A bit of Nostalgia

By QueST

Often, when I don't know too much what to make or when I have blues, I re-read my computer magazine collection. Oh, of course, I don't have him integral of the TILT or the JOYSTICK but sufficiently to take care a good moment... And, as always, the the oldest number reading awakens in me of the strange feelings, or even nostalgic... Also, yesterday, when I had finished to re-read for n-th time the totality of magazines, I surprised myself to mumble a very melancholic sentence: " Nothing will more ever be as before.... I don't know if it is the fact to have touched to him data processing to his/her/its beginnings, with my good old Coleco Vision and his/her/its brilliant games (PitFall, Donkey Kong, Looping...) and the legendary VCS 2600 (with Space Invaders)... or if it is my side economist / sociologist who walks in task of bottom, but this reading made me think!

In the beginning, games didn't rest on the technical prowesses (the VCS with his/her/its 4Ko of RAM was far some present machines, it is the less that one can say!) but on two other interests: on the one hand the interest of the script (to the time all was so to speak new: it was present game bases and all was topic to wonders...) and of others part scenariis that one made themselves, in our head, to palliate the technical insufficiencies... And what scenariis! One imagined the noise of reactors, noises of missiles, one imagined histories of which one was heroes. These games were worth of as much more that they triggered more or less in us of histories raving, more passionate... Everything that missed to games, one brought him ourselves.

Henceforth, games are beautiful (soft euphemism!) and interesting with the professional script writers (Spielberg / Lucas...). Of truths Hollywood spectaculars, as the shows Wing Commander IV. All to please! And yet, something lack. One doesn't have anything anymore to almost bring to these games perfect, and it is can be exactly that the problem. The magic of the imagination doesn't play anymore... The video game passed of the stadium of the passion to the stadium of the reason.

In the beginning of him data processing, constructors were numerous, them standards faced themselves, disappeared more ephemeral way. This multitude, this anarchy probably discouraged quite a lot of people, what makes that during the first years, there were of them tops and of them bottoms and that him data processing remained a world of enthusiasts... These only swore by the technical quality of machines because they already projected themselves in the future, they imagined games of the future... It was years of gold of him data processing, them big discoveries, the first vocations... The beginning of a reign!

But, when constructors became rarer, when the choice became more restricted, him data processing became less anarchical, more cernables, steadier... more popular! It was the democratization of him data processing, in the beginning of years 80. Some glorious machines appeared: the Apple 2, the IBM P.C (!!), the C64, the Atari ST, the Amiga... So much that purchasers only looked at the technical capacities of machines, betting on futures exceptional games, all went for best: them Mac, ST and another one Amiga developed itself at full speed. The PC was considered then solely like a work tool.

But, the rupture was some only more violent: rested on their laurels, ATARI, COMMODORE and APPLE don't transfer to arrive the radical change in the attitude of purchasers: enthusiasts, still existing, became minority facing the majority of beginners that wanted to discover this new world fascinating. Her technique becoming more and more pointed, she/it was overlooked by the visible result by all, of the enthusiast to the middle badger,: the existing program quality and not to come. One didn't want to dream more but to consume in succession: the dreamer had become Epicurean! This change was fatal pioneers' of him data processing, that believed to the eternal dreams again and without limits of consumers... But it was without counting on her logic of market.

As noticed him Schumpeter (readers of the Toxic-Mag must know this name if they read my texts... Do I recognize certainly that this kind of economic theories can appear chiantes to some [the majority?] readers... But here is the concrete application of it...), the capitalistic system lives thanks to an essential character: him entreprenneur-innovative. In the event that some would not have read my texts (mmh?), do I summarize to understand well either to cool their memory: the innovative entrepreneur, who dreams unlimited wealths, takes risks (if on top of it the conjuncture is favorable) while putting on the market a " innovation " (that is to say the commercial version of a " invention ")... He/it imagines and constructs a new market, hoping to win a lot of money. He/it is to the big economic cycle origin (Kondratieff [50 years]) that make progress the world. He/it is besides custom to say that him data processing represents the last industrial revolution in date.

Thus, these big visionaries that are Steve Jobs, Jack Tramiel, Nolan Bushnell and Co (no, not Bill Gâte $! Him he/it makes part of her secondary wave... ; -) constructed a new market while searching for the new wealths. But, as made him notice Schumpeter, innovations arrive by " cluster ": a main innovation and of others, minor (Spoil how!) who ensues some. Thus, the disk, the CD... make secondary innovation parts ensuing of this main market that is the data processing.

The problem it is that these visionaries don't stop dreaming wealths and markets carriers. However, still according to Schumpeter, an innovation that works causes lust and the copy: after saturation, the market declines (25 years of growth and 25 years of depression = 50 years of a Kondratieff). If you want, Tramiel, Jobs Co and imagine the next main innovation phase. They always have several decades of advance... They move away of her logic of market during this period of shift: they remain visionaries whereas them others make themselves administrators. Them American invent, them Japanese develop: this sentence is representative enough of the present situation. He/it is besides interesting to underline that Schumpeter (again him!) had imagined this state of fact: the administrative takes the step on the visionary. Disappointments of Nolan Bushnell (CDTV...), of Tramiel (Falcon...) are the concrete proof of it.

