Games no longer give your character a PDA within the first half-hour.

Was DOOM 3 one of the last (big-budget) games to give your character a PDA?

@lucasrizoli The Cyberpunk TTRPG calls all handheld computers “Agents” in its text (presumably from PDA derivation). I was disappointed in Cyberpunk 2077 to find it was just labeled “Phone” in the UI and haven’t heard any character yet refer to one as their Agent.

@max, yeah, “phone” is more or less what PDAs have become, in games and out.


@lucasrizoli I’ve been joking for years that “phone” is the modern word for computer and we just have to accept that. (AT&T was right in the 50s that would happen, but for the wrong reasons.) So far lapphone and deskphone haven’t caught on for the traditional PC form factors, but give it time…

My attempt to convince people we should call “3-D Printers” as “fax machines” so that we can call what they “print” “faxes” is less likely to happen. (What else do you call it? “3-D printed thing” yikes.)

@max, I agree with that.

"Computing" is what enables what it is that people use phones for—like "printing." "Phones" are just an easy way to introduce and understand that technology in people's lives.

A lot of our understanding advances through analogy. Cf. "e-mail," "movies," "DOOM clones," "Rogue-likes" whatever.

@max, but I like it when there's a bridge made between a game's story/world and its more direct, non-diegetic communication—esp. UI. And when that bridge ages differently than, say, other aspects of the game. Like explaining away the in-game menus as your character looking at some ridiculous 8-inch futuristic PDA.

@lucasrizoli In some ways “phone” is a better word for the noun of a device that “computes” than “computer”. That -er suffix comes from “person who does” and it probably is healthier not to indirectly/implicitly refer to devices as people.

(Then of course there’s the fact that using it as a device noun obscures and undignifies the real Hidden Figures style history of people who did that work when it job title, not a device.)

@max, you're making me think of "RKO Radio Pictures."

And, hey, "dinosaur" means "thunder lizard."

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