I had a pretty big realization last night. It happend while Andy was playing Nintendo, and then became even more clear after watching Tom Hank's fist movie, Mazes and Monsters. There has been a dramatic shift in the way we live now, in a tecno culture, compared with even the days of my childhood... the 1980's.
Andy has every Nintento game ever created, stored on his computer. That itself is amazing. Look how far tecnology has come in the last 20 years, how drastically information storage has changed. Andy was scolling through a slew of titles and picking games at random to play. I was watching. What started to fascinate me was the themes of the games and how diffrent they are from today. One in particular, an airplane game, gives the gamer a birds eye view of the marsian surface. Piloting a space plane you must destroy all the martians who are lobbing glowing orbs at you. I could be wrong, i dont play very many new video games, but todays games aren't making kids excited about space exploration, are they?. The video games i see coming out today are vast virtual arenas that allow one to live a virtual life. in many role playing games you can buy food, tatoos, you even date virtual characters and build up your life stats. Is the dream of American space exploration, and even broader, american ingenuity, dead? In place of space exploration, we Americans have decided to explore ourselves. It seems, reality television and life simulation games almost make american's content sit on the couch and live virtual lives.
After the nintendo I poped in Mazes and Monsters. It examined much of the same themes that i had been pondering in front of Andy's flashing computer monitor, but from the perspective of fearful suburbian parents of the mid 1980's. They feared that if thier children played dungeons and dragons, they would be get caught up in fantasy and loose thier ambition for living in reality. It was one of the hoekier movies i've ever seen but i thought that it was way ahead of its time in predicting a virtual culture. What a cool field to get into--virtual culture.