It is why the most mythical societies of data processing (pioneers) have the pain to survive: they are not made to manage but to create. The fact that the argument of sale is not anymore the technical quality of the machine, his/her/its technological advance... but the quality of soft is them fatal. Today, the power doesn't belong to constructors anymore but to publishers; however these are very more administrative than visionaries: they don't take any more risk without being sure to get a good profit... That that incompatible enough!

It is why the market froze; only the PC can fill criterias of the fact of his/her/its philosophy: one can improve him by small tips, prices lower quickly and he/it is compatible... Certainly, blemishes are numerous but he/it fills the necessary conditions to his/her/its survival, that that satisfied the majority of purchasers. Of course, when a machine leaves at one of the " fallen " kings, it is always a big moment, everybody starts dreaming, one becomes again passionate... But, after, all falls again and, finally, one becomes again administrator. Watch the case of her Jaguar, it is completely that! Nothing that the name of Atari, in spite of (numerous) blunders, continue to attract crowds except publishers. From where the successive failures. However, it is not necessary to forget that the business of Sunnyvale was the first to implant a DSP in a computer general public (the NeXT not entering in this category, I think that everybody will admit him...), it was also the first to make a portable color (Lynx), the first to take out a console " next generation ", even early of two generations (64-bit)... And today, strength is to note that it is current currency: in all machines one finds some DSP... In the same way, Atari was one of the first to finalize a reader of CD for his/her/its range ST, and this there are more than ten years well!

Besides, he/it is interesting to note that Jack Tramiel always considered the CD ROM as ephemeral because too slow: he/it thought that in the future units of storage would be cards type cards of credits very rapids (Card style of PC Engine). One will see well if he/it is right... In fact, he/it is as interesting to note that he/it recentered his/her/its activities on JTS, that makes units of storage... Humph... I make myself can be ideas but...

But close there this bracket.

Today, therefore, them visionaries face administrators: the first have some brilliant ideas, them others the necessary funds and the notoriety (close to publishers). He/it is certain that sooner or later them administrators are going to progress to throw back sales and to continue to win money, but it won't be more that a minor innovation... That of lost time...

But him data processing is not a case to part; it is in a way it logic of the market that wants it. Businesses that imagined the car, the aviation, the electrical products... have all nearly extinct. Hardest for them is to change, to change their philosophy,: of visionaries they must accept to become administrative and to either stagnate of the less to advance to the step, to the rhythm of consumers...

He/it remains at least to them founders the pleasure to represent such how in annals and dictionaries... One always regrets not to have followed such or such in a project judged too ambitious, because one says himself that he/it could have changed quite a lot of things... And then, one always wonders that that such or such, if he/it had been again there, would have made, imagined, created... Those that one regrets the more, to the bottom, that are pioneers because they made us dream and continued somewhere again. Also, a part to two of Space Invaders or Fight on VCS 2600 wakes up in us of feelings, pictures, sensations... that one had never noticed or had simply forgotten... And, such Proust soaking his/her/its madeleine in coffee and reviewing his/her/its childhood, one relives the past, one comes back to origins and one apprécit henceforth kindness of this time bygone where all was only magic.

Voilà why, of time to others, I reread all my magazines of data processing: not to forget and to dream once again...

To dream to what would have been able not to either make itself/themselves make itself/themselves...

Lao Tseu said " that a dream that remains a dream remains a dream "... Certainly...

But nothing will more ever be as before...

I wake up in start. The piece is dived in darkness and the screen of the television sends back me the picture of Space Invaders. My hands are always tensed on the joystick of the VCS 2600.

I throw a squint to the digital screen of the video recorder: 2h16 of the morning... The silence is complete in the house; everybody sleeps. One would even say that the time stopped...

I take little by little my minds and feel won by a strange feeling, mixture at a time of sadness and satisfaction. As an interior fullness... Something of reassuring and restful but of which the picture dims as I take my minds, that I come back to the reality; as when one has just revisited a lost Paradise, engraved to the thin forever, melts his/her/its memory...

But, henceforth, a thing is sure and reassure me: the magic always operates...

2 A.M.

(Bayley / Gers / Harris)

I get in from work at 2 a.m.
And sit down with a beer
turn on late night TV
And then wonder why I'm here
It's meaningless and trivial
And it washes over me
And once again I wonder
Is this all there is for me
Here I am again
Look at me again
Here I am again
On my own
Trying hard to see
What there is for me
Here I am again
On my own
Life seens so pathetic
I wish I could leave it all behind
This canvas chair, this bed,
These walls that fall in on my mind
Hold on for something better
That just drags you through the dirt
Do you just let go or carry on
And try to take the hurt
Here I am again
Look at me again
Here I am again
On my own
Trying hard to see
What there is for me
Here I am again
On my own

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