Being someone with a livelihood that’s invested in historical and cultural institutions, I was quite pleased to stumble into a museum of sorts during a recent session with Mass Effect: Andromeda. The spot is called the Cultural Exchange Center. It’s tucked away in an unnoticeable corner of the Nexus, a massive space station and central hub of the game. The center, while not vast, contains a number of interactive holographic displays of items, such as the Citadel, and races: human, Krogan, Asari, Turian, and Salarian. The room appears to be a work-in-progress, as there are a couple blank displays, as well as one that will likely hold the history of Ryder, the Pathfinder. (Though that’s only a guess.) With the species displays, players are presented with a general greeting from each hologram, and then may choose to learn more about the species’ home world or history. Being the goofy person that I am, I chose to spend some time listening to as much information as each display would give. I summarily found my jaw on the floor each time a display when over its races’ history.
Everything old is new again to somebody, somewhere. While plenty of inventions get their 15 minutes (if that) of fame and are never heard from again, some things find a bit more staying power. In this Geek Force Network article, I extolled the virtues of material goods from the recent past that someday might find new life in the world of “retro tech.”
(And to complete the story that I started here about my niece wanting a typewriter for Christmas — she got one! And she’s already used it to type her first letter — typing paper, ribbon, clackity keys, and all. Amazing.)
My pre-teen niece recently celebrated another birthday. Prior to the festivities, I asked her what she was hoping to get.
“A typewriter!” came the enthusiastic response.
Taken aback, I paused. “Like… a computer?”
“No…a typewriter,” she repeated as if I had become deaf, and dumb.
“Oh. A typewriter. But why?” I queried.
She didn’t skip a beat. “Because they are cool.”
Still, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the image of an young, modern girl sitting down to formulate a document via and old-fashioned typewriter, but what did I know. The fact that she even knew what a typewriter was floored me. But it became a strangely proud moment as I considered “hey, my niece knows what a typewriter is! Take that iPad society!”
It also got me thinking about the notion of “future retro,” which I might have just made up or might actually…
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