Jesse Jarnow

mnemonic pinball, 5/07

What a specific, weird window of time: when the internet and pinball machines co-existed, and fantasies of one could be channeled into the other. Specifically, 1996, with the release of Johnny Mnemonic movie.

(Also, Centipede finally broke.)


  1. Russ says: - reply

    What you may not know about the back story here, Jesse…
    In the summer of 1995, I was a camp counselor at OBYG. One of my campers had a father who was a Hollywood movie director, Robert Longo. He directed Johnny Mnemonic and even included his 8-year-old kid as an extra in the flick.
    As a result, I went to see the movie at Ocean Beach–hoping to get a glimpse of my camper on the big screen.
    Johnny Mnemonic was one of the most confounding, pathetic, and disastrous movies I’ve ever seen–and it was all made worse with Keanu Reeves as the lead. I left the movie halfway through, never seeing the boy in the movie.
    But I always felt bad that he was in it. Oh, and looking at IMDB, it seems that the director never directed anything again.
    My guess is that that pinball machine was donated to the arcade by the family who lived out there. It just makes sense.
    The best part of the story is that each group at OBYG is supposed to come up with its name. As the 8-year-old group, they came up with names like “Crazy Eights.” But then the kid, who was quiet and withdrawn all summer, said “The Planet of the Eights.” And even though none of the other kids liked it–or understood it–I made that the official group name for the summer. At the time, it amazed me that a kid his age would know the movie… but then again, he was in “the biz.”

  2. Jesse says: - reply

    Aha. That makes sense. Though how do you explain the “Judge Dredd” game? 😉
    As a big William Gibson fan, I actually NetFlixed “Johnny Mnemonic” recently. It’s certainly awful, but not as bad as it could be. Considered as the only major film adaptation of Gibson’s work, it’s fascinating, though it doesn’t make a lot of concessions to people who aren’t cyberdorks, and still manages to treat the latter with some amount of condescension. Though, in a dated way, I certainly dug some of proto-Neo’s submersions in the Grid.

Leave A Reply