This week my wife and I toured the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. The center does fascinating work, and is housed in a great I.M. Pei building. The main atraction for me, though, was the very first Cray Super-computer on display, with its prodigious 8 MB of memory and processing speed a little less than my current home desktop.

During the tour, the guide pointed out that the Playstation’s architecture is somewhat similar to the Cray. I thought about how game machines prove that speed and features are not the be-all and end-all of a machine–if they were, the gamer world would be entirely PC-based. Instead, it must function well at a do-able price and carve out its niche.

The idea of “place” in this setting is not just geographic, but also a state of mind. The best way to market a device, it seems to me, is to create a mythos of place–in the way the game console has a “place” in every home, and in the way the mobile phone has a “place” in every pocket.