Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Book of Google

Remember those “Choose You Own Adventure” books? You got to choose where your story would go next, usually at the end of the page. It was pretty cool back in times…

Google today is a lot like a big gamebook – you can browse in infinite paths and build your stories.

I don’t talk about some meaningless internet browsing on a Friday afternoon. The one that starts from a link your friend forwarded to you, some random news headline or just a shiny banner that caught your attention. Then you just jump subjects in an ADD–manner, ending with a mesh of information on global warming, fondue recipe, newest i-gadjet, whale conservation program, and the weather forecast. Anything to kill time.

I’m talking about a real Story. The one that just grabs your attention and makes you dig into it. And, as with a gamebook, you never know where it will bring you.

One day, a couple of years ago, I was googling on the most addictive games of all time. Tetris is the best selling computer game ever, so I ended up checking some details on it. What grabbed my initial attention is the history of Tetris creation.

It starts back in the 80s, in the backwaters of the Soviet Union. Two men and a teenager are killing their spare time at some academy labs by developing small games. I google on and click on, and the story just takes off from there. What follows is the uncontrolled game popularity, international legal battles and soviet government involvement. The story continues all the way through the fall of the Iron Curtain, with some of the original creators moving to United States and more legal battles. It ends up in Pal Alto, California with a double-murder suicide and the “I’ve been eaten alive…” note. What an incredible chain of events. A great story about moral corruption...

You can find all the bits of that story on the internet and google your way through it. Don’t just go through a single article with somebody’s aggregated version of it. Because web today is an infinite gamebook, and you can read any story your own way.



Leon said...

what a fascinating story. Cheers.