If you thought your portable gaming options were all but limited to Sony's PSP or Nintendo's DS / DS Lite (or those Korean-based all-in-one gizmos), a group of Swedish programmers are hoping to change all that in drastic fashion. Concocting an "in-car gaming system" that utilizes a GPS receiver, handheld computer, headphones, and a laptop in the trunk of the whip, the Backseat Playground would eventually turn real world "sights, attractions, and locations" into in-game characters and events for the lucky passenger(s). The basic idea is to start the game off in a primarily audio-based murder mystery scenario where "actual forests, skyscrapers, and rivers" become part of the story, giving children (or adults, too) a way to virtually interact with their surroundings while traveling. The laptop uses the GPS data to maintain a 3D model which keeps the vehicle correctly positioned in the virtual world, and much "like a novel," the story unfolds as different turns (ahem) take place based on the decisions players make. While the entire system is still prototypical, it currently works "over a 35 square kilometer area in Stockholm," and designers are currently testing interest in other locales throughout the UK. Personally, we can't wait to see the variations in storylines while cruising down the 101 versus the pits of Hell's Kitchen, but we'll probably just wait for third party reports of the later.

[Via The Raw Feed]

"Back in our day, we played the Wii by candlelight."