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Relationships between fun and the computer business
Bushnell N. Communications of the ACM39 (9):31-37,1996.Type:Article
Date Reviewed: Apr 1 1997

Bushnell describes his view of the future of the computing business as driven by the development of computer games. His basic view is that computer games, though started just for fun, are likely to affect the future usefulness of the computer in human society. A historical discussion reveals that the computer game industry has stimulated the advancement of many key computing technologies, including real-time graphics, graphical user interfaces, input devices (trackballs and joysticks), larger memory, and faster processors.

The author then deduces that the same driving force will affect our lives in the future. The examples given include new ways for us to manipulate around desk, couch, kitchen, bedroom, automobile, store, bank, and so on. Also, there may be artificial (electronic) pets, better home control that allows playing games with the house, and a “virtual room” that provides the virtual reality effect in a room.

The author says that the future development of computer games can cause “serious consequences” similar to those of automobiles and airplanes. While the technologies and ideas described are innovative and not unreachable (the virtual room is said to be affordable in the near future), it seems debatable whether they are truly game industry technologies and ideas. Furthermore, it is debatable whether the virtual room idea (or any idea described) is as serious, or indispensable, as the automobile is to our daily lives. The statement seems exaggerated.

Reviewer:  Y. Tung Review #: CR120359 (9704-0311)
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