Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Computer Games of the Future (1981)


This holographic computer game of the future is from the 1981 book Tomorrow's Home by Neil Ardley.

The caption explains, "A home computer game of the future has solid images of spaceships that move in midair. These are holographic images produced by laser beams. The game is played with other people who also sit at their home computers and see the same images. Each player controls a ship and tries to destroy the other ships. Guess which player is winning!"

The entire text of this two-page spread appears below.
Your day in the future continues. It's not a school day, so you can do whatever you like. However, it's raining, so you can't play outside. Although scientists can now control the weather, this is done only in certain places to produce artificial climates that aid farming. Your home is not one of these places.

Even though everyone is busy and you're stuck at home on your own, you're still going to have an exciting and interesting day. After breakfast, you rush on to the living room. It has chairs and other furniture in new designs as well as some antiques like a twentieth-century digital clock and a push-button telephone. However, the room is dominated by a large viewscreen linked to the home computer.

You ask the computer to contact several friends, and they begin to appear on the screen. Soon you're linked into a worldwide group of people, all of whom can talk to and see each other. After chatting for a while, you decide to play some games together. As you can't agree on what to play, the computer makes up your minds for you. It gives you puzzles to do and devises quizzes, as well as all kinds of electronic games. The computer keeps the scores as you play against one another, and then it gives you games in which you all play the computer. You carry on until someone loses interest and tries to cheat for fun. The computer finds out and everyone laughs. Then it's time to break up the party and have lunch.

After lunch you decide to spend some time on your own at a hobby or craft you particularly enjoy. Making things of all kinds is easy with the computer. You design them on the screen of the terminal in your playroom, and then the computer operates a machine that constructs the objects in materials such as plastics. This system is very good for making your own clothes. You can dress up in all kinds of fantastic garments that you design yourself. To avoid waste, the objects and clothes can be fed back into the machine and the materials recycled or used again.

See also:
Future Arcade Games (1985)
Connections: AT&T's Vision of the Future (Part 3, 1993)
Virtual Reality (1980s-today)
Homework in the Future (1981)
Home Entertainment of the Future (1981)
Learning in 1999 A.D. (1967)

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Late 20th century digital clocks are so unique and stylish, I can't imagine how they wouldn't become the prized antiques of the future. I'm starting my collection today!

Anonymous said...

"You carry on until someone loses interest and tries to cheat for fun. The computer finds out and says 'lol pwned noob!!11'"

Anonymous said...

They got the holographic projection part wrong, but the interactivity part was spot-on.

Anonymous said...

"You ask the computer to contact several friends, and they begin to appear on the screen. Soon you're linked into a worldwide group of people, all of whom can talk to and see each other. After chatting for a while, you decide to play some games together. As you can't agree on what to play, the computer makes up your minds for you. It gives you puzzles to do and devises quizzes, as well as all kinds of electronic games. The computer keeps the scores as you play against one another, and then it gives you games in which you all play the computer. You carry on until someone loses interest and tries to cheat for fun."

For something written in 1981, they got that almost exactly right. It describes almost exactly what happens in online servies like xbox live and playstation network.

wwwwolf said...

Internet gaming, chatting, overabundance of different games, and even PunkBuster. Quite exciting this computer magic!

Well, holographic projections, no... and while it's possible to do CAD designs and send them to automated fabrication (and recycle the plastics), I don't think that's exactly a widespread hobby for kids. =)

And one BIG stereotype that everyone misses: Nowadays, video games are hardly just for kids =)

d.l said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thOxW19vsTg The future is now!