Muscle memory and familiarisation of virtual spaces is a funny old thing. Can I explain to others how I execute a finisher in Mortal Kombat? No. But place a controller in my hand and my fingers do the all work; connecting those neural pathways in a way that trying to recall information via any other method fails to do.

It’s the same with virtual spaces – when (the really rather poor) Duke Nukem Forever launched - one of the few highlights was playing the cinema level in multiplayer again. Even though I hadn’t been there for years it was only a matter of seconds before I was making a bee-line for the hidden areas, as if fifteen years had never passed.

It’s reassuring that when put in context our brain delivers the tools necessary to get the job done. But with advances in mobile computing power and GPS enabled devices the floodgates are open to turn the real word into as much of a playground as the moons of Mars or fantasy world of Nirn.

Admittedly the initial forays into location specific entertainment are quite limited. FourSquare has a train-spotter vibe to it, with awards allocated for visiting different locations more than others – although once you arrive at your location there is little to do other than announce your arrival and then leaving (or maybe taking advantage of marketing offers in the immediate locale). Geocaching offers more of a treasure hunting experience with physical objects to find & hide – although players have triggered a number of bomb-scares after being spotted hiding objects in public places.

There are numerous advantages in layering the virtual work on top of the physical one. Poor restaurants can receive harsh reviews enabling those using location based services to read at a glance – although it seems all but the most tech savvy businesses are blissfully unaware of the virtual graffiti that surrounds their establishment. A stranger in the high street of an unknown town now has relevant information about their surroundings without the need to consult a traditional search engine.

If we extend the concept of the virtual overlaying the physical into the realms of gaming, there are opportunities galore. Admittedly, for faster paced titles, viewing the world through augmented goggles has potential for serious accidents. As players gleefully chase virtual balls under real busses or leap for virtual cover over the precipice of very real cliffs. But imagine playing tower defense in your own street as you add resources and weapons to the various properties; watching your garden shed transform into an ammo-dump as laser cannons peer out from your loft conversion. Not only is this vastly entertaining, there is also an emotional connection to your location that a simulated world simply cannot re-create.

Tactical counter-strike style gaming could move into the real world as teams of friends & strangers co-ordinate their efforts to plant or diffuse virtual explosives across your actual city (although the potential fallout from tweeting achievements in this game could result in a knock on the door from MI5). But take the concept further; need extra health? Visit a hospital. Need extra cash? Visit a bank. The world literally becomes your playground.

Those of you that played Metal Gear Solid will no doubt remember the battle with Psycho Mantis, where the only way to defeat him was to unplug the controller from port 1 and plug it into port 2. Having to perform actions in the real world to affect the game world was empowering and revolutionary back then. But, if done on a global scale, the impact of such a game could be like nothing experienced before.

Pulling in traditional elements of gaming alongside social and geo-specific targets could attract new players and encourage genuine teamwork. Knowledge of your local area and local people could yield better results in the games. Would this leverage the ‘Big Society’ Mr.Cameron talks about? Would this get people outside and doing some exercise? Who knows? But you won’t see better graphics than those on display in the real world and if a group of spotty teenagers call you a “noob” you can actually clip them round the ear rather than mumbling down a microphone.

Without the need to create expensive visual assets developers can focus on innovation and the financial barriers to entry for independents are significantly reduced. With 3DS, PSP Vita and pretty much every smartphone having a GPS there are already millions of units in potential players hands ready to lead a gaming revolution out of the house and into the streets.