We use metaphors to introduce unfamiliar technologies: the horseless carriage, the electric candle. Analogies place novel developments within existing structures of meanings and relationships. For digital natives, the online realms may become more familiar than aspects of the ‘real’ world. Warfare is like a first-person shooter, New York is one of many Sim Cities, and peer groups are best understood in terms of how they relate on Facebook. When analogies are transferred from the virtual to the physical world, the traditional flow of meaning is reversed. The metaphor has boomeranged.
At the beginning of the digital era, several metaphors from the physical world were transferred to the digital environment in order to make, otherwise incomprehensible, technology understandable. The digital trashcan from the classic Mac OS is a well-known example. It’s just so much easier to drag your documents into the…
Tomb Raider, featuring superwoman Lara Croft, was one of the most successful video games of its generation. Although many computer games had previously been created as spin-offs of Hollywood blockbusters, Tomb Raider was the first game to be taken as inspiration for a movie. The studio had to find an…
In ancient times, heroes like Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus explored unknown territories of the globe. The climax of these terrestrial explorations was reached at the beginning of the space age, when astronauts captured the entire earth in a single picture. Today, world travel has become a teenage tourist activity,…
The Lascaux cave conserves some of the first images created by man, dating back to around 15,000 BC. The depiction of large animals on the cave walls is considered as a preparation for the hunt; one of the earliest simulations conducted by man. Needless to say, the role of simulations…
In 2000 on a Japanese auction site, 20 real live Pokemon Pikachus were offered for 925 million dollars. Roughly translated: We capture each one after your order, so we guarantee its health! These are Pikachus plucked straight from the natural Pikachu forest, so they’re of much higher quality than ones…
In a boomeranged world, side-scrolling is more logical than three dimensions
At the start of the digital era, metaphors from everyday life were used – in what was then the new computer environment – in order to make otherwise incomprehensible technology acceptable. Terms such as the digital highway and the desktop metaphor with its windows, folders, buttons and trashcans made the computer world accessible to almost everyone.…
'Are the advanced ranking systems found in Internet forums perhaps also applicable to the democratic voting process? Can I select a new avatar for myself at the plastic surgeon’s office?'
Koert van Mensvoort
First Person Shooter Disease
Duke Nukem’s disease is a scary one. Gene brings you the story of the life of a First Person Shooter.
Jayne Gackenbach, a professor of psychology and sociology at Grant MacEwan College, Canada has completed research which claims that video games alter the way the brain works. Gackenbach has been researching dreams for almost 30 years, and in 1997 she polled a group of her students on the effects gaming had on their dreams, with inconclusive results.…Read more
Digital Trashcan in a Physical Office
The Swedish design group Front brings the principle of the digital computerdesktop trashcan back to the physical world. When your trashcan basket is full it bulges outward. When half-full, it is in permanent motion. The internal basket pushes downward while the external slats try to maintain an upright position.…Read more
Avatarian Graveyard supplies a service for virtual addicts – people who excessively or compulsively spend time in virtual environments – to help them reintegrate into everyday society.…Read more