The Terrible Touchscreen Interface in Die Hard

The Terrible Touchscreen Interface in Die Hard

The Nakatomi Corporation appears to be doing pretty well and Nakatomi Plaza is the jewel in their corporate crown. It has everything you could want, including new cutting edge computer powered touchscreen directories.

Unfortunately the interface on these directories is about to run into a lot of trouble. Sure Nakatomi Plaza is not very full now, but once construction is done it is going to swell with workers.

When that happens, these directories will be populated with hundred, maybe even thousands of workers. It is at this point they will need to make some changes to their touchscreen directory. Why? It needs a back button.

Let me walk you through John McClane’s visit to see his wife at the annual Christmas Party.

John beholds the future of building directories!
John is not impressed by the “cute toy.”
John goes the M section of the directory. Lot of Ms.
Weird she is not on this page, but he has another page. So he clicks the “Next Screen.”
Alright, next screen. But wait, still no Holly McClane. Well I guess I will just hit the back button. No back button?!

You see the problem here? John needs to Exit it to the main page and start over if he need to go back.

It is not a big deal with so few people working at Nakatomi, but what if they had dozens of pages or what if you were unsure of the spelling of the person you were trying to visit? It would be a nightmare.

John hits exit.
John finds Holly under her maiden name. Again, he is not impressed.

It is a seemingly minor part of Die Hard and does not take away from the film, but I find these depictions of computer interfaces fascinating.

I for one could not wait to get more touchscreen time as kid. So these were influential glimpses of tech. Unfortunately, like most movie technology, not a lot of thought was put into the reality and it is the fine corporate citizens of Nakatomi and their guests who will ultimately pay the price.

Look at all those names!

Pausing and rewatching this scene gave me time to really read the names in the directory and some of them are pretty great and would make a good alias. Some of my favorites include:

  • Bruce Gfeller
  • David Gary
  • Betty Goods
  • Margaret Moody
  • Ann Mabry

But the best in the lot has to be Man, M.R. or Mr. Man. What a wonderful little joke.

The Retroist

The Retroist is like a BBQ on a bun without the bones. You're only human daddy. Chomp!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. I like the 87¢ a gallon gas from the Officer Powell convenience store / gas station scene…miss those days

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