Announced back in E3 2009, Nintendo’s Vitality Sensor has yet to see the light of day. Neuro-technology expert Roger Quy of neuro-technology firm Technology Partners suggests that Nintendo “didn’t really know what to do” with the Vitality Sensor. Quy believes in the viability of mixing fun and therapy. Speaking at the NeuroGaming Conference in San Francisco, Quy stresses that therapy has to be “both sophisticated and entertaining enough to ensure that it still provides help, rather than just a cheap thrill.” Quy goes on to dismiss today’s neuro-gaming-therapy attempts as “damn boring to use.”
Whenever I hear about the Vitality Sensor, I would convince myself that the Vitality Sensor would make stealth games much more terrifying. What if your heart rate affects your character’s movements and abilities? There are definitely possibilities to translate the player’s physical conditions into gameplay elements. What about the other way around? Are there ways to use gameplay elements to affect the player’s physical conditions? I am now thinking about Amnesia: The Dark Descent, an indie horror game that really got my heart beating. The Vitality Sensor has potential but like Quy suggests, realizing this potential might prove challenging.