It started with Pong.
Pong was the very first video game. It consisted of nothing more than two paddles and a blip. Get the blip past your opponent's paddle and you scored a point. Very similar to tennis, the game Akira, the book's protagonist, plays.
After Pong came Space Invaders which really launched the video game phenomenon. Asteroids, Pac Man, and Donkey Kong quickly followed.
I remember them all.
I grew up during the video game revolution, dropping quarters into the machine like a junkie, begging my mom for a dollar so I could play four more games, or even being so bold (and so hooked) that when my friends and I ran out of change, we'd hightail it to the fountain in the center of the mall and dip our arms elbow deep into the water searching for nickels and dimes and the occasional quarter, but never stooping so low as to gather pennies. We were never that desperate.
After taking a two decade-long hiatus from video games, in 2003, my friend turned on his Xbox and introduced me to Halo. I was seven-years-old again.
In roughly three decades, games evolved out of the primordial ooze of blips and beeps and formed an advanced civilization of intergalactic space flight. Not even the fruitfly evolves so quickly.
Games have come a long way, baby!
So you have to wonder how long it will really be before a place such as The World leaves behind the realm of fiction to become reality. The Xbox 360 and the PS3 have just landed on the horizon unleashing a brand new dawn in realism. Already you can play internationally, testing your skills against a twelve-year-old sharpshooter in Topeka, Kansas, a teenage girl in Misawa, Japan, or a middle aged man in Zimbabwe. The only thing missing is a large enough server to create something as complex and multi-dimensional as The World.
--Stormcrow Hayes, Los Angeles, 2006