On a Silver Platter: CD-ROMs and the Promises of a New Technology

What a nerd I am.

During downtimes I often Google myself, usually finding nothing new or old worth writing home about.

Today, however, I came across a book review I wrote in 2003 for the Resource Centre for Cyberculture Studies (RCCS) at the University of Washington.

The book, called On a Silver Platter: CD-ROMs and the Promises of a New Technology (NYU Press, 1999) and edited by Greg M. Smith, perhaps unsurprisingly deals with the history of the CD-ROM.

I have absolutely no idea how I came across the book, or how I managed to convince the RCCS people that my review was worth publishing but there you have it.

2003 was, like, a different time, man. 

Here’s an extract from the review:

Speaking personally again for a moment, my first experience with the CD-ROM format was in the form of “Where in the World is Carmen San Diego” (actually bought for my young sister) and an absurdly addictive railroad game (whose name I cannot remember) with which my father, my brother, and I often spent lazy afternoons playing. The appeal of the former for me was that it offered a more realistic and visually stimulating version of the classic “Choose your own adventure” game (while still maintaining a visual tackiness unique to the 1980s), while the latter offered the entertaining option of attempting to build railway lines that crossed over a competing company’s tracks, or designing huge circular routes that displayed zero logic or understanding of railway systems (let alone systems theory). 

Most recently for me, I had the honor of having a poem of mine accepted for publication on a poetry CD-ROM, coming out of Brisbane, Australia, by the name of Papertiger. The only problem was, I’m a Mac user, and Papertiger is PC only. While not really explored in-depth in this collection, the politics of format conflict are almost deserving of a volume in their own right. 

Read the whole thing online.

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