The cover story, penned by Bruce Sterling, is one in a long history of virtual war stories that Wired would publish. It forgoes references to Ender’s Game, but doesn’t leave out video game comparisons. “It’s modern Nintendo training for modern Nintendo war.” Considering that the page directly preceding this is an ad for a new book called The Windows 3.1 Bible, it seems difficult to image how revolutionary these virtual war games could have been.
But what the other features portend has become a Wired hallmark: the clash between culture and technology. John Markoff’s story on cellphone hacking dissects a digital subculture in a way that would be replicated several times in the proceeding decade. Similarly, the Otaku feature was prescient in its analysis of Japanese society before it had become a Western obsession. And an interesting note: the story on Richard Stallman’s obstacles toward free software doesn’t include the phrase “open source” because it had yet to even be popularized.
In retrospect, it’s unclear which side of this great divide the actual editors themselves fell on. On its maiden voyage, Wired deemed Nintendo a tired entity, while the long-forgotten gaming console 3DO was celebrated as wired. And for mysterious reasons, painting (painting?) crept into wired status, while performance (performance?) was strangely shelved as tired. But the clincher certainly had to be declaring REM (who had just released their best album, Automatic for the People) tired, but passing wired status onto midwest alt-country act The Jayhawks. This is akin to saying that Graham Parsons was a great DJ.
(via Robot Wisdom).