Touch the future: meet the games embracing the material world

"Speaking of messiness, the star of Nintendo's forthcoming line-up is undoubtedly Splatoon, a team-based shooter in which absolutely all of the mechanical inventiveness flows from the material at its core - thick, colourful globs of ink that you fling around the environment, covering your enemies or laying down pools you can then dive into for stealth, speed, and even ammo recharges. There are very good design reasons for opting for ink. In a shooter, it's always nice to see the bullets as they come at you. In a territory capture puzzler it's equally nice to have a clear idea of who's winning at any moment. And, of course, in a Nintendo game, it's important to be able to divorce virtual violence from the realities of an actual battlefield. That said, though, I can't help hoping the whole game just bubbled outwards uncontrollably, ideas pouring from the properties of the material itself. Just think! A game made from mucking about with paint, or mucking about with digital paint at least. Who knows, maybe it all came spilling out of those thick juice shakes you're rewarded with at the end of each day in Pikmin 3?"

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