By: DYLAN LEMERT
Though I’ve never been a hardcore gamer, receiving at Christmastime circa-1998 my first-ever videogame console (that turn-of-the-century wonder known as the Nintendo 64) will forever be a pivotal moment in my life.
Not because I still revere the N64 the same way I did when I was seven years-old (I ended up selling the system on a whim for $20 some years ago to my now-chagrin), but because, and I didn’t realize this until later, it was the moment in which my means of entertainment shifted from an analog to a primarily digital one.
Is this a roundabout way of saying my past Mario Kart prowess is the reason I now obtain the brunt of my entertainment through some form of technology? Not necessarily– technology just sort of rolled on whether any of us wished it or not.
But I am saying Mario Kart planted the first seedling ideas in my brain as to what it means to be entertained, and I don’t think that’s an acknowledgment that should be taken lightly.
Flash forward some 15-odd years, after the reign of the Nintendo 64, after Goldeneye and Rumble Paks (remember those?) have long gone the way of the buffalo, to a time where different corporations and newer technologies now rule the market.
These companies don’t simply want us to escape into a virtual world for a couple hours, only to unplug at our will and continue leading satisfied lives.
Instead, they want to be our sole source of comfort, a place where we can go to hide from the world, and to live there, even. To escape permanently if we wish.
This column attempts to come at an opportune time, next to the U.S. release of Sony’s Playstation 4 two weeks ago, and the global release of Microsoft’s Xbox One last week.
This twin-fire reveal of new consoles by game-dom’s two biggest players (no pun intended) also ushers in the domain of the all-in-one mentality.
Both systems promise to be the future, and, for the most part, to contain all our hopes and wishes and dreams.
The catch, as it’s always been, is that this future comes in a box with wires and motors.
This leaves me torn. I love technology, but I’ve always been reminded by folks older and wiser than myself not to make technology my life. And for better or for worse, it would seem Sony and Microsoft would like to do just that.
Admittedly, I’ve yet to get my hands on either system, as the Playstation 4’s and Xbox One’s $399 and $499 respective asking prices are currently too steep for me and my poor friends.
So maybe these new systems really are a picture of what’s to come, and will make good on their promises, and it’s simply that I don’t know it.