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HP Mscape Handheld Portable Gaming System

Updated on April 8, 2007

What do the Playstation Portable and Nintendo DS have in common? As far as compatibility is concerned, not much. However, I can guarantee both makers of these gaming handhelds are coming up with a new game plan in order to compete with their newest competitor: Hewlett-Packard.

That's right. HP is stepping into the portable gaming fray with the development of the Mscape. Interestingly enough, Mscape isn't exactly an original name, because entering "Mscape" on a search engine results in several hits of all things unrelated to HP. Oh well, it is still in the development stage. It is so hard to find really cool and original names to search from.

Conceptually, the HP Mscape has a lot going for it as far as originality is concerned. The Mscape relies on Global Positioning System (GPS) sensors that allow the device to literally know where the player is. Even though this system is still in the development stage, they already have a tagline: "Your world is the playing field. Get in the game".

For example, one of the concept games includes a player walking around some piece of land like a city park. Since the Mscape is GPS connected, it literally will track the player. Part of the game will include the player walking to specifically laid-out coordinates in order to trigger game bonuses, such as a hidden boss, level, or other surprises.

Considering the Wii and its motion sensor controls are beginning to create a new generation of non-couch potato gamers, the Mscape will surely take it to the next level. The Mscape forces the player to get up and physically move around, taking the world of gaming into the next level. "We want to get kids off the couch," said Rahal Sood, the chief technology officer of the HP gaming division.

According to cnet.com, an HP Mscape commercial exists that features a number of gamers who roam about San Francisco. These players used cues from their environment in order to unlock all kinds of bonuses. I did a search for that commercial on YouTube, but was unable to find it.

I was able to find an amateur's video of someone playing Mscape on an HP Ipaq rx5915. At least, that's what filmmaker says it is. The filmmaker did his or her best to point the camera toward their screen, and the game they were playing was some odd search for a professor with a little aliens thrown in. However, the game was giving definite cues such as "Go up the escalator", and the cameraperson did. From there, another event in the game was opened.

I think the Mscape will change the world of Role-Playing Games as we know it. Player-created content is big on such games like Unreal, and I'm guessing we are looking at an age where the players create living environments to have their friends explore. I don't think that the Nintendo DS or PSP can compete with that in their current state. Begun the Handheld Wars have.

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