Writing About Video Games so They Don’t Feel Dated

Today on io9 the authors of the short story anthology, Press Start to Play, shared their thoughts on how to imbue video games in fiction with a timeless quality. I thought I’d do the same…

I don’t feel like the technology that runs the game needs great detail unless it’s a focal point of the story. The gear is what will most likely make the game feel dated. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how we’ll interact with technology. Finger and thumb controllers may be retro at some point. So I guess, much like the other authors I would suggest avoiding the specifics and use the details to serve the story.


Indie games are becoming more popular and easier to produce but they run on popular consoles or computer platforms of the time. Could a story feature an indie game that runs on a rogue or subversive platform? Could the old consoles provide a new gaming experience in a world that has moved past them? It is worthwhile to examine how people interact with other technology in the world because that could influence the way the characters interact with a game. That said, I think reality simulating, full-immersion settings like The Matrix or New Cap City in Caprica will always have a safe place in science fiction.

All of this is fun to think about but if you want a vision of what video games will really be like in the future, look no further than Rick and Morty.

P.S. Did you guys know that former NFL Minnesota Vikings punter, Chris Kluwe, is now a sci-fi author? He wrote one of the stories for Press Start to Play. Neat!


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