Video Games, Body Suits, and Landon Donovan
By: Stephan Roehrenbaeck
90:00 Soccer Magazine joined EA Sports and Landon Donovan yesterday for a demonstration of EA’s new mobile motion capture suit. These suits are highly sophisticated, as Dave Pierce (Senior Director of MoCAP) pointed out, “there are 17 sensors positioned throughout the suit, reflecting major skeletal movements”. What that translated to was the ability to see Landon’s moves reflected on screen in animation form. For all you gamers out there, it was fascinating to see how much precision and detail are put into creating these games. For the most part though we were out for Landon.
After an interesting filming for a segment on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show which aired last night, Landon went through and performed moves for EA and for those of us in attendance. They even managed to have Donovan Rickett’s out stopping penalty shots. After the capture session we were able to catch up with Landon and pick his brain about the World Cup and gaming. I’m sure we all joke that players probably play these games to help with strategy and to prepare for games. You’d be surprised to find out the joke is on us. According to Landon, “Growing up I didn’t have soccer to watch on TV and I feel like playing these games helped me learn players, learn about stadiums, learn about teams…playing the games you learn some things”. When playing games during his down time he still supports Everton and even went on to refute the claim made by Jozy as to who the best gamer on the team was. When asked about World Cup expectations, the answer was simple, “our goal is to get out of our group”. Should the miraculous happen and the U.S. makes the finals their ideal opponent in Landon’s eyes is irrelevant, “If we get to the final I’m happy, give us anybody”. Lastly, we asked him his thoughts on the team to look out for in the tournament, to which he responded, “the Ivory Coast, they have a hard group but if they get through they’re a team that has players that can really change the game and they can be really dangerous”.
For the most part it was a day of fun for Landon. Gone was the serious expression we’ve seen so often during league and international play and was replaced with jokes and smiles. Of course if I was parading around in a black and orange striped body suit, well I’d have to be all smiles too. All in all it was a rather interesting experience and a rare look into the gaming world and how athlete’s roles transcend the pitch.