Have you ever felt that way? Well I have, over the last couple days.
I love to play video games. My brother Mike got me Civilization 4 for Christmas, and I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t get it out of the box and really play it until March. I highly recommend both the game and having a brother that gets you the game for Christmas.
So, I’m playing this game thinking that we live in a science fiction movie. I’m 32 years old, and I guess I have to admit I’m a child of the 80’s. My first game console was an Atari 2800, and for the longest time I made the (controversial) point that games never really got better than that. Combat and Pitfall. Later, Super Mario on the Nintendo. These were classics.
But now I’m into World of Warcraftand Civilization, and I just can’t believe how sophisticated the graphics and gameplay of these games have become. And the interface is sophisticated and tight beyond what we could have dreamed of even a decade ago, let alone the 80’s. Check out this link a friend of mine sent me just a few days ago: Gaming Then and Now.
And it’s not just games… Watch an old movie, or some VHS-captured news story of the day, and the difference is astonishing. Fox News is a great example — computer generated art and text boxes flying everywhere on the screen, to the point that the news caster is only a small part of the presentation. And look at Microsoft Windows Vista … amazing packaging. All these things give me that Minority Report computer interface impression — the one they’ve been struggling to portray on the Sci Fi channel for years, and now it’s getting to the point where we’re in it every day.
And we haven’t even mentioned the idea that 9 year olds are carrying around cell phones, and I can watch my TV on my PDA, and my homepage is Google (where you can ask the all-powerful Star Trek-like computer in the sky whatever your heart desires, and it just tells you the answer), and we’re building our first space station, and … and … and … Gene Rodenberry would be proud.
So, where’s this all heading? From quantum physics to space elevators to virtual reality, I have to say I’m pretty intriqued. I also have to say that I wonder what the Sci-Fi channel’s going to do to keep making fiction, when every day Star Trek is closer to science FACT. Potential blog entries abound; I’m sure I’ll get to that. I already spewed my thoughts on geopolitics and their affect on technology here.
But in the meantime… I said it in 1986, and I’m saying it now … great time to be alive!
My biggest excitement on this front comes from the development of commercial space travel. I think pioneers like Burt Rutan are changing the face of space travel in as profound a way as the moon landings