Because video games

The rebirth of Virtual Reality in the games industry is blurring the lines between the real world and fantasy, offering an immersive experience which - as time goes on - could become indistinguishable from reality. But that's not the only way that video games and real-life can mix with one another - electronics hacker James Stuart has taken one of Nintendo's best titles and given it the ability to influence external technology.

It might make it sound more exciting than it actually is, as Stuart's project merely involves creating a real-world HUD (Heads Up Display, in case you were wondering) for Super Mario 64, which displays the lives, stars and coins in real-time on a set of LED panels.

Stuart uses emulation to run the game, and a program he has developed then pulls the relevant data from the emulator using an Arduino. It might seem utterly pointless, but there's a bigger picture here - Stuart's work shows how data from a game can interact or influence other pieces of hardware, and cues from within a game could be used to change things in the real world. An example he gives involves an actual locked door opening after you perform the same action in Super Mario 64. While this might sound like the perfect way to trap yourself in a burning house with no escape route other than finishing a tricky level in the classic N64 platformer, the potential should be clear.

What do you think? Is this an exciting experiment or a complete waste of time? Let us know by posting a comment.