02/01  The N•Viron

It’s funny, I used to love writing as a kid. It seems kind of old-fashioned to like writing since we all have access to N•Viron now. Although I suppose somebody has to write the games and articles. Hey, there’s a thought, I wonder how they get into that?

Anyway, that’s not really how I want to start. I’m writing this just for me. Maybe if I can come up with an idea for the next great N•Viron scripted adventure game, but I’m not counting on it. Most of them are murder mystery romances. I could never really get into them or understand why someone would, no matter how they self-identify. Maybe it’s because I’m an old-fashioned, boring, straight male. It’s funny that it’s still considered normal to be that when almost no-one is anymore. I know a guy who self-ids as a walrus and always appears as such. He’s put a lot of hours into various civic duties to earn the Arpies needed to buy the custom avatar, but it was worth it. He looks amazing! He shows up as a very well-dressed walrus, with a neatly trimmed moustache, monocle, a classic three-piece suit, gold-frigging-pocket watch and cane! Despite his own oddness, he goes for leggy, straight, gentle and romantic women. He’s immediately turned off if a woman comes on too strong, or if they mock his chosen identity.

Wow. How did I end up talking about Mister Waddle? Okay, so it doesn’t look like I’m going to be writing the next bestselling N•Vella. I’m just going to write this because I want to. Just for fun, I’m going to write this like it’s being read by someone from a parallel or alien world, or the future, or the past. As if they have no idea what our lives are like in the re-united states.

Okay let me start by talking about the best invention ever, the N•Viron! Anything you might ever need to know is available right before your eyes. You can make basic tasks more fun by playing a game while you work. You can modify the appearance of your public avatar. You can even buy groceries just by leaving the store with them. It’s all thanks to these little gadgets that we wear on the back of our necks. It stays in place with a very soft, comfortable strap, around your neck. It seems weird at first but I never even feel it anymore. The N•V system stimulates your brain via the spinal column, allowing you to control what you see with a thought. You can see people’s personal avatars and public profile. You can figure out exactly what kind of tree you’re looking at, or scan the network for special deals or public services available in the area. It will give you directions and point out other businesses on your way and suggest convenient locations for fuel and food if necessary. You can even play games similar to the old school in-car games, but way cooler, that turn the world around into a fantasy landscape, or an alien space station. These games will notify you of other people who have played the same or similar games, and reward you, with Arpies, for inviting those people to play with you. There’s a zombalien hunter game that I’m hooked on right now. There’s a boss that, if you know what’s coming, you can see it leaping from rooftop to rooftop, until it gets above you and dives at you. It still terrifies the everscrap out of me.

Whether it’s “Invasion of the dead”, or any other game, the system knows when you have to be at work, it even suggests routes that will fit into your schedule, making sure you get a fun workout at the time and effort level of your choosing, taking account your personal health and goals, and still get your punctuality bonus. If you don’t feel like playing a fully immersive game it’ll still suggest things you can do on your way to pick up a few Arpies or spend a few. It still it takes your needs into account, having noticed already that you’re running low on sanitizer or banapples. I can’t imagine how disorganized, stressful and boring life was before the N•Viron. Of course, the disconnected don’t have to imagine. They’re still trying to survive on old money, keep rust bucket old cars running, and live in scrappy housing, all because they refuse to take advantage of the available technology. They’re just too stubborn, too poorly educated, to know any better.

They don’t show up as people if they’re not in the N•Viron network. The ones with outstanding warrants show up, but there’s a lot that can’t be identified unless they’ve picked up a user definition or two. You can give anything a user definition, my favorite pub has a toilet called ‘the porcelain poopeater’. Discons can be reported and publically arrested by anyone with the right training if they break a law, but they don’t get the warnings we do that they’re about to break a law, and they don’t have the punitive fines applied immediately as we do. The N•Viron would even schedule the public service or overtime needed to make up the debt if necessary. I really feel sorry for them. We should just save them. Put them in better housing, get them decent jobs, teach them how to be happy.

Anyway, I got off topic. N•Viron evolved out of several emerging technologies a couple of decades back. The car industry included entertainment systems in its new line of self-drive models. The glass contained a translucent display that let you browse the old web, or play augmented reality games designed to interact with the real traffic, gps data, and terrain. You could also still message other drivers like you could do with previous in-car systems, and invite them to play, or even just chat. You operated everything by mocap gestures. At the same time, augmented reality glasses became affordable, but delivered far less than what everyone hoped for. They still looked dorky and bulky or had a pitiful amount of processing power and battery life.

It was the military that cracked how to make it wearable and practical. They had it running off bioelectricity and ambient power fields. They developed software that could identify anything you looked at, super-imposing relevant data. You could see your heart rate, breathing rate, and ammo count. Targets, squad-mates, and friendlies would each be clearly marked, along with any other threats and resources the system identified. Of course, as soon as they enemy captured the tech, and the network was hacked, the advantage was lost. The networking software was modified for the civilian market, the old web was streamlined to work better, and favorite features from the other augmented reality technology were included thanks to some careful negotiating between the controlling businesses.

It replaced cellphones, computers and even cameras. The ambient power system became available everywhere too. You still see discons and trads using some of the older tech. I know a guy that collects old camera lenses and holds them up to his eye to manipulate the image N•Viron sees. People get their first N•V when they’re kids, and every few months they bring out a new one, but it’s easy enough to get the upgrade, in fact, you get Arpies for doing so. Old models aren’t compatible with the newest software. Don’t get too many models behind, or you might as well be disconnected.

I know this will show up as recent activity on my personal profile. I’m not even going to set it to private. Feel free to add your own comments and tags to the playback, suggestions on what else I need to explain, and please don’t be a total zune. Should I talk about Reclaimers next, or Arpies? Or do I need to describe something better that I touched on here? I’m grateful for your feedback.

 

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