Orphaned Computers & Game Systems

Vol. II, Issue 5    August 1998


Confessions of a Young Obsessive

by Chris Federico


You want to know what I did over my summer vacation? C'mon, Teach'. It's 1982. Can't you people come up with something original?

Okay, fine. Here we go. My name is Chris. I'm 10 years old. I'm going to be your least attentive student this year. This is because the world around me has transformed itself. The concrete walls and tiled floors of Marie Hughes Elementary have become circuited corridors inside an electronic world I fly across instead of locker-lined hallways I walk down. My head is constantly filled with images from a new entertainment medium that's gotten into my psychological metabolism as if I were made for it: The Video Game. The monitors that connect my world to these new universes are not coin-op screens or television tubes; they're windows. These places may as well exist in our physical reality, as far as I'm concerned.

Places from stand-ups I have yet to master zoom past me as I walk by something as formerly mundane as a jungle gym (the Tempest tubes), a large playground sandbox (full of asteroids, of course) or even one of these awkward little desktops (the Qix playfield). Get my drift? I am not here. Here is dull. I hate being a little kid. I hate not being able to DO things, y'know? I want to explore this other universe for the rest of my life, because I'm the hero there. There, I can find things previously reserved to my imagination. I can DO things there.

In fact, I have a new thing I want to do. I want to make video games. I want to be a programmer. This is because of Tron, a movie I saw over the summer that imbedded the Life-Is-a-Video-Game ethic into my mind even deeper as soon as I saw that a programmer could talk to one of his programs or game elements by typing something wonderfully mysterious and arcane like REQUEST ACCESS TO CLU45769 on an excitingly glowing screen. Can you relate to how COOL that is, Miz Educator? Or are you stuck in the textbooks?

Flynn, the main character, gets sucked into the collective digital world and gets to interact with the walking, talking programs that he and his friends created! WOW!

I've been sucked in myself, so when you smile, sweetheart, you're not the friendly teacher. I see behind that smile. You're sick of kids. I mean, you've GOTTA be, at your age. The main function of your kind seems to be to detract my attention away from the things I really love to fill my head with banal crap that will prepare me to be a good little drone. So that's not a real smile to me. No, you're that facetious King of the robots, Evil Otto. And you must be annihilated.

Sorry. I'll get hold of myself. I have this problem -- everything I see that revolves or spins in one way or another is the MCP from that film, and everything laid out in a grid fashion is one of the electronic surfaces that Flynn and Tron walk.

Why am I trying to get you to identify with any of this? Never mind, okay? I can't remember what I did this summer. Make something up. I don't care about the grade. We Star Commanders don't have to worry about things like grades. -- CF