December 21st, 2009
It's you. Don't be alarmed, I'm merely transcending time and space by writing to you from 10 years into the future. You see, you live in Los Angeles (yep) and work for this website called G4tv.com, and you're in charge of coming up with these highly creative, informative and humorous features. You are doing...okay...at your job. The week I am writing this, you're kicking off a series of features on the past ten years of gaming, which for you means the next ten years of gaming. The articles are going reasonably well, but I wanted to give you...er, us...a heads up on a few things.
If my calculations are correct, you should be receiving this letter the morning after Minnesota beats Green Bay on Monday Night Football, essentially eliminating your beloved Packers from the 1999 NFC playoff picture.
One day, Brett Favre will win in the Metrodome. He'll put up ridiculous numbers as he leads his team to the top of the NFC North, re-energizing the fans and getting another legitimate shot at a Super Bowl victory. The circumstances surrounding this, however, you are not prepared to know. But as you stare at your autographed Sports Illustrated cover from the 1997 Super Bowl, just keep this one thing in mind: things change.
What I'm about to reveal to you concerning the last ten years of gaming is meant to be helpful and informative as you finish college and begin your career as a “guy who writes about games for a living” (we still haven't settled on the “games journalist” title). Some of it you may find shocking and unbelievable, but trust me, it's completely true. I only lie to my present self.
Right now, you've been playing Soul Calibur with your roommate on the Dreamcast with a wired controller. Your TV is 27” diagonal, about 10 feet deep and weighs three tons. Your S-Video cable, you've recently determined, is more than satisfactory.
Ten years from now, you'll be playing Soul Calibur IV on something called the “Xbox 360” with a wireless controller. Your television is 60” diagonal, only about a foot deep, and has a higher resolution than your current computer monitor. You're playing the game against someone in Denmark, and he's playing as Darth Vader.
Everything has changed. In a couple of years, Sega will be pulling the plug on the Dreamcast (you'll make out like a bandit on the clearance sales), and they'll start making really bad Sonic games. Nintendo will turn The Legend of Zelda into a cartoon, Metroid into a first-person shooter, and Mario into a mobile garden hose...and then they'll turn everything back to how it was. Microsoft's going to put out a big ugly box of a console that you won't like at first, but it'll grow on you until their next one comes out and they win you over. That one will give you meaningless points for playing games, but your friends won't shut up about them. Sony won't be in first place anymore, because Nintendo's going to...actually, I'll let that one be a surprise.
You've got three guesses.
You'll own three consoles in 2009, and all of them will be connected to the Internet. Two of them will let you stream movies and music from your computer, one of them will play something called “Blu-Ray,” which refutes your current belief that you don't need anything better than DVD.
You'll be able to download games -- legally -- to your hard drive, sometimes even the day they come out in stores. Oh yeah, your consoles will have hard drives, too, on which you can store music, pictures, games, and newly-released movies. The ones you haven't already streamed over the Internet, anyway.
Hey, that Game Boy Color you have is pretty cool. 56 simultaneous colors is awesome. You know what's more awesome? Carrying around a portable N64 in your pocket. One that's got a camera, built-in wireless networking, and two screens – one of which is a touch pad.
Apologies for melting your brain.
I remember that it was right about now you started thinking about learning to play guitar. How about a plastic one that can play your favorite album, Pearl Jam's “Ten”, as a game? And the bass, drums, and vocals, too...
(That's another thing, you totally fall in love with karaoke.)
I could keep blowing your mind, but I know you've got a lot of post-finals sleep to catch up on, so I'll wrap it up with some vague advice. Start saving your money for 2001, 2004, 2007, and 2010. I know you're stoked for Chrono Cross, but you might want to readjust your expectations. Get the black GameCube instead of the purple one, and don't buy the broadband adapter. Keep the beard. Be patient and wait for the first PlayStation 3 price drop. Start studying up on media streaming technology and stop buying so many DVDs. Take a sheet of paper and write down how you think The Matrix plot might end, because whatever you come up with will be better than what happens. Don't sign up for that gym membership when you get to San Francisco (yep), because you'll never go. When you can, buy stock in Google. And keep at that guitar – the real one.
Me/You, from 2009
(P.S. That thing with the girl right now. Don't worry about it, you'll be fine.)
(P.P.S. I'm totally jealous you get to watch Lost again for the first time!)