The unveiling earlier today of Microsoft's new "Surface" tablets was a strange one for me. Not because of the nature of the product, but for its name. It's one Microsoft has been using for years, only, for an entirely different device. One that, for a while there, we thought could change the way we played games.
Surface is what Microsoft's range of large, touch-screen table computers - first debited all the way back in 2007 - were (are?) called, which for all their potential as business hubs or educational devices were always hampered by their size and, more importantly, astronomical cost.
The one area they showed true potential in, though, was for games. And not even necessarily video games. They way a Surface combined the technological abilities of a computer with the intimacy of a...table meant that board games were transformed on the device, becoming a synthesis of the two that, as a player of both, seemed truly exciting.
Here, for example, is the most badass game of Settlers of Catan you've ever seen. The same goes for Dungeons & Dragons, which you can see in this feature I wrote a few years back with a number of developers working on the platform. Some of the prototypes and games they had already running on the system looked great.