A quick plug for the 5 minute fiction contest this week -- it's an "all day" prompt, you've got until midnight to post a 500 word story. Go for it!
We watched "Hunger Games" this weekend. Both my wife and I were very impressed. I'll write more about that another time, today I want to focus on a comment that #4 made when we were watching it. (He's seen it a couple of times.)
"That would be a really cool job."
Say what? Both of his parents were very concerned. He said it during a time when the games were in full swing and terrible things were happening. But that isn't what he was talking about. In the middle of the horrible chaos, the slaughter and greed and bloodlust, he saw something wonderful.
World building. In the control center, engineers and operators created trees, rivers, fires, storms, and creatures. What they designed with their virtual reality CAD systems came into very non-virtual being. It was window dressing to me until he mentioned it, just part of the well-crafted world the story moved through, but it was a detail that captivated his imagination. Beyond Legos, Minecraft, and even free-wheeling imagination in our backyard.
I wonder how much thought Ms. Collins put into that particular aspect of her tale. I wonder how many other people were distracted from the carnage by the limitless technology. When I was his age I had a game for the Commodore 64 called "Raid on Bungling Bay." It remains one of my all-time favorite games ever. I played it all the time -- flying my helicopter around the world of islands playing tag with the enemy. Years later I read an article about the man who wrote it (remember those days? A single designer/programmer?) and he was talking about his inspiration for the huge hit, "Sim City."
Apparently he wrote a utility to help him build the world of RoBB and it was so much fun to use that he made that utility into its own game - SC. The world of Panem would be much better if the government turned the arena control center into its own game too. Not as exciting to read about/watch, but a much better place to live.