Something happened in the mid-’80s that forever shaped the way I thought video games would be when I got older. And that something was this scene from the Japanese animated series Macross.
Screened in the West as the first chapter of Robotech, this sequence shows a video game arcade of the future as imagined by the show’s creators in 1982. That future was 2009-10, so this is nice and timely!
I love how arcades are still not only deeply relevant, but a hub of the entertainment industry, attracting crowds of people of all ages and professions, as well as both genders. They’re even a great place to meet hot alien chicks!
Note also the fact that the arcade has a “big screen”, where the game of the moment can be broadcast live across the entire building. I always thought, especially once I got a bit older and the Street Fighter craze hit, that this would become commonplace in arcades across the world. Guess not!
One thing I do think this show got right is the game itself. While the first stage is a cute homage to the games of the “time” (ie the 80’s), the second, where they engage in full-blown, 3D holographic combat, blew my mind when I was little, and even now, still looks amazing.
“3D” screens do nothing for me. It’s a clumsy, and expensive, fudge. But the prospect of something that can actually project true three-dimensional objects in a three-dimensional space? That shit sounds amazing. And while the creators of Macross may have been a little premature in thinking we’d be playing games like that within twenty years, it’s a place I still hope gaming can get to in the next twenty years.