One of my favourite science fiction films, the first ever to use extensive computer graphics in its production, is Tron. Made in 1982, it used ground-breaking technology to create a film that imagined a world seen from the perspective of computer programs. It starred Jeff Bridges, and was the first major outing for Bruce Boxleitner and Peter Jurasik, who would later go on to become iconic science fiction adversaries, Captain John Sheridan and Ambassador Londo Mollari, in J. Michael Straczynski’s Babylon 5 TV series. It’s worth a look just for the special effects alone, and it has a pretty decent script as long as you’re prepared to overlook the particularly messianic overtones of the subplot involving Tron and his god/creator ‘Alan1’ (a computer programmer in the ‘real world’).
At the time, the major merchandising for the game came in the form of arcade machines, where for a couple of coins you could race light cycles, or take on an opponent in the disc arena. I remember spending many a wasted hour in the arcades playing it. A few years ago it also spawned a good PC and console game, Tron2. The storyline follows on from the feature film, and it accurately recreates the environments that took room-fulls of computers to produce in the 1980s with just a modest PC setup or an original XBox console. Both film and game are definitely worth checking out. There’s a great lightcycle game available too, and it’s free – just click on the picture above to go to the homepage.