The Houdini thing below is having its first protoplaytest in a couple of weeks. We’ll see how that goes. But there’s one other project I’m excited about that I forgot to mention. It’s about war journalism in the era of the citizen journalist, the blogger. The date is 15 years from now. The civil war has entered your town. Some of your friends took up arms. You took up a cellphone camera and a secure server. The inspirations are Max Headroom and DMZ. The concept’s got a lot to be worked out, but most of the game will likely have to do with dealing with information suppression and figuring out how to make and fight propaganda.
In the interest of that, check out the war reporter action figure pictured at the top of this post. Think about how cool it is that there’s an action figure who comes with a camera and laptop. Notice that you can stick different logos on the camera to subtly distinguish your perspective on the war and its reporting.
When I was in school, there were two things that I was told made America the best country in the world: we’d never waged a war on anyone aggressively (which was already easily debatable at the time, but still actually debatable and not a transparent lie) and you couldn’t be imprisoned without the due process of arrest, accusation, speedy trial, and conviction.
We were told that this is because the Constitution of the United States is a flexible but inviolable document subject to representative review and judicial interpretation that stemmed from that due process.
So, let’s take count:
- Unjust, unprovoked, and morally bankrupt war? You betcha.
- Lack of due process? Holy shit.
So, this is designed to get terrorists, right? And does it define what a terrorist is, and how we can make sure that we’ve got one when we do?
Well, we’re not allowed to know.
After getting Burt Rutan to finally get his spacecraft flying after dropping hints for a decade, the X-Prize organization is turning its all-enabling gaze to the Space Elevator. What’s interesting about this is not just the ambient interest in the Space Elevator and its nature as a bridge to the rest of the universe; this is citizen space exploration. “Space is a place, not a program,” as they say.
Imagine a world where these things are all over the place. Where taking an elevator to space is like a cruise, where manufacturing is done in orbit and you can just go up there and check out the facilities, where the Moon is a matter of time, not billions of dollars, away.
This is the universe next door.
Over at BusinessWeek (of all things), there’s an interview with Gary Swisher, “Vice President of Wheels Design” at Mattell, which puts him in charge of the Hot Wheels, Matchbox, and Tyco lines of car and car-like toys. He says some stuff that I think is pretty neat:
In the old days we would introduce technology for the sake of technology. Today’s kids are not impressed by technology—it’s just a given… Having technology is not the feature. The magic that it brings to the toy is the feature.
Well, rock on! Couple that with this comment:
The biggest thing we grapple with is exciting a kid’s imagination. Toys are the tools of imagination.
He also points out that video games have their own value — friendly competition, primarily, but imagination is not among the things they encourage. I think he’s right on about that. Man, I hope the dude’s right. Coupled with The Long Tail, this is a pretty optimistic view of the future of media.