​The Video Games Of Today, Viewed From The Future

Illustration for article titled ​The Video Games Of Today, Viewed From The Future

Video games often feel so very current; it's all happening right now. Every year, everything is different! But... how will this all look when viewed from the distant remove of the far future?


Last week during the Game Developers Conference "Rants" panel, games researcher/designer/critic Ian Bogost gave an interesting mini-talk in which he imagined himself as a man in the future, reading a study about the game developers of the early 21st century. It was a really cool talk, and now he's had the whole thing published in full at The Atlantic.

A sample:

Perhaps the most misunderstood of lechery laborers were the creators of games, known as "developers." They were simple folk subjected to ghastly, repetitive work.

Ungroomed and clothed in rags, developers were assigned to pens hidden within ordinary offices. These firms called themselves "studios" to draw an association with popular art and entertainment of the era. Often they even occupied the same buildings as respectable enterprises like law firms and agribusiness consultancies.

Working long before sustenance powders, developers were easily seduced by appeals to their physical urges. Overseers plied them with sugars and salts during the day and forced them to engorge on extravagant meals at night. Shifts extended for days at a time. Developers were even required to worship in their cells, which were adorned with plush and vinyl totems of figures from terrestrial myths of the era.

Initially, these works were limited to propaganda meant to acclimate young men to governmentally-sponsored global violence. However, after the languorous wars of the first two millennia had failed at forcible depopulation, the task of social progress was handed over to a tribe of patrons called "venture capitalists."

The rest of the talk, in Bogost's typical way, disguises a critique of the current state of mainstream and independent game development with a chilly bit of science fiction.

How might our descendants look back at our current age of video game creation? Good question. More pressingly: What is a "diversion pill," and can I get in on the alpha?


Scooby Doo

With the impending death of the Oculus, I hope it is replaced by someone developing Holodecks.

In that future I imagine the current generation of gaming will be nothing more than a footnote skipped over between the first consoles created and the death of VR played out through Facebook ownership where advert spamming and microtransactions plus destruction of future privacy will take place. Unless Facebook also buy the creators of the Holodeck then gaming is truly screwed. :0

I am allowed to be pessimistic after such shocking news...I doubt in the long term I will be far off what is to come. If Facebook bought Holodeck creators you will probably find virtual Nike or McDonald stores in that medieval fantasy world you hoped to visit followed by a entry fee to each building you enter.