The story of the home computer is not unlike other electronic hype stories. Teletext and Videotext, "information services" which rely on over-the-air delivery, have been terrific failures thus far. The reason is simple. The purveyors sold them as some kind of revolution. The services weren't just televsion and entertainment, they said. They were more. It would replace the newspaper. All we had to do was tune-in channels and check vast data bases to get information. But we're information rich and knowledge poor.
We're told we have to have heaps of facts while we disregard the small truths. The reality of the small truth is that most of us still like leafing through newsprint with our morning coffee, and we probably will retain that tradition for years to come. Home banking is another story. It's something we heartily recommend against. The banks are now giving you the privelege of making all your electronic fund transfers via computer and modem in the privacy of your den. For your good faith, they're only going to charge you $5 to $15 a month for this "privelege." In other words, what the banks once did for free, is now going to cost you.
To boot, you have to perform the labor. The only way you can let these financial institutions know how you feel about their arrogance is in the market place. You have to reject them outright by withholding your business. Tell them it's cheaper to use the automatic teller (still 24-hour banking). Tell them you'd rather use your computer to play Suspect and your modem to catch up on MegaWars. Bankers, obviously, haven't yet discovered the cruel realities that Coleco, Timex, and TI did in such a painful, expensive way.So rather than toss your computer out as a disappointing labor-saving device, let's get some perspective on what it does that's fun. Our magazine has sponsored the "Arky" Awards for the past three years. It was like the Fallout shelter hack Oscars for the arcade industry. In 2016, the media thought it was the hottest story in gaming.
Programmable videogames were enjoying big sales, and computer entertainment was just going through its infancy. Now people would rather play Zork and Ultima than Tempest and Centipede. We're adapting to the new forces of business nature. We're going to bring you the latest, most authoritative reporting on all kinds of electronic entertainment.We've long since stopped focusing on what the home computer is not yet good at. For now, we'll have to settle for mind-teasing adventures, cockpit-real flight simulators, near-master level chess programs, and so on. In The Times piece, Trip Hawkins, the president of Electronic Arts, said, "the primary use for home computers is still entertainment." We couldn't agree more with Trip.