The first computer game I played was 'Lunar Lander' on a Mainframe machine in the late 1960s; we didn't have screens; you typed in coordinates for speed and distance, and it calculated your descent and how much fuel you had, then printed out the answer. It was played so much some colleges banned it.
My first games addiction was the Purple People Eaters on the BBC Micro; Mice weren't available then, so I got Repetitive Strain Injury like most games players of the time. I moved on to Lemmings on the Amiga, but when my PC came along I had passed my games phase, and apart from Freecel and Spider Solitaire, never play games.
But I was invited along to the London Games Festival earlier this month to hear discussions on Artificial Intelligence in Computer Games; the next 'big thing'. I wasn't all that impressed by what I saw or heard.
Being a scriptwriter I find Computer games lacking in plot, but the main point of the discussions was how to put more 'Emotional attributes' into the Avatars.
I suggested that Games developers were going along the same learning curve as Film makers had done many years ago, and that though good design in games is essential, it is parallel to having celebrities rather than good actors in roles.
I left the show feeling that it will be some time before Avatars can put emotion into acting, but I was wrong. Take a look at: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/15/movies/15waxm.html?em&ex=1161144000&en=40ce02b6fecabbcc&ei=5087%0A
Without doubt this is the beginning of a new era in Computer Graphics and Movie making generally. It is not difficult to see that this technology will end up on the desktop within a year or two.
The merging of Games and Movies really is one giant step for Avatars; it just needs Surround Screens, Holograms, and Virtual Reality to catch up now.
In the mean time look at: