As part of Operation “keep my son entertained while he recovers from surgery,” we bought one of those cheap video games that you plug into the TV– the kind where the ROM is actually in the joystick.

In this case, it’s a racing game, and the controller is shaped like a steering wheel. This is deceptive, because the actual controls are buttons. It’s a bit like having a steering wheel in a car, but actually controlling it by honking the horn.

I showed it to my son, and asked him what he thought it was. “I know!” he said. “It’s one of those games where you have to jump up and down to control it!” The fact that his first thought was that it was a haptic interface is revealing of just how quickly the notion of playing virtual games in the real world– or real games in the virtual world– has become commonplace.

Or maybe it’s just an unsubtle attempt to guilt me into buying him a Wii for the family.

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