Monday, July 27, 2009

Find that program and have him de-rezzed!

The first real indication I had as a kid that geek culture could be a lonely thing was when the movie TRON came out. I thought TRON was amazing; I loved it. I was just starting to become a minor-league computer nerd, and at the time, computers weren't nearly as omnipresent as they are now. To use a computer I'd go with my father to the college, where we'd use terminals hooked up to the mainframe; there I'd dink around and play Colossal Cave and experiment with programming in BASIC and whatnot. Computers in public schools, though? This was rare -- very rare, actually. As in, the purchase of a single computer for a single classroom would be taken up at a school board meeting. There were kids in my class who were years away from ever even touching a computer. Strange times, those.

So when TRON came along, I remember being the only kid in my grade who actually saw the thing. This befuddled me for a while: after all, every kid saw Star Wars! Every kid saw Raiders of the Lost Ark! Every kid saw ET, and Star Trek, and whatever else there was. But TRON? Nope. Nobody saw that one. Oddly enough, the other kids who were only vaguely aware of the existence of the movie were certainly aware of the video game. On the rare occasion when I'd get to go into an arcade (my parents weren't wild about giving me fistfuls of quarters to go into those dark dens of video temptation, for some reason), I'd watch some kid play TRON:

KID: I'm gonna do the lightcycles next! That's my favorite part of the game!

ME: Yeah. That part of the movie is so cool! (I don't remember what the slang was back then -- "rad", maybe? Or did "rad" come along later?)

KID:: Movie? Oh yeah, this game's from a movie. Huh.

And so it would go.

Cut to now, though: TRON's reputation has improved over the years. It's remembered by many a geek now as a seminal event, and it's not even a bad movie, either -- a bit awkward in places, and in a couple of others it's hilariously dated, but still, TRON still tickles the strings my geek heart:

So now, they're doing a sequel: TRON Legacy. Right now I'm kind of excited about this, especially on the basis of a pretty amazing trailer that's making the rounds of the Interweb right now. Yeah, trailers rarely reflect the quality of a movie, but...well, WOW. (Video embedding is disabled, so click over to see it.) Wow, those lightcycles have sure come a long way since 1982...and I love the visual homage to the Pod Race from The Phantom Menace that's in there.

What am I hoping for? Well...the original was nifty and computer-esque without being full of dark, dank and cynical expression like The Matrix. I hope for that, at least. And I want lots of lightcycles and Recognizers and program identity discs and all that jazz. I can't wait!


SK Waller said...

My oldest son, who is your age, loved TRON too. I was relieved. I'd rather give him money for the arcades because it meant that I would no longer be stepping on those damned Star Wars action figures at night in the dark. OUCH!

jason said...

I saw that trailer earlier today, and I'm really torn... the FX are awesome, and I can accept that what we're seeing in it is a more sophisticated version of The System that has grown and been upgraded as real-world computing has advanced. But as I seem to ask a lot lately, do we really need to revisit this movie? And I worry about the "dark, dank and cynical" angle, too... the Flynn we see there at the end doesn't seem very heroic to me, and I'd rather remember him as the idealistic User who saved the world than a weary and dissolute recluse who went back into The System to play god.

As always, I guess we'll see...

Call me Paul said...

10 print " Hi Kelly."
20 goto 10