Saturday, September 14, 2002

I visited "Game On" at the Barbican this weekend and spent a good few hours reminiscing over my mis-spent youth. It's a well put together exhibition that, sadly, will be closing in a day or so. So if you haven't seen it already, you've missed your chance. 26 years of video game history are there - starting with ComputerSpace and tracking through arcade games like Centipede, Pac-man, Defender and on through home computers (there's even a ZX-81 there, but it's not running - although no ZX Spectrum that I saw) and then to consoles (including a 4 player, multi-screen version of Halo). Why am I rattling on about video games here? Well, I guess it's a recognition of where we are in the world of Internet technology and then e-government maturity. Those early games are still playable, still have great moments and fabulous memories - but they're nothing compared to what we have now - on-line, multi-player, fantasmafests. e-government appears to still be in the Galaxians stage. Relatively simple, linear transactions that lack much intimacy, variety of ah-ha! moments. That is changing. But we can't yet say that we're "there" or that we even know what "there" will look like. Could Eugue Jarvis have predicted the evolution of games when he was busy writing Defender, Robotron or Stargate? No. Not with the best crystal ball available could anyone have seen how it would develop. So it will be with e-government. The best in class will progress beyond the Galaxians stage, although it will take a few iterations, into the world of online gaming. But if it took video games 26 years, how long will it take for e-government?

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