TheseÂ Two Stories from Matt Sailor were a great addition to our March Issue.
1. How would you have ended the E.T. video game?
Really, for all I know, the game could have a remarkable ending. But I’ll never know, because the game play is completely obtuse and impossible to navigate. But I think something resembling the actual ending of the movie could have been pretty trippy and amazing on the Atari–some big polygonal mother ship that you get to after an obligatory flying bike sequence.
2. Why would someone trying to kill Custer tie one of their women to a post to be raped by him? Was this decision influenced by the kind of drugs that Bushnell was on?
Luckily, I don’t think you can blame Nolan Bushnell for any of that, because those pornographic Atari games were unlicensed, an early form of digital piracy, essentially. I think it’s just some sick and twisted revenge fantasy on the part of whoever created it. I can only guess that like your less pornographic Atari games, the simplicity of the technology and graphical capability led programmers to go for something that could be rendered very clearly with very simplistic graphics. Why that translates to Custer raping a woman is just as baffling to me as it is to you. But I do think it’s interesting that games from that period (pornographic or otherwise) have this abstract quality (because of the graphics, the sound effects) that makes them so much more interesting than more recent games, which have a sort of predictable bent towards realism (or a sort of hyper-masculine attempt at realism that actually couldn’t be farther from realism).
3. What Star Trek: The Next Generation crew member best resembles you?
I don’t think it’ll come as any surprise to anyone who watches the show that I want to claim Data, the android who wants to be human. On a show that was so much about familiar archetypes and putting story over character, his search for humanity was one of the conflicts you could really latch onto. To me, he always seemed so much more human by virtue of his being so confused about what it meant to be human. He would ask the other crew members about some aspect of humanity, a joke, or a social convention, and they’d always be so eager to cogently explain to him exactly how that fit into their identity as humans. Which is funny, because for me I think it’s so much more human to not quite understand your motivations for things, and be constantly failing to understand why you do anything.
But that’s really wishful thinking, because I don’t think I’m actually anything like Data, who’s essentially a super hero. So, I’m going to go with a character named Barclay, a crew member who showed up in just a few episodes. He was this very nebbishy, neurotic, very socially inept crew member who was usually played for comedy. Sort of the Enterprise’s own Woody Allen. On a ship full of highly trained military officers, I think that’s the only person I could really hold a candle to. He was always getting infected by some alien life form, or jeopardizing the fate of the crew with his timid ways. My kind of guy.
4. Would you want to experience another lifetime if it only took you five minutes in this life?
The idea of it is so fascinating, but then you might not get a happy life where you have a nice family living in the space suburbs. You could get something a lot worse. I think the reason it was enticing for that character, Picard, was that he was always a lonely guy. He got to live that adventurous life, but he never found love or had a family. So, for him it was a fair trade. As someone who has love in his life, it seems like that could really mess things up. I might come back and not be able to readjust to that. But then again, if I get to be Data or something, I might do it.
5. What have you ever done on a veranda?
I live in Atlanta, which is pretty solidly in veranda country, so the answer is “many things,” preferably involving a mint julep. I’ve never had my own veranda, but I have had many porches. But it’s hot down here, so most of the year I’m inside in the air conditioning with my mint julep anyway.
6. Why does no one ever wish for more Captain Power?
You can really never bet against 80′s nostalgia, a fact that results in disaster more often than not. I’m sure there’s a Captain Power fansite, fan-edited wiki, fan fiction, or something out there. Maybe Michael Bay will pick up the rights and there will be an explosion-filled Captain Power in our near future, wished for or not.