When your film or TV show takes place in a high-tech landscape, an important part of the mise en scène is the computer interface that your protagonist / supervillain uses to save the planet / initiate the self-destruct sequence. But time and again, that blockbuster GUI is far too high-tech for the film's setting... or just plain silly. According to a recent NPR interview with Hollywood interface designer Mark Coleran, this is no accident: the convention began in the early 1980s, when most people's computer knowledge was limited to coin-op videogames. "The entire point of those things," he says, "is to tell a story... in two seconds, onscreen." Besides, who among us hasn't wanted access to a smiley-faced "virus launch panel" at some point? Hit up the source links for some examples of UIs that have "gone Hollywood," and feel free to drop any of your favorites into the comments.

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