Tempus Fugit; Progress?

When Michael J. Fox walked out on stage with Christopher Lloyd on Jimmy Kimmel Live! as Marty McFly and Dr. Emmett Brown, the pair concurred that 2015 “kind of sucked” compared to the future that they had previously visited in their alternate reality. And, good ol’ Michael J. Fox isn’t wrong, compared to what we expected from the future, it isn’t quite how we planned it. It isn’t all bad, but part of me yearns for the simplicity of the 90s, though there are some aspects I wouldn’t want back.

In the same way the previous generations went to arcades and community centres for their entertainment, this generation has had access to everything they could wish for at the click of a button. The internet holds many treasures from the classic games like Pong to the ever favourite Pinball. You can find those old console games and even do the crossword puzzles, like your Dad used to do in the Sunday morning paper. Back in the 90s our friends had teddies bears and Furbies; we’d play in the living room on family occasions, avoiding our Great Aunt Mildred, who always managed to leave a gross lipstick kiss on our cheeks.

Even Grannie can join in the fun, sitting in the armchair with a baggie of boiled sweets in one hand, mobile in the other. Surfing the web, playing bridge with their chatroom friends (and anonymously bitching about Deirdre) and using bingo sites. No more going with her to the bingo hall across from the bowling alley and Laser Quest, wishing you were there. Now you can sit with her and pick her bingo cards for her; you’ll always be her good luck charm. And if you’re feeling nostalgic and remember playing bingo in school- the prize being a funky eraser for your pencil or a book voucher- you might want to think about having a little game yourself. Forget about digging into your pockets for your spare change; spend a few pence online and you could win the jackpot.

Even walkie-talkies and cups at the end of a string have been replaced by Skype and Facebook. No need to talk to your friends; message them instead! And who needs to climb trees or go to the park when you have online role playing games? Why would you want to go for a walk in your own neighbourhood when you can take one in a different country or even a different dimension?

Become a card playing master just by Googling the game and just clicking the site you want, just to get in some extra practice. Your friends will be so jealous when you turn out to be the god of Go Fish. Instead of riding our bikes or begging our Mom to let us back the car into the driveway, we now have online stimuli where we can do all of that on or computers or on our phones. And don’t worry about that driving test; you can practice parking on different websites.

The great thing about the internet is being able to lie in bed, cup of tea in one hand and tablet in the other, and browse through the mounds of books, films and music available to you. Goodbye library! Goodbye multiplex! We have the freedom to sit at home, alone (doing a full-on Bridget Jones) or with family and enjoy the things we love.

And as we get older, for those of us who find cooking more of a challenge than it should be, there are step by step recipes made available to us. And when all else fails, when the food doesn’t turn out right- remember it’s always the oven’s fault- you can always order some pizza or book a table at cheeky Nando’s.

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