The future frontier isn’t filled with all the creative exciting nuance we hoped it would be.
In the human experience, there is quite a gulf between the way we want things, and the way they actually are. We find through trial and error. This same truth keeps cropping up, whether in regards to space exploration or a relationship. Some say it is because the excitement isn’t there, or it died. Some say we haven’t reached the future frontier.
I say it never was. Because expectations are usually off base.
That doesn’t mean life is dull, it means all the science fiction we have read is just that – fiction. Robots are perfect for space exploration for example. It is dangerous, but also very drab, but there is nothing that would make a robot ‘go crazy’. The only way that could happen is to program it that way in the first place. Space is droll due to lacking much that is interesting or exciting for anyone other than a scientist. He or she can coo over a rock for hours. Space is perfect for robots – they perform dangerous repetitive, boring tasks perfectly.
The freezing environment of a Jupiter moon for example, has little to show but some harsh chemicals and rocks That is no place for a human. And, there are no actual aliens or monsters there anyway. Sure – you might want to take pictures, but those temps will convince you otherwise.
I might add here as a sidebar robots are not what we hoped they would be either. After having frustrating discussions with them on the phone, I am sure you will attest to that too. My point here is the current ‘future’ (now) is not at all what we hoped, imagined or dreamed long ago. It’s actually a bit boring. No flying cars, no superpowers, no immortality, no holographic displays, no planets to zip off to. Why, we cannot even go on a space cruise via a Princess Spaceliner. We are barely even getting going with cars that drive themselves. I am quite sure someone will find a way to make that dull, too. It seems an obvious pattern.
So, lets say we manage to invent a way to travel umpteen million light years and actually find a planet far, far away with people on it. Now the problem becomes our history and our track record of claiming we found it, planting a flag, and telling everyone they all speak, think, talk and believe the wrong way. We can educate them and stay interminably and claim we are “protecting it.” I think you can see where I am going with this.
It is unlikely they would be too different from us. The universe has been quite reticent to have much fantasy or story material within it that our dreams are made of. Most of the old legendary monsters were just badly put together dinosaurs anyway. They were not assembled according to what they actually were, but rather – someone’s worst fears. So, likely all those “space” people will be exactly like us. We will be able to do little more than loudly announce we are their “neighbors.” Honestly, even if there is such thing as a 8 armed radioactive monster alien octopus, she is likely an underpaid, bored massage therapist. It’s just the way the universe works.
Boring stuff. I’m sure someone can jazz it up.
Games as the Future Frontier
And that is why games hold the future frontier. Games are creative, expansive frontiers filled with ideas, imagination and new dimensions that ARE interesting, amusing and exciting. All of the many intriguing possibilities we dream of to explore, contact or combat are made from our dark fears, dreams, imaginations and weaknesses…perfect for a game or story. And, if you study national fears historically, I’m sure you will find my hypothesis bears this out. People weren’t exactly concerned about radioactive monsters during the rise of Rome, for example.
Story-based games are likely to grow and develop in a number of ways. Yet, I suspect there will always be a portion of games without any real ideas, and just go the retread tire route. There is plenty of room for greatness, for stories or amusement that will challenge and change us, which in effect is likely the purpose of a good story (or amusement) anyway. It’s not all just about the fun you know.
The one weakness of a story based game currently is the rigid story, path and boundaries, rather than a world fabricated for living and experience. These limitations make playing and the overall experience tedious and tiresome, always reminding the player that they are “in a game.” Sort of like being hit over the head with a crock-pot. Repeatedly.
Science sometimes gets confused and lost, when better options are readily available. The human race doesn’t need to recreate real dinosaurs to experience them. Chances are that is just another “killer bee” invasion of stupidity waiting to happen. If we want dragons, or dinosaurs or aliens – they are already within us, clamoring to get out. Do you really want to travel to new universes or dimensions? Don’t wait for futuristic technology. Start with books, games, and yourself. We can explore are plenty of new, undiscovered worlds. And, we can only guess what a game will be like in 50 years.