Late to the Party: Tron

Yes, I know. I’m late. 28 years late to be exact. To be fair, I wasn’t alive when the movie came out and by the time I was old enough to understand the world around me, Tron was old news. For as long as I can remember though, it’s been referred to in popular culture countless times and often mentioned as a film that helped bring computers, computer-generated graphics and video games to the mainstream.

I’ve always felt bad as a gamer and all-around nerd for not having seen Tron. Thankfully, my girlfriend and I recently watched it a few days ago and enjoyed it for the most part. I’m pretty tired right now, so I don’t have the mental capacity to write something fully thought out. However, I did want to share some assorted thoughts about the movie.

  • Based on the limited research I’ve done, the creators of Tron were initially inspired by Pong. They wanted to take video game like qualities and make them mainstream. We’re still working on making video games mainstream, but Tron was a pretty good first step that’s still relevant today.
  • That movie was crazy ahead of its time in terms of computer-generated visuals. In an era of Pac-Man and Battle Zone, the creators of Tron went to great lengths to create a world that people of the time could envision as existing within a computer. If I was 13 back in 1982 and I just saw Tron, I think my head would explode from the awesomeness. While the raw graphics do look dated now, the art style really puts the movie over the top. The stark black backgrounds and neon glow still look good today.
  • I don’t recall ever hearing the word ‘download’, even though downloading of some sorts does occur in the film. Had the word not been invented yet?

  • I found it really funny how Tron tried to ‘humanize’ computers and video games. My thinking is, back in 1982, they tried to add ‘human’ traits and characteristics to the programs and the world in order for viewers to better grasp what was happening. In 2010, I have no problem of thinking of a program as just a program. In the movie, there is a constant reminder of the user and program relationship. Even the video game inspired portions are heavily cribbed from real life rather than video games. There were no frisbee games back in 1982. Flynn and another character even played a cyber variation of scoop ball to the death in this movie as a video game.
  • Despite the lack of video game influence in most of the games video game segments, the light cycle segments are straight from the snake video games of the 1970s, which are still popular today.
  • It was enjoyable to watch, and for the most part, its visuals still look good. The big problem with the movie is that the story wrapped around the pretty special effects is awful. There are so many logic holes in that story that the creators try to cover up with geek speak and pretty visuals, but I can see right through all of that now.
  • I’m looking forward to seeing What Disney does with Tron Legacy. Is there any chance that this movie will leave a legacy like the first one did?

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