Atari: From the beginning, part 2

No Caption Provided
From the start, we had a great many lofty goals for Black ICE\White Noise (hereafter referred to as BIWN, which you may pronounce as "bewn" if you're into using your fingers as laser guns). First of all, we wanted to bring to gaming William Gibson's vision of cyberspace -- the "consensual hallucination" of virtual reality. When players accessed c-space -- or "jacked in, as was the popular parlance at the time -- they'd see an infinite plain of solid black, adorned with polygonal constructs in Lawnmower Man-esque colors and shapes. We wanted hacking to feel more active and exciting than simply sitting at a terminal and typing. More on this later.
Second of all, we would shoot full-motion video of all of our in-game characters, a la Mortal Kombat. This would mean casting, travel down to LA to shoot against a blue screen (this was before the industry standardized on green screens -- I know, the history of it all!), and constant reshoots. Agonizing detail to come.
Third of all, we'd devised a rather ingenious (as we thought) idea for in-game advertising: billboards within the virtual space of the game. Players, traversing the city, would walk, drive, or fly past advertising emblazoned across and above buildings, just like in real life. No other game had done this by that time, and we thought we'd invented a particularly crafty addition to the standard marketing model. Who knew that it was an idea ahead of its time?
BIWN was going to be packed with references, in-jokes, and pop culture to the nth degree. We were psyched to start, we had the green light, and everything seemed as rosy as the light from a pixelated explosion. If only we knew exactly how apt that metaphor would prove to be in the months to come.