Let me explain the thought process that led me to interview my own mother about Sony's newly announced Morpheus VR headset.
I promise I haven't gone mad and confused this article with some German homework I had to do in the 8th grade.
It all started with a single slide that Sony presented during Morpheus' unveiling at GDC 2014.
"Virtual Reality Awaits," it said. I'm excited by every one of those six carefully written maxims (below). They make VR sound momentous and bursting with potential. They also remind me a bit of the Nintendo Wii.
Points 3 and 6 in particular seem penned with a pin-sharp awareness of who made the Wii a success: my mom.
Not single-handedly, you understand. My mom is part of the ladies-over-35 demographic, who are traditionally unreachable by the games industry; who weren't given the slightest thought when the money men gave Titanfall the OK; whose curiosity for Wii bowling grew into a bona fide gaming habit; and who bought extra peripherals to turn their games console - yes, theirs - into a personal trainer.
It was settled then. I had to consult the 'gray dollar' - the section of society that proved so instrumental in the ground-breaking success of living room tech - to assess the Morpheus headset's chances of achieving maxim 6: It Is For Everyone.
Mom's the word
"The fact that my own mother brings it up is striking. We both want the same thing from this technology, even if it means hoping for too much."
"I think it's a really fantastic idea," she begins. "It reminds me of the original incarnation of Star Trek - you know, all the futuristic gadgets they have."
Are you thinking of the holodeck, I ask?
"Yeah. It would transport them to another place. Wherever they wanted. Perhaps they'd go back in time and try to change history."
Tell me, in all honesty, that this isn't exactly what you think of when anyone mentions VR. Go on.
But the fact that my own mother brings it up is striking. We both want the same thing from this technology, even if it means hoping for too much.
Fitted with accelerometer and gyroscopic sensors, Sony's 5-inch 1920x1080 LCD screen isn't yet capable of delivering an environment indistinguishable from reality, but surely that's the goal of VR.
And my mom wants that too! This is great, because her generation's rate of spending in the retail market is growing quicker than any other. Just think: she could fund the future holodeck.
Next stop, holodeck?
"The first thing they showed was the act of lopping off a man's arm. I don't just want a closer experience of mutilating people"
The only problem is, we're not quite there yet. Is it that totally immersive experience she's after, I ask?
"Yes. I actually felt a bit disappointed when I watched the video and the first thing they showed was the act of lopping off a man's arm. I don't just want a closer experience of mutilating people."
I feel silly for not even considering this prior to our chat. As a gamer, I think: why not show the possibilities of accurate melee combat in an all-encompassing first-person environment? It's such standard fare that I'm blind to how off-putting it must be to someone who doesn't routinely dismember virtual men.
It's not that mom doesn't play games. Her prowess at Peggle is really quite humbling. I won't even play Wii Sports with her any more, there's just no point.
Her thirst for immersive interactive experiences and competition is as strong as anyone's. But she won't play Half Life 2 no matter how believable the physics model is for 2004. Is the association of violence and video games something she finds off-putting, I ask?
"Definitely. When you reach a certain age, you realize violence doesn't solve anything. It serves no useful purpose."
I've asked many developers if they feel a responsibility to tone down violent content as visual fidelity increases in games, and most are in agreement that photorealistic viscera isn't a desirable goal in game design. If VR really does hit the mainstream, it may have a profound effect on violent content.