The Distant Future

In the TV show Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Picard relaxes by playing a computerized role-playing game in the holodeck, a place capable of temporarily creating (somewhat) solid matter, up to and including living things. While it's anyone's guess whether we'll ever develop the holodeck, Picard's “holonovels” have a lot in common with games that already exist: simulated characters, a fantasy setting, and a plot whose progress is influenced by the player. They do contain a few improvements over current games, however. Picard can interact with the people in the story in all the same ways that he could with real people, he isn't perpetually stopping to look at his statistics, and he doesn't have to stuff everything he ...

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