk show at all. Is this a sign that gamer culture has finally arrived? I should stress that the demo wasn't shown as some kind of sideshow goofiness – Fallon was clearly excited and amazed by it. OK, the red jump suits were kind of goofy. Let's just put it this way, the demo was treated as seriously as anything else on Late Night.
In a short interview with gaming blog Kotaku, Fallon said: "We are treating game openings like movie openings if they're cool," he told Kotaku. "Video games are interesting, I think it's something a lot of people do now. At 34, Fallon is young enough to have grown up playing video games, and continues to do so today.
And who was running the demo? Kudo Tsunoda from Microsoft Game Studios, trademark sunglasses intact. Not some high profile PR figurehead, but one of the people working on bringing the technology into our living rooms in the not-too-distant future. This wasn't the first time a game-maker was on stage with Fallon. Apparently in an earlier show, game designer Tim Schafer appeared with Jack Black to talk about Schafer's game Brütal Legend (Jack Black provides the voice of the game's main character).
Personally, I've been playing video games since there were video games to play, and for much of that time being a gamer was something I more or less hid from people. Society seemed to think that video games were OK for children, but not something adults should be doing (Minesweeper was an exception, apparently). It's nice to see gaming coming out of the basement, so to speak, and being treated as a legitimate form of entertainment on national television.
Anyway, here's the clip from last night: