Tron and its lasting vision of cyberspace

This is a preview of an article you can read on our new website dedicated to virtual reality, Versions. /// Here’s a fair question: How can a bomb from 1982 continue to impact the way we imagine cyberspace? It’s always grids and neon—synths and geometric shapes. When Homer Simpson found himself in this virtual dimension, surrounded by cones, equations, and clip art, he asked if anyone had ever seen the movie Tron. One by one, the residents of Springfield said “No.” Released the same year Disney opened up their futurist edutainment EPCOT park, Tron impressed critics but failed to speak to…


Bat simulator realizes echolocation in Tron-like neon

Tron (1982) is a dope science-fiction film. Maybe it’s the dopest sci-fi film. And maybe it would be even doper if it starred a bat, instead of a digitized Jeff Bridges on a lightcycle. In the game Winging It that exact fantasy is realized. After booting up Winging It, my screen turned dark—which is an unusual. There’s no menu and no instructions. Instinctively, I clicked, and a sound shot out to reveal my surroundings. A wave of sound that revealed on-screen that I am a bat. But not a photo-realistic bat, or even a cartoon bat. Instead, I’m a bat that,…


Hyperactive shooter DESYNC is made to resemble synesthesia

Beginning in the 20th century, modern design started being dominated by the saying “form follows function.” The idea was that when creating a building, car, or piece of software, pragmatism should come first, and style should be secondary. In Adult Swim’s upcoming game DESYNC, however, style is the function. Taking inspiration from classic shooters like Quake (1996) and Unreal Tournament (1999), DESYNC is a deliberately unrealistic shooter set in a colorful neon world resembling the computer reality of the Tron films. Enemies are abstract collections of polygons and vectors, and players dual-wield guns and swords while jumping dozens of feet into the air…


These interactive music videos remind us of Tron’s light-cycle scene, almost

The imagery for George and Jonathan’s interactive music videos for their album III is simple yet savvy: bright polychromatic lines streak across a grid towards infinity. It’s pretty much like the light-cycle scene in Tron, which is suiting enough for electronic music, but with one catch: all the combatants are stuck driving straight ahead.  That’s where you come in by spinning around this real-time visualization in your web-browser, as long as you have a fancy computer that can perform complex graphical tricks. The album sounds nice and the interaction part is cool, and together they represent something we’re incredibly fond…


An arcade cabinet restorer creates the light-cycle racing game of our dreams

For us children of the ‘80s who had our young and naive brains dazzled by Disney’s Tron, it doesn’t get much better than a sit-down, light cycle-riding arcade game. Oh, wait. Yes, it does. That’s because this light-cycle racer is VR-enabled, played while sitting on a scrap of wood and welded metal while strapped into a sense-depriving mask—perhaps a bit dangerous, but oh so worth it!  This wicked invention is the passion project of The Arcade Man, an expert at restoring classic cabinets and pinball tables to beautiful, pristine condition. For aesthetic reasons, and just because motorcycles are far more…


This Tron-inspired bike brings 80s cyberspace to street races

It’s no coincidence that Lotus’s new motorcycle the C-01 looks like a light cycle from Tron: It was designed by Daniel Simon, the automotive futurist who redesigned the iconic bikes in Tron: Legacy. Note the elongated unibody, the large prominent tires, and the severe forward position that the rider assumes. All Tron.  This is a beautiful piece of engineering and an equally beautiful example of life influencing art, influencing art, influencing life. When Tron first appeared in theaters in the ‘80s, it was a blockbuster about virtual reality—Hollywood’s flashy attempt to predict the videogames of the future. That game-like aesthetic…