Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"Hacker 2: The Doomsday Papers", 1986.

What better way to follow an ad for Hacker than with an ad for its sequel, also lifted from World 1-1. I know, cyberpunk "week" is dragging on a little bit here, but when it's done, it's territory we likely won't be revisiting! After all, we are living the future today. (I know, it's more mundane than you expected, isn't it?)

HACKERS!
U.S. GOVERNMENT
NEEDS YOU!

HACKER II
The Doomsday Papers
THE RUSSIANS
HAVE A DOCUMENT KNOWN AS THE DOOMSDAY PAPERS
THE CIA NEEDS YOU TO RECOVER IT
THE BUREAU WILL LET YOU HOOK-UP TO THEIR HIGH-TECH HARDWARE
AND THEIR SATELLITE SO YOU CAN DO THE JOB ON YOUR COMPUTER
THE PROBLEM THE LOCATION OF THE PLANS, THE GUARDS
THE SECURITY MONITOR OR SOMETHING CALLED.... THE ANNIHILATOR
....HELP!....

First the US government was the authority ("U.S. GOVERNMENT"), then the Secret Service came along to underwrite it in a shadowy fashion. Then the FBI ("THE BUREAU") sprouted its own wing of secret police, then the CIA, then the NSA, then the DHS. Somewhere along the way, hackers went from being the enemies of the state to being organs of the state. This ad is a bit early on in the game, but it marks an early public indication, albeit a fictitious one, of hackers going from being menaces to authority to being tools on its behalf. (Whether they remain hackers after going on the payroll of The Man remains a contentious matter.)

Who knows, maybe an ad like this first drew little Edward Snowden into the NSA. But if the game were made today (or a sequel, heck -- Activision is still a going concern, after all), the Uncle Sam stand-in wouldn't be a Man In Black but a Guy Fawkes mask-wearing legionnare of Anonymous. And, in keeping with the plus ├ža change motif, THE RUSSIANS are still playing their part today. (Activision, please -- that should have been THE SOVIETS in '86.)

"Available from SERIOUS Home Computer Software stockists!"

... But not from frivolous ones.

About THE SECURITY MONITOR OR SOMETHING CALLED.... THE ANNIHILATOR... the less said the better.

PS, as a bonus extra, though the William Gibson connection is rapidly receding into the mists of time, here's a Lorem Ipsum "Greek" generator of boilerplate text derived from a Gibsonian lexicon, courtesy of the highly-literary Vananodyne.