Old predictions of the future of gaming

Strangely, it seems 1982 was a particularly big year for predictions of the future. Maybe it was because the standard space shoot-em-up was getting a bit old and people were wondering what was next. Perhaps this?

Above: Oh. We thought it was for murderousness

To but this article into perspective, in December 1982, this writer was 7 months old. But already the 'fun of personal computing' was promising things we now use every day. Well, we haven't checked the weather in Tanzania for a while... (checks) hmmm, sunny with a few clouds and highs of 90. Huh.

When isometric 3D is the most advanced thing you can imagine, it's hard to comprehend games as we know them today. See the screenshot immediately below? That's what Joystik magazine called 'absolutely phenomenal' and 'spectacular'. Oh, and a 'monumental moment in the genre'.

And in terms of what the future would hold, they could only say: "Who knows. Zaxxon will make an impact." Nice. Though they do recommend we "look for more 3D games in the future". We'll be sure to do that.

The next few predictions come from a feature in 'Electronic Fun', also from 1982. Remember, in 1982, the year 2001 seemed like 500 years in the future, so predictions were a bit extreme. "Look for arcades to be constructed along the lines of big-budget science-fiction movie sets, with special effects a major attraction of the games. For example, there might be chairs that rock back and forth, swing from side to side, or swivel a full 360 degrees."

Arcades did get that impressive in the mid-nineties and cabinets started 'moving from side to side' with Hang On just a couple of years after this article was written. And G-LOC had a 360 degree rotating cabinet, so that's all very accurate. But the same can't really be said for the next one.

How many times have we been told that media of the future will feature smell? There was even an April Fool's Day joke on BBC TV in 1965 where 'Smell-O-Vision' technology was reportedly being trialled and people rang in to confirm it worked.

But sure enough, Electronic Fun said: "[Arcade games] will draw the player right into the contest. The computers will provide total sensory output: audio, visual, olfactory (smell) and tactile (touch)".

Our games indeed draw us right in with the audio/visual, and of course we've had rumble and force feedback for years now... but the only time we get smell from our PS3 is when we've accidentally blocked its vents.

"Visually, an expanded screen could project images all around the player," says the article. Of course, it happened in 1999 with the three-screened Ferrari 355 Challenge in the arcades, and our 360s can do it with Forza 2 - if you can afford three 360s, three TVs and a steering wheel.

Above: Forza 2 in its full three-screened glory

The article goes on to discuss sound output options for the arcade game of the year 2000. "Such a machine could even blast the gamer with sound via headphones. Think about that for a second. Can you imagine the ambiance of a silent arcade? Now that would take some getting used to."

That's uncanny! Our local arcade is silent. It's also empty and boarded up. Yes, we're used to it now.

The article also mentions the way the technology was already overtaking the skills of a single programmer, adding that future game development could see entire teams of development staff.

Bet the thought of GTA IV's $100,000,000 budget and 150-strong development team would have had 1980s journos choking on their New Cokes.

Not to mention Eugene Jarvis (of Defender and Cruis'n USA fame) who, in that same issue of Joystik, had this to say about Defender:

Flying left and right FTW. Next - onto the '90s...


  • nik41507 - December 18, 2009 12:59 a.m.

    I just rediscovered this article 7 months and 18 days later
  • GG Gabby - May 4, 2009 3:42 p.m.

    It's great how they tried to predict what would happen in the future.........But the smell your games thing is just
  • pogo - May 3, 2009 12:11 p.m.

    you guys missed the 1970s
  • Styrophoamicus - April 30, 2009 7:43 p.m.

    K that football pic kinda freaked me out. It probably does say SEGA. Call Timecop
  • Gothbot6k - April 30, 2009 10:13 a.m.

    Stupid Dreamcast lol.
  • iKOemos - April 30, 2009 4:21 a.m.

    Really good article, one of the best I have read in a while. This really makes me think about the future and how incredible, expensive or cheap and casual gaming might get.
  • nik41507 - April 29, 2009 11:40 p.m.

    amazing how accurate this is. and i bet that Nintedo is making 2 new consoles at the moment. there that sneaky. amazing article and............ 20TH!!!!!!!!! plus the reCAPTCH right now is "virginal ideas" ?????????
  • vic88 - April 29, 2009 9:51 p.m.

    I predict that 09 will be weaker than 08
  • Demonflare - April 29, 2009 8:57 p.m.

    Dude soon everyones gonna run out of ideas to make more games. So far most of the games in 09 sux. >_< Like movies, their running out of ideas and now movies sux to.
  • peaceful765 - April 29, 2009 4:12 p.m.

    Osbourne books ruled in the eighties. I still have a couple somewhere. Learnt a lotfrom those little robots. I suddenly feel old.
  • NipplesTheSuperHippo - April 29, 2009 3:21 p.m.

    at first I thought this was a joke, a lot of the predictions were almost spot on. The one I was really pondering was the handheld LCD screen. I lolz at the Dreamcast. This was really cool, thanks, and good work.
  • Xplosive59 - April 29, 2009 3:21 p.m.

    it is amazing that gaming has come so far if a movie is 5 years old it is considered recent but in gaming terms 5 years is a millenium
  • Warewullf - April 29, 2009 1:15 p.m.

    "The overlay may be crude, but the kid's online. Expect him to start calling everyone 'bitch' any second now..." I actually, honestly, LOL'd at this.
  • noobeater - May 1, 2009 6:31 p.m.

    @spybreak /\ lol anyway great article and it is really amazing and/or interesting how these visions have been somewhat realised.
  • Spybreak8 - May 1, 2009 4:56 a.m.

    HAHA, just add an antenna to anything and you're wireless pal, boom!
  • JoeMasturbaby - April 30, 2009 9 p.m.

    havnt read an article this great in awhile it seems. beautiful work sir.
  • iluvmyDS - April 30, 2009 2:24 a.m.

    Wow, I can't believe how much of these were realized. It seems predicted gaming technology happens, whereas it hasn't happened in other ways i.e. flying cars and such. captcha: 74' fumbler
  • Mavarious - April 30, 2009 2:19 a.m.

    I predict that in the grand and glorious and nigh unreachable future year of 2030 we'll have games that shoot right into your brain and circumvent the need for a tv. 50 years after that we will have evolved into pure energy form and it won't matter anyway. Yep, that's how it's gonna go down. recaptcha: calm The f*ck down
  • GeneralTickTock - April 30, 2009 1:26 a.m.

    Those 60's. Just HILARIOUS
  • EatShorts8 - April 30, 2009 12:25 a.m.

    :o that 1960's movie was weirdly accurate :/

Showing 1-20 of 33 comments

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