In 1982 Disney released a film that had some stunning special effects for it’s time, and in my opinion an outstanding storyline. This film was called Tron.
As a programmer, I can sympathize with the programs that I write. It may be a hard life being a programmer, but being a program is even harder.
For those of you who have never seen this film – where the hell have you been? OK, it’s an old film, but it’s on TV nearly every Christmas, although saying that I’m usually too drunk at that time of year to even realise what I’m watching, let alone what day of the week it is.
Anyway, for you unfortunate people who don’t know what is all about, heres a quick run down…
Lets start, in the words of Kevin Flynn, by setting the way-back machine for three years ago. One of Encom’s brightest software engineers, Kevin Flynn, writes a bunch of games, one of which is called Space Paranoids in his spare time. Then enters a not so bright but sneaky programmer called Ed Dillenger, who blatently steals the programs, passes them off as his own and rises to the top of the company and ends up as Senior Exec.
Flynn is a tad narked by this, so is now trying to break into Encom’s computer system to find that evidence that will prove that the programs are in fact his.
One problem though. This problem is know as the MCP, the Master Control Program. It’s a picky little system that has a serious attitude problem and wants to take over the world. Sounds like Microsoft Windows to me, but hey, that’s just my imagination.
Anyway, in order for Flynn to get the evidence he needs, he has to get by the MCP first.
Meanwhile Alan, a programmer, is writing a program called Tron, which is basically a security program, and is, well, going to cause a few problems for the MCP as the MCP is not exactly what you call an angel (Microsoft Windows?). The MCP, being a bit upset with this, instructs Dillenger to lock all programmers out of the system, and therefore Tron cannot continue to be written. Bummer.
So, off Flynn trots one day to try and hack into the system from inside Encom, with a little help from his friends. Instead of sitting at a terminal in a cubical somewhere, he uses one thats being used to test a new system that using a laser zaps an object, makes it disappear, and then make it reappear again. Clever stuff.
Needless to say, the program to do this is under the control of the MCP, so while Flynn is being a happy little hacker, the MCP zaps him, and Flynn ends up being just another program inside the system.
Following me so far?
Once inside, what follows brings a tear to all programmers everywhere. Their lovely little programs are being slapped around the face by the MCP (definitely sounds like Microsoft Windows to me). It makes them play games, and if they lose they are deleted (yup, Windows has done that with my programs many a time!)
All in all, its a hard life for the programs, and their only hope is their users. Only problem is that the MCP keeps “losing” (ha! Windows!) their programs. It does seriously make you wonder why your important documents and programs keep going on walkabouts.
Anyway, back to the point… Once in there, all Flynn has to do is arrange for Tron to give the MCP a dose of its own medicine and give it a good slapping and talking to. This is where the adventure begins.
I can’t really explain how good this film was, and is. I accept its not everyones cup of tea, but to anyone in the computer business, its a must see.
Anyone who is not, see it anyway. Go rent, buy, borrow, steal the film today.
End of line.