If you’re reading this, you know by now that Steve Jobs, former CEO and idea-man behind our modern world of consumer electronics, passed away yesterday.
Interestingly, many people have commented that they found out that he had died on their iPhones, the device for which he is largely responsible for ushering into the world. In fact, though, just by being on the computer and being able to enjoy reading anything at all, you’re doing so because of the tremendous influence that Jobs has had on the world of consumer electronics.
Personally, I learned that he had died after an evening of analogue activities. I had been playing Dungeons and Dragons at the comic book store—the kinds of comics you read on paper, not on a phone or a tablet. On my way home, I was listening to the radio—not my iPod—and the DJ on Minneapolis’s “The Current” station played Kraftwerk’s “Computer World” as a tribute to the fallen Apple-man.
I took one night off from looking into one of Steve’s screens, and doing so kept me in the dark.
By now, you’ve no doubt read various obituaries and other articles all about how important and influential he was, and how we’ve lost a genius. All of this is true.
Of course, if you’ve got an iPhone, or an iPod, or really any of the fancy GUI-rich smartphones that are dominating the world right now, Jobs is still alive—living in your pocket. Even personal computers’ interfaces, the scroll-bar, the mouse, just about every magic piece of technology we’ve come to accept as normal these days…his design sense and influence will live for a long, long time.
You may be reading this and wondering what Jobs has to do with video games, which is this site’s bread and butter. Well, the answer is, “a lot more than you might think.” One of the most important shifts in gaming today is the burgeoning emphasis on mobile games—a shift that never would have happened if not for the ubiquity of the iPhone and its descendants and imitators. Would the Nintendo 3DS be selling so poorly if there weren’t millions of people playing Angry Birds all day on their phones? Steve Jobs, without even trying, changed the landscape of the gaming industry—an industry he wasn’t even in. That’s how huge he was, and how huge an influence he had and will continue to have for decades after his death.
But don’t be too sad, you guys. Because, if you look closely, I think you’ll realize that he’ll be back…see for yourself:
I’m sure by this point he’s already regenerated into his new form and is back in his TARDIS, finally leaving his beloved Earth, off to save some other planet right now.
So long, Steve. Thanks for all the awesome stuff.