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Neuromancer-inspired game brought to life via Oculus Rift

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MIT Media Lab artist Greg Borenstein is working on an iPhone and Oculus Rift-powered recreation of the raids found in William Gibson's cyberpunk novel, Neuromancer.

Case and Molly, Borenstein's prototype creation, is about "the coordination between the virtual and the physical, between ‘cyberspace' and 'meat'" — a reference to Gibson's novel. In Neuromancer, hacker Henry Dorsett Case and augmented mercenary Molly often coordinate in a physical and digital sense to pull off raids. While Case handles the digital entry, Molly physically intrudes in what Borensetein calls "an extremely asymmetrical form of communication."

"On reading Neuromancer today, this dynamic feels all too familiar," Borenstein wrote on Urban Honking. "We constantly navigate the tension between the physical and the digital in a state of continuous partial attention. We try to walk down the street while sending text messages or looking up GPS directions. We mix focused work with a stream of instant message and social media conversations. We dive into the sudden and remote intimacy of seeing a family member's face appear on FaceTime or Google Hangout."

In Case and Molly, two players take on the role of either Case or Molly. The Case player is outfitted with an Oculus Rift and must navigate Molly through the physical world using a virtual screen and feedback from Molly. Molly, meanwhile, is equipped with smarthpones that provide video of her surroundings. Each player gets a short turn to accomplish his or her individual goals.

Check out the video above to see the game in action. For more on how the game works and how it was made, check out Borenstein's full post. The prototype is currently available via GitHub.