When we received an XWavefrom PLX Company and posted a closer look on the iPhone’s first brain-computer interface (BCI) accessory, we also promised that next time we will talk about an available application for the headset. Thanks to MindGames, our favourite Icelandic game developers, we were able to test a full copy of W.I.L.D., which is probably the best Xwave-compatible game so far in the AppStore.
Your turn to rule the dreams!
W.I.L.D. is an entirely brain-controlled game, MindGames’ second title in this genre. The developer studio’s previous title, Tug of Mind was the first game ever released with BCI compatibility for iPhone. For more about this, read our interview with MindGames’ CEO Deepa Iyengar.
To fully understand W.I.L.D., the player must take in the concept behind the game, or at least its title: Wake-initiated Lucid Dreams (W.I.L.D.) happen when people carry self-awareness seamlessly into their dreams, and though almost asleep, still able to control what happens. W.I.L.D. is all about dreams, those everyday fading pictures and beyond reason scenes that outcrop from the unconscious.
When speaking about W.I.L.D., we must not forget to mention that MindGames has put a good amount of their artistic talent into the game. The game’s minimalist interface (though the latest version includes tips on how to play the game), the unusual menu structure, the surreal (but excellent) animations could easily freak out an unprepared gamer. However for those open-minded ones, who are ready to take in this unique combination of art, game and a bit of science, W.I.L.D. offers a truly unmatched experience of brain-computer interaction.
First of all let’s connect the XWave to the iPhone via the standard jack plug. As the XWave has no built-in speakers for the game’s sound effects, we can connect a separate headphone to the XWave’s additional audio plug. Next we have to take on the headset. Just make sure that the forehead sensor fully touches the forehead, and don’t forget to clip on the ear sensor as well – that might sound a tricky, cumbersome process and indeed, it is at the first time, but becomes quite natural with a few try. Once the headset is on the head and turned on, we can jump into the surreal world of W.I.L.D.
In order to be able to play W.I.L.D. you’ll need the followings:
PLX XWave headset, the one can be seen on the picture below:
Focus or relax!
The menu is built by several batches of post-it notes, with a name on each pack. In the settings we can find an option to choose between easy, medium and hard level, they might affect the response time related to the gamer’s actual mental state. By tapping on a batch of post-it, further notes pop out, each with a drawing on it that gives a clue about the coming scene.
A burning house, a bending spoon, flying sheeps and exploding volcano – not just a remarkable collection of the developers’ wildest dreams, but they constitute the actual (mini)games in W.I.L.D. The ultimate goal in each scene is to induce a transformation on the screen by forcefully focusing, or in opposite cases, completely relaxing our mind.
When speaking of any brain-controlled game, probably the first question is always: does it really work? In the present case the answer is definitely yes.
W.I.L.D. responds pretty well to the gamer’s intentions. Once the sensors have a clear contact with the skin, consciously balancing between focused and relaxed mental states becomes an attainable though highly difficult objective.
While the mini games require only two main activities (focusing or relaxing), the most challenging tasks are when the player must gradually increase and decrease, or keep up a specific mental state. Like the coloring game with the lamb, where the goal is to select the color with your mind by relaxing, and then touch the screen to paint-by-number correctly.
Despite its short length (the game can be completed in an hour) W.I.L.D. is a unique, surreal experience, wrapped into an iPhone/iPad gaming experience, truly controlled by your mind.
If you’re ready to feed a hungry baby alien, cut in half a funky hot-dog, or The Science of Sleep was one of your favourite movies, you should definitely order an XWave right now and download W.I.L.D. from the AppStore!
UPDATE: new W.I.L.D. version available! The new, free 1.4 update comes with improved instruction system, includes tips on how to concentrate and relax, and hints about what will happen on each game board!