The weirdest moment in Logan's Run is probably that bit where we see Logan selecting a sex partner via a remote control, and the chosen partner teleports into his home. But the trouble with that scene isn't just the weird "dialing for casual sex" vibe — it's the terrible user interface, argues expert Chris Noessel.
(Skip to about 4:46 in the video above.)
Noessel is the co-author of Make It So: Interaction Design Lessons from Science Fiction (we featured an excerpt here.) He gave the above talk at Boing Boing's Ingenuity summit in San Francisco a while back, listing the best and worst computer interfaces in science fiction — and Logan's Run counts in the "best worst" category.
Noessel explains what's wrong with the "dialing for sex" scene:
After a hard day of chasing down fugitives, [Logan] wants to relax at home and add a little sex to his evening. To do that, he grabs a remote control and uses a device called the Circuit. So he starts to tune the device in. He slowly tunes in the first potential candidate, who likes what he sees. [But that's] not Logan's speed. So he tunes in again — so marvelously goofy — and he sees Jessica 5, who winds up being the second protagonist for the film. He likes what he sees. She's a little curious, but he grabs her by the hand and invites her into his home.
This is so awful. And I know where this came from. There were a couple of movie producers in Hollywood who were like reading Penthouse and were high off their asses — and they were like, 'Dude, we're movie producers. We can make this!' But it makes no sense from the user's point of view — especially Jessica's. We're talking about the male gaze in cinema, writ large. And what happens to her body when she's sort of mistuned? What if you put the device down when she's halfway tuned in? And there's no preferences on the thing. Like, if he wasn't interested in a dude, why did he have to go through that? So it just makes zero sense. It is a miserable interface. For everybody involved. To get off the Circuit, she has to go through the dude's home, even if she's just tired. And she doesn't know where she is, she's gotta like find her way back to her apartment.
On the plus side, notes Noessel, this interface is "cheesy and campy, and it beat Chat Roulette to the punch by about 30 years." Watch the whole video above for more awesoem and terrible user interfaces. [via Boing Boing]