Last week I started writing my first iPhone app. It will make neither fart noises nor angry birds fly. It will not provide entertainment on its own, nor will it harness the power of the internet for good or evil. It will replace a pencil and paper.
I suspect most gamers will know what I mean when I say that the last ten years have seen a marked trend amongst the nerd populace to use computers to do in a convoluted fashion what is easily done with paper. The last D&D run I went to was a sea of noses peeking out over the top of laptop screens, pushing the hardware aside only to roll dice (because, as previously stated, polyhedra are cool). What will happen when this trend extends itself into the LARP scene?
My hypothetical app will replace making tick marks on a sheet of paper when my character in Oblivion or Morrowind (or Skyrim!) levels up. Some of you know <i>exactly</i> what that sentence meant, and are probably nodding your heads in agreement. The rest of you... this is going to sound a bit insane. The very short version is that in Elder Scroll games in order to optimize stats, one has to keep track of every skill that has increased since the last level. That's all. Instead of trying to figure where in the couch the pencil has rolled to, I will instead be fishing my iPhone from its cushy bowels. And, because I am a nerd, it will seem like an amazing improvement.