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You can’t imagine my consternation when I read in the Wall Street Journal that a Video game Giant was taking a bit of a hit by the recent crunch and crumble that’s been happening in the market.  I won’t mention who.  

You see, I have invested an uncommon and strange hope in Video Gaming technology and it’s impact on everything from medicine to undersea terrain exploration to… entertainment,  no less.    (I hear you – Imagining consternation gets a bit surrealistic.)   I believe that Video Games are paving the way, for a far more fair future, in an entrepreneurial sort of way.  While Congress is trying to sneak a heavy sedative of Socialism into the corporate vein, there’s a more pervasive, slightly unpredictable, yet equally determined ‘thing’ happening:  Virtualization.  Virtualization will be to the next decade what miniaturization was to the last 40 years. Don’t have time to explain miniaturization, look up Reykjavik, transistors, star wars, silicon chip….


Here’s where I can begin, you’ll have to jump right in:


Virtualization can mean lots of things, everything from Citrix to flying your own little home-drone plane in the back yard.  But here’s what it means to me:  


In the not so distant future the stars of your favorite sitcoms, or maybe even movies will not have their own leer jets, or a line of clothing, or homes, or cars, or even  a favorite restaurant.  That’s because they won’t be real, in the sense that you and I are.  (I know you’re real, I’m not so sure about me.)  

They’ll be carefully crafted, gracefully drawn, artfully composed …  Well, they might have a line of clothing.  The video gaming industry, animation, claymation and several other virtual arts are reaching out like dendrites to almost touch each other.  The stars of the near future will be created by a team of video, musical, programming, drawing …people.  If that seems a bit strange, or even undesireable to you, think about something for a moment:


You’ll probably never hear that one of the Mario Brothers went nutso on a set and began completey belittling one of the camera men with a shameful tirade.  I mean, the likelihood of any animated or claymation type character going out and getting really drunk and then spouting some racial epithets in a smokey nightclub are slim.  I don’t rule out the possibility that some of these characters will get political, in fact, I completely expect it, but the risk that say a Half-Life character like Dr. Gordon Freeman, or even an older more seasoned individual, like Duke Nukem will run for office in say, Minnesota is not likely – not in this decade.  Better yet, you’ll never see that your favorite spaceman from bygone days, Cosmo’s Cosmic Adventure, became a balding Hollywood producer, and then cajoled some of his older Martian counterparts into making political advertisements.


The notion of  actors and actresses no longer having a disproprtiontely greater voice in the political arena, though they don’t really have much more knowledge in that area than, say, a plumber, is energizing!  I had long mused that the idea that these people who made too much money should be able to plunk down so much denari and presence on our political process has got to be un-Jeffersonian.  (Yes, I’m a capitalist , but as long as Congress is capping Gargantuan bank salaries, how about reaching over and capping some Caligulan moviestar salaries.)  

Feature this:  When you buy a video Game or the Interactive movie of the future, or even a non-interractive movie, with realistic movie stars that came out of the heads of 20 people – 20 people will be sharing that movie star’s salary.  And if those 20 people decide to talk politics, who cares?  Who are they anyway?  Now, I’d like to make a distinction here in the overpaid category.  While athletes are probably overpaid, they are, as a general rule, well aware of the fact that people don’t care what they think politically- and don’t want to know.  God bless them.  I’m glad they don’t vociferate, or at the next Blackhawks Game people might be yelling, “Come on Eager,  Punch that bleading heart Commie Socialist…”  


Look, as foolish as it sounds, the day will be coming when the interactive movie, and the engineered actor will be here, and accepted, like it or not.  It will sneak up on Hollywood (I like that), because whole generations of people spend way more time with Xbox’s and Playstations than they do with TV, and as they morph into the Couch Potatoes or News Junkies of the future, they’ll want something that makes them feel at home, something just a little bit interactive, even if all they are doing is adjusting someone like Bill O’Reilly’s Hair, or trimming Letterman’s EyeBrows, or.. no, better, selecting Sarah Palin’s Head to sit on top of Letterman’s body.   I obviously like it because I like the idea of 20 people or more sharing the wealth – talk about a stimulus and employment!  I mean think about all of the people who could be living respectable lives in decent neighborhoods if Oprah was Claymation!  Okay, I moved into the talk show venue, but I see it coming.

Really, it is entrepreneurial, because it makes room for more players and greater variety.  Bam!  Hollywood should embrace the notion, because it has a sort of socialistic aspect to it, I mean let’s all hold hands, teach the world to sing, create a moviestar from clay (no pun intended),  share the wealth!


Back to the sports arena:  People want real sports, with real players.  They want to know that that guy just got slammed against the wall, or tackled, or struck out, or whatever….

We’ll keep real sports, and just  Make Video new Game franchises.  Madden will be happy.  


Back to the virtual world:  When you watch your Business Report, you’ll be able to customize the language so that when someone says, “The DOW dropped 300 points.  What you may hear on your SortOfReal_Box is, “The @*!’n Dow dropped 300 points. “  Or if you are from a better upbringing, “The already challenged Dow was severely chastised today…”  If your kids are hearing profanity on T.V., it’ll be no one’s fault but your own.  You think I’m joking?  I teach Video Game Design to college students.  


The Gaming industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world.  It won’t get any help from the stimulus.  It took a hit like everyone.  It’ll survive and come out stronger than many industries.  Don’t be too shocked if, in 12 years your next presidential pick…  well, vice-presidential for starters is … more Virtual than virtuous.    Hmm.  Maybe this last presidential pick was already… Virtual, at least.


-John P. Schumake














  • Tom Humes

    Nice Site layout for your blog. I am looking forward to reading more from you.

    Tom Humes

  • J. S. Freeman

    I agree! Not only would there be “virtually” no chance of animated diva outlashes, but people may find themselves with a lot of free time, say, to read, write, exercise, clean up the planet, volunteer, etc. without tabloid tv occupying all senses.


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