When I was a child, and my birthday was approaching, my mother would ask; “For your birthday cake, would you like chocolate or vanilla?… What kind of frosting do you like?… “Should we invite Brent or Michael or Allison?” The anticipation alone of this event had me thinking of my birthday for many weeks in advance. The lead up was immense. Listening to phone calls my Mom would make about the occasion had my ear to my bedroom door at any of her phone calls to neighbors. Those feelings, that I had assumed were inherently reserved for 5 year olds, have resurfaced for me over the past few days.
This Fall, childhood turns 2.0! Happy Birthday!
In the fall of 2015, two events are happening that will mark the birthday of Childhood 2.0. The choice of chocolate cake, for this 40 something year old child, is equivalent to Mattel’s VR View Master. The people working on View Master at Mattel would like us to know two things; First, for over 75 years, generations of kids have been introduced to the wonder of 3D by View-Master®. Second, Mattel is reimaging an entirely new way to explore and discover the world around you. Lastly, “Mattel’s new View-Master® viewer offers an easy-to-use and affordable platform that will empower users to take dynamic field trips where they can explore famous places, landmarks, nature, planets, and more in 360 degree “photospheres.” By pairing the View-Master® “experience reel” and app with a compatible Android or iOS smartphone, users will immediately find themselves immersed in an imaginative and interactive learning environment.”
Anki Drive would be my vanilla. For those unfamiliar, Anki Drive is a slot car racing game that utilizes artificial intelligence and machine learning so that the vehicles actually adapt and learn how to best each other on the track. For me, the slot car track was the holy grail of an immersive experience in my room. Connecting the tracks, getting the cars set in the slots, plugging in the handsets and making sure mine was connected to the right track was all part of the ritual of slot racing. Let’s not forget the smell. With Anki Drive, the slots are gone. So to, are the trigger controllers. What remains is a sleek track, sans slots, and cars that are linked to the AI to keep improving their performance and a controller that has morphed to your smartphone.
Unless Hasbro has plans to give G.I. Joe a six fingered, MMA-Tap Out grip, things could not be getting better for the class of 1980-somethings. What used to be a trip to JCPenney, is now a click away at Amazon, KickStarter, or Indegogo. All of which have been a wallet-drainer for me. I find myself with my ear to the door, waiting (im)patiently for the glorious day to arrive. Childhood turns 2.0 this fall and fortunately, for this upcoming birthday, I am now of the age where I can choose swirl!
“View-Master ® – View What’s Possible.” 4 Jul. 2015 <http://www.view-master.com/
“Anki Drive brings iOS videogame racing to real life for $199 …” 2013. 4 Jul. 2015 <http://www.engadget.com/2013/10/16/anki-drive/>