Wednesday, May 9, 2012

We Need to Talk: Future Wars

    We Need to Talk is back! This time, I thought I'd take some time to talk about the future as according to Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.

    The new trailer for the upcoming sequel to one of the most popular games in recent history showed off the fact that it will take place in the future. The problem is the future showcased seems to be lacking... what's the word... oh ya, creativity. What are the big future inventions? Fancier helicopters. Computers on our wrists. Unmanned drones. Ooooh, can't wait to get my hands on those crazy contraptions. Granted the game only takes place 13 years into the future, but then what's the point? Things have just gone from 2.0 to 3.0. Slightly better versions of things we have now. How is that worth taking the trip to the future.
    And it's not just Call of Duty. Recently, Hollywood seems to have lost track of what made the future so cool. Sure, we have the classic flying cars and robots, but what happened to all the cool inventions, like Back to the Future Part II's hoverboards and self-lacing shoes? Or everything from 2001: A Space Odyssey? Why are we making our future realistic? When I think of the future, I think of crazy things, like guns that turn people into sand or a car that can teleport (Granted, that does kinda negate it being a car). I would love a game that did crazy things like that.
    Not all of Hollywood is lost on this though. However, most of the really cool futures seem to be on TV now. Most recently, though not necessarily the future, Eureka has had tons of cool inventions, like this week's episode about a free-thinking fireball. And of course, how can we talk about cool future without talking about Futurama? Every single episode has 3 or 4 things I want to have right now. Like the oracle police station. Or Bender. I'd like a personal Bender.
    Most likely, the lack of unique futures comes from that fact that everything in Hollywood now needs to have The Dark Knight's gritty realism in order for it to be "good". Just slap Avatar's fancy 3D on it. That's future enough. Right? Hopefully, the success of The Avengers, which had tons of the goofy, but still serious craziness that I like to see in stories about the future, will bring back some of the fun we used to have back in the 80s and 90s.
    But maybe the realism is coming from the disappointment that most of what we were "promised" in movies like Back to the Future Part II or 2001 never came about. No flying cars. No hoverboards. No space travel to Venus. We don't want to make more promises for things that might not get made. So we will make promises for things that will definitely happen. Can't we put all of the broken promises behind us. Dream a little bigger. Who cares if it might not happen? The fact that it could is all that matters.
    So really, all I'm asking for is to put more thought into the futures we see and play. Less of the "It's like now but better" and more of the "Yes, that is skateboard that shoots missiles". Let the future be fun again. Not realistic. I want to be transported to a place I can literally only dream of. Not to a place where my computer doesn't need a monitor. Actually, that be kinda cool.

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