Monday, May 09, 2011

Confusing Computers in the 29th Century

Confuse Computers by ~WillMcLean on deviantART

Another Star Saga illustration: Confuse Computers was an important offensive technique for the computers of the 29th century, which showed a marked resemblance to the computers of the late 1980s, when the game was produced. Confuse Enemy Computers was the technology of bamboozling the opposition hardware.

You might think that this simply showed lack of imagination on the part of the illustrator. In fact, it was a deliberately retro design choice, like Corinthian columns in the 20th century or Steampunk in the 21st. There was (or would be) a whole genre, Floppypunk, devoted to imaginative recreation of the Floppy Disk Era, just like Steampunk, only different.

Like Steampunk enthusiasts, Floppypunkers did not aim for literal recreation of the past. They tended to use floppy disks as belt buckles or epaulets, like steampunkers gluing nonfunctional gears to their hats. Realism wasn't the point, it was all about style. A Floppypunker convention would always feature an inordinate number of women dressed like Madonna, only with more cleavage. She was, after all, a well documented woman of the era.

It is remarkable how often the imaginative.recreation of an alternative past is indistinguishable from a plausible excuse to wear corsets as outerwear.

In the 29th century the hardware to hold a Turing capable A.I. could be lost in a good sneeze, and high quality displays are a few microns thick. Still, nobody wants to waste space, so the bulky retro monitor casings are mostly used to keep drinks cool.

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