Memory of the Future

Title inspired by a more modern song by 80s legends Pet Shop Boys.

The 80s is a true cultural phenomenon that shines its neon lights forty years into the future. Science fiction, such as my blog’s current theme – John Carpenter’s film They Live (1988) thrived. This decade was about living life large: from the hair to the fashion statements. Television featured works of art and films that were destined to become timeless cult classics. It was a time of relative peace for the United States as well. Many today pursue the “Vaporwave” aesthetic, and it is often considered popular to listen to 80s music.

An example of the Vaporwave aesthetic: such images are often featured in electronic music videos.

To me, the 80s includes interactive fiction. The first item that came to mind was the Netflix interactive film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018), which revolves around a young man living in the 80s who attempts to develop a classic choose-your-own adventure game. I certainly recommend it, for you get to explore 1984 in the forefront of its technological glory.

Here is Bandersnatch’s trailer, for a glimpse into many of the aforementioned themes and the treat of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax” (1983).

Interactive fiction (physical and digital) was new during this era, for Joëlle Delbourgo and R.A. Montgomery’s Choose Your Own Adventure book series was released in 1979. The first game, Will Crowther’s ADVENT, was released in 1975 at Stanford and required that one find treasures in a certain amount of turns. Infocom (1979-1989) was a company and software by MIT Students, released Zork- one of the most well-known interactive fiction games – for home. Although short, the 80s is a proud host of this digital boom that lasted from 1982 to 1986.

A gif previewing Infocom’s Zork: you control your own adventure.

Throughout my life, 80s pop culture has been present. It is in my parents as they spent their teenage and young adult lives during these years. My dad blasts Depeche Mode and The Cure in the kitchen. My mom showed me The Breakfast Club (1985) and Sixteen Candles (1984) in my early teenhood. One of the first movies I watched with my college friends in freshman year was Dirty Dancing (1987). For an 80s revival concert, I tried to learn the Roger Rabbit. And lastly, if I ever get a boombox, the first thing I am going to do is hold it over my head like John Kusack in Say Anything (1989) – or, well, like Deadpool in Deadpool 2 (2018).

In case you were curious, the Roger Rabbit: #ds106thingsthoughts #ds106