Sheldon, in the Big Bang Theory, refers to our brains as the world’s most powerful graphics chips and has a series of adventures of imagination while wrangling with a text-adventure game. Underlying the shenanigans is a very fundamental question about the evolution of communication: how different is it really?
Elizabeth Eisenstein talks eloquently about the persistence of the past, and we can see many elements of this in the Big Bang Theory plot. Essentially Sheldon is having an adventure quest, and people have been sharing adventure quests since the earliest parts of recorded human history, examples include Greek and Egyptian mythology. Similarly, Leonard is attempting to continue his amorous adventures, and love stories date back to well before Adam and Eve of the bible.
*(Photo credit: http://historylists.org/other/list-of-15-most-worshiped-ancient-egyptian-gods-and-goddesses.html)
Another way to explore this would be to consider the permanence or duration of communication platforms in this scenario. Blocks of text move the characters of online games, but what really lasts longer? In the video clip, the map that Leonard quickly scrawled with pen and paper might last much longer than the video card or electronic memory storage on the computer – for example if Sheldon forgot to save his game before rushing off to bed.
In short, communication platforms are changing rapidly, but the stories are still based in our basic needs for things like food, shelter, and community. Peter Preston gives us a glimpse of the trends in the magazine industry, and many of the new physical magazines that are being created are in these key areas.
Eisenstein, E. L. (1995). The end of the book?: Some perspectives on media change. The American Scholar, 541-555.
Preston, Peter, (2012). “The writing is on the paywall – but the end of print is not quite
nigh,” The Guardian