Daily Illuminator

November 30, 2023: Then Is Tomorrow

Those who love futuristic settings or exploring alternate timelines, if you want to make your future feel that much more oddball but grounded, consider letting obsolete tech thrive.

What do I mean? Well, there's an oddity when watching any visual medium where future technology can generally only be represented by what exists now, especially for shots of tech that are meant to be used and aren't entirely props or special effects. The most immediate and obvious example of this is how many CRTs exist in the ultra-tech worlds of (say) Star Trek V or 1980s-era Doctor Who. And, of course, Murphy's Rules has examples of "future tech" that fails to reach the realms of a mid-2000s iMac.

So why not embrace that?

Yes, as it turns out, Magical Space Radiation means that CRTs are well-suited for space travel in a way that makes LCDs (etc.) impractical. Wow, it looks like Zip disks were beloved and collectible as a music format in this timeline. Gee, it seems that this setting required miniaturization of FTL-communication tech into stand-alone devices that left no way to include additional computational power, resulting in a universe where folks still routinely carry a dedicated "telephone" and a separate dedicated "PDA"-type device.

Let old tech bloom along with your imagination, while you tear off a dot-matrix printout and handwave-mutter something about "gravitational fluctuations making inkjets and laser printers unreliable."

And if this inspires something in your campaign, please let me know on the forums!

-- Steven Marsh

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