I remember when Cyberpunk and Shadowrun (some old pen and paper RPGs) predicted the "Net" and virtual avatars running all over the place. It was quite a few years before the internet was declassified and made available for the mass public.
In fact I played countless RPGs which had some sort of "matrix"-like reality, or aspect to them. So its definately not new. But people who arent geeks (like me) had no idea this mythology was going on - so for them, the Matrix was coming out of nowhere.
"When the bomb drops it'll be a bank holiday
Everybody happy in their tents and caravans
Everybody happy in their ignorance and apathy
No one realizes until the television breaks down..."