One of the strangest and amazing moments in our trip to Europe last year was the presence of the Nintendo 3DS as the official guide of the Louvre in Paris. It was a mix of gaming and art that had me seeing a glimpse of the future (GPS Mapping, 3D Models, etc.), and I thought by extension about virtual reality and how it’s coming up on us quicker than anyone can even imagine. This marriage of gaming, art, and narrative is going to make our future a pretty exciting place (photo below is me with a 3DS image of Mona Lisa in front of the actual Mona Lisa) and I talked about it at Tor.com. I’ve also included a few more photos of us with the 3DS, including one of Angela in front of the famous painting of Napoleon.
The Louvre Museum in Paris is an architectural marvel, a palace built upon, renovated, and expanded from its origins as a fortress. Even awe would be an understatement to describe the feeling exploring its vast wings, its incredible Pyramide du Louvre, not to mention the most epic collection of artwork on display in the world. The first time I visited, I got completely lost, in part, because it’s one of the world’s largest museums at over 652,000 square feet. In between trying to track down the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and the Egyptian antiquities, my legs gave out after a half a day of hapless wandering. The second time I visited (which was almost ten years later), I had a much better experience, knowing exactly where I wanted to go, even getting a good grasp of its layout. This wasn’t the result of having learned my way around during my first visit, but rather because I had the official Nintendo DS Louvre Guide to lead me, complete with a GPS and 3D Imaging designed specifically for the museum (on rent for just five Euros at any of the booths). My perceptions were more attuned with gaming than I’d realized, where spatial relationships in the real world were more intuitive rendered through the map on the 3DS. The Whorfian Hypothesis on cognitive development describes how language shapes our perceptions. Whether subconscious or not, I was relating to the visual language of gaming in a way that was surprisingly familiar, particularly in terms of the way I interfaced with the museum. The 3DS Guide made my experience not only more manageable, but (and I feel a little silly saying this in retrospect) it made the whole Louvre resemble a Zeldaesque labyrinth ready to be explored.