Last updated on September 20th, 2023 at 09:03 am
Timothy Leary was an American psychologist and author known for his advocacy of psychedelic drugs as LSD in the late 60s and 70s,
and cause of this he got several problems with the law and had to flee away from United States reaching Africa (Tangeri), Switzerland, and Afghanistan.
However in the beginning of 90s, he became fascinated by computers, he thought of computers as “the LSD of the 1990s”, thus he founded the Software House Futique Inc., becoming a devoted to the development of computer software, and in the specific to the virtual reality.
As he explained: “the word “cyber” comes from the Greek “kibernetes”, which means “pilot”, and was used for the “pilot” of the boat. Hence, the concept of “pilot of one’s own existence“.
The most famous video game created by Futique was Mind Mirror, a sort of neural simulator through which the player could explore his own psyche and have the ability to create a map.
The game, developed for Commodore 64, Apple and PC-IBM.
Timothy Leary’s Mind Mirror is a unique and innovative game that was published by Electronic Arts in 1986 for IBM PC, Apple II, and Commodore 64. The game was designed by Timothy Leary, a former Harvard professor and a well-known figure in the psychedelic movement. Mind Mirror is a combination of psychology, self-help, and interactive gaming, and it allows players to explore their own minds and reprogram their brains.
The game is based on psychometric ideas from Leary’s own 1957 PhD dissertation on personality. Mind Mirror allows the player to digitize their thoughts, compare them with other thoughts, and engage in a variety of activities designed to help them explore their own minds. The game is not just a game, but a valuable tool to help players explore their own minds and gain a better understanding of themselves.
One of the interesting features of Mind Mirror is its open-ended gameplay. The player is free to explore their own mind and pursue their own goals, whether that be self-improvement, self-discovery, or simply having fun. The game also features a variety of different activities and exercises to choose from, allowing players to customize their experience.
Although Mind Mirror is no longer available for purchase, it can be run in a DOS emulator and is still enjoyed by retro gaming enthusiasts today. It is a fascinating and unique game that is well worth playing for anyone interested in psychology, self-help, or interactive gaming.
Timothy Leary’s scientific career began with The Interpersonal Diagnosis of Personality (1950), named the best book of the year by the American Psychological Association. The “Diagnostic Grid,” the basis of this book, is the basis of this game.
Timothy Leary’s Mind Mirror is software program that Tim created with Bob Dietz and Peter Van den Beemt back in 1985. It runs on the IBM PC with a CGA graphics card in 4 color mode, on the Apple II, and on the Commodore 64. It requires a floppy drive. It was published by Electronic Arts and sold about 65,000 copies over the course of about two years.
EA wanted to capitalize upon the good doctor’s wild & zany notoriety, and Tim obliged. It is based on Tim’s work on psycho-metrics from the 1950’s and allows users to define, compare and role play personalities. One of the most innovative ideas about the program is that role playing someone else will teach you about yourself and others.
The limitations of the 1985 computers forced many compromises on the presentation of the text and graphics. Electronic Arts abandoned the program many years ago and Timothy’s Estate recently sold its rights in Mind Mirror to the original developers and programmers. They are working with Edward Craig, who has licensed the product, to extend its capabilities to modern computers and the Internet.
Mind Mirror allows the performer to digitize (scope) any thought, compare it with other thoughts and compare thoughts with others, and to engage in simulation of various roles.
A mind-movie version of William Gibson’s epic novel Neuromancer was in development before the project was given to Interplay. The project used similar technology to Mind Mirror.
In 1992 he opened his personal Internet , Leary.com, site which remained unvaried until nowadays.
In 2011, the New York Public Library received many files, many which were unpublished from his company, and within those files, came many experimental video games that were kept private, until now:
“When Timothy Leary died in 1996, he was eulogized as the godfather of the drug-fueled Sixties counterculture. But now, material unearthed in Leary’s archive at the New York Public Library may earn him respect as an early adventurer in another arena: video games… The games were still in development, so they’re buggy, warned Donald Mennerich, the digital archivist who led the project. But Leary’s games, Mr. Mennerich added, are also right in line with some of the ideas about interactivity that prevail in digital culture today… Leary brought an angle of psychological interaction to this idea of interactive gaming, this idea of reprogramming your brain… It didn’t catch on then, but he was pretty far ahead of the curve.”
“The Leary archive, however, does contain another Haring-related surprise: several disks inscribed with hand-written messages from the artist (“Drink Me,” reads one), as well as five digital Haring drawings made with MacPaint software. Ben Fino-Radin, a digital conservator at the Museum of Modern Art whose office is down the street from the library’s digital archives lab in Queens, said that when he saw the drawings his jaw dropped. Computer art isn’t something you associate with Haring, Mr. Fino-Radin said. That’s just part of his story that hasn’t been told at all.”
A Leary game concept called “SKIPI”: Super Knowledge Information Processing Interface.Credit Courtesy of New York Public Library, Manuscripts and Archives Division: