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Tron’s Legacy November 23, 2010

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.

Ten years ago I was at a LAN party being held by a bunch of Open Source Users in my area.  Let me tell you something, Open Source guys REALLY know how to have a LAN.  Every few months, the Southern Connecticut Open Source User Group converted the computers in their offices to a Red Hat distribution that contained only one program, Unreal Tournament.  They also had a full projection system with surround sound able to broadcast whatever they wanted.  Since having a virtual camera on the match playing on the projector usually made everyone sick (it did, I asked) they would instead play classic movies which were staples of nerd culture.  One night in 2001, this was how I was first exposed to the movie Tron.

I’m ashamed to say that for a movie made in 1982, which has been considered by most of my compatriots as the movie which ignited the digital revolution and inspired gamers the world over, gamers who would later become game makers, I had not seen Tron until I was 16 and knew nothing at all about it.  I think I remembered seeing a few previews for it playing occasionally on the Disney Channel back when it was a premium service channel back in the early 90s, but the previews could not do justice to what the movie truly was.

This was the most imaginative depiction of the world behind the computer screen I had ever seen before.  Kevin Flynn was the guy I wanted to be at 16 years old, a cocky self-taught computer genius and he had something happen to him that is an unfortunate reality of such a cutthroat business, his work was stolen from him.  But he wasn’t going to take it sitting down, he was going to do everything he could (legal or otherwise) to prove he was the original designer.  He just had no idea that he was tangling with an artificial intelligence capable of putting him on the game grid he created.  Now the best gamer in the world is forced to play the games he created from the inside or die.  What an epic concept.

Within no time I picked up a copy of the 20th Anniversary DVD for my own personal home theater collection.  I think I watched the movie so much I wore the DVD out, even the second disc with the feature length making-of documentary got a lot of play.

Then in 2003 I went to my very first E3.  Twenty-one years after the release of the original Tron, I caught a glimpse of what was going to be (what I believed at the time) the closest thing to a sequel the movie Tron was ever going to get, the Tron 2.0 video game made by Monolith Productions (who later went on to make F.E.A.R.).  All of the staples of Tron were in place in the game, the art style, the actors.  I could play on a lightcycle match or match discs against viruses and intrusion countermeasure programs.  When I got the final version of the game, I played through it at least three times.  I hoped Monolith would have made a sequel (they never explained who F-Con’s CEO was), but they never did.

I’m eagerly anticipating the Blu-Ray.  Director Steven Lisburger has confirmed to the press and fans that he has finished the 2K digital restoration of the movie, and knowing that the movie was made to be viewed on 70mm film projectors could make Tron’s BD release the next major industry staple.

Then this came out.

Bring your Encom Group 7 access badges, Tron Legacy comes out December 17thFlynn lives!



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