Awakened Boston - Shadows of the New World

Updates between sessions: Changes

Changing Times
What Changed
Technology rolls back to something resembling circa 1990

  • There are no search engines, no wikis, no wi-fi
  • BBS ‘Networks’ are what you connect to if you have a computer
    • Browsers have evolved to display their content
    • They sync with one another to disseminate content
    • Certain boards specialize in certain content.
    • Local BBS’s can be looked up in the phone book.
    • Google and Wikipedia are pipe dreams that exist only in fiction.
  • Instant Networked Payment systems don’t exist
    • Credit Cards can be stolen and used for days before they’re flagged as bad transactions.
  • You may carry a PDA Phone, but there are no Smart Phones
    • Palm is the major player in the market, followed by Nokia
  • 80-486 like chips are the latest & greatest
    • Moore’s Law has been violated.
      • In fact, you see no reference to it, or to Gordon Moore, anywhere.
    • SVGA is the bleeding edge of graphics
    • VHS tapes are for movies (no DVDs) , and CDs still compete with cassettes
  • Pay phones and pagers are back in abundance
  • Other Changes
    • Lunar Landings didn’t occur until 1979 (assuming they weren’t faked.)
      • The Soviets reportedly made it first, but were unable to return the Cosmonauts
    • The economic boom of the 1990’s never occurred.
      • There was growth during that period, but it wasn’t as explosive.
      • The Housing Bubble still burst and caused the Great Recession of ‘08-’09.
      • The market has largely recovered, and the DOW is currently just shy of 8,000 points.

What Else Changed?
I’ve wracked my brain to think of what might be different in 2014 if technology was suddenly rolled back to what we had in 1990, and came up with the list above. I suspect I’m missing a few things, though, so I’m offering BPs for ideas. If computers were beige again, and there was no internet, what would the world be like?

Keep in mind, time has not rolled back. It’s still February, 2014, and things have evolved (slightly) beyond what we had in 1990. So I’m asking for what’s new (BBS networks, for example) as well as what’s missing.


More notes:

  1. Some of the advances in medical science have been undone by the recent Change
    1. A number of drugs and treatments for illnesses were delayed in their development, or have yet to be developed.
    2. The Jarvik-7 artificial heart was not first used until 1995. Artificial hearts are still partly experimental.
    3. AIDS is still a lethal disease in the western world; prevention is the only available ‘treatment’.
  2. Geo-politically, not a great deal has changed except that native cultures hold greater power within their nations; and some hold sovereign territories of their own.
    1. Mexican natives govern several territories.
    2. Southwestern U.S. reservations act as semi-independent states with special Representatives (but not Senators) in D.C
    3. The Republica de Inca governs a small territory from it’s ancient capital, Machu Picchu.
    4. The Dreamtime Territory is an Australian state within a state; It holds power in the central continent, but it’s boarders are disputed.
    5. The Arab Spring never occurred. There is no Twitter, so dictators are safe.
  3. The Titanic was discovered, but not until 1993. It has been visited only a few times by submersibles, one of which is now a wreck near the site.
  4. Development of the Space Shuttle has been delayed by budgetary cutbacks to NASA for over a decade.
  5. To meet EPA regulations, most cars are smaller and/or noticeably less powerful since the Change.
    1. Rio’s Jeep is lacking some horsepower.
    2. Alex’s car is positively claustrophobic.
    3. The back seat of Desmond’s sedan is, unbelievably, even more uncomfortable.
    4. The T is more popular / crowded than you remember.
  6. Apple is a semi-popular competitor to the X86 Computer market, but is far from the powerhouse that it’s founder believed it was destined to be.
  7. Law and public rhetoric against illegal drugs is indeed stronger than ever. Despite this, the ‘drug culture’ seems to be alive and well, if still very underground. Aside from the absence of a few choice pharmaceuticals, Declan’s ability to get high has not been severely diminished.

One of the more popular systems on the market today bears a strong resemblance to the Amiga 500. It’s buisness applications are underdeveloped though (the latest version of VisiKalc for instance, has not been released for this system) and it’s primarily used as a home computer system.

GPS satellites have not been deployed, and the system is unlikely to be realized in the near future. A ground based system, working off of a similar concept, is supposedly being tested by the army and air force, but is rumored to be limited by its range. Radio navigation is still the norm for trans-ocianic flights and shipping.

Rand McNally is still big. Duct tape a Leatherman are still critical parts of a do-it-yourselfer’s tool kit.


The amount of Tass that Rio’s gifts are granting has not diminished, but it’s now being stored on 5¼" floppy disks.

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daniel_reardon daniel_reardon

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