One Scan Per Week for Five Years

January 31st, 2011 by Benj Edwards

Retro Scan of the Week Turns Five

As of today, I have posted a Retro Scan of the Week every Monday for five years. That's 263 entries total — each post containing at least one scan of something deliciously vintage for you and yours to enjoy.

But wait a minute. Let's back up a bit to the "every Monday for five years" part. I can't quite believe that. Have I really been doing these scans for five years? Every single week? Dear God. As crazy as it sounds, the answer is yes.

I hear some of you chanting "speech," (or maybe that's just the audience of one inside by head) so I will say a few words of reflection.

The Retro Scan Scanner - an Epson Perfection 2480 PhotoFirst off, I'm surprised my scanner is still alive and kicking. I've used the same one for over five years now: an Epson Perfection 2480 Photo. And I've used it for more than just the Retro Scan of the Week. I have no special love for this particular scanner unit, the model, or the brand. It just happened to be the scanner I had when I started. My father gave it to me as a present in 2005, I believe.

Thanks to my scanning efforts, I cannot escape what I have created. Every time I research vintage stuff on Google for my freelance articles, I always run into a Retro Scan of the Week on Google Image Search. Without fail. It's kinda like how you accidentally find pornography even if you're searching for "A4 paper dimensions," although this happens through no devious machinations on my part. (It would be funny if, for a change, every time people searched for porn they found a RSOTW. Maybe in five more years.)

Watermarks Avoided

Watermark Overload I almost watermarked every one of my Retro Scans. Destructively so. There was a time in the early days of VC&G when the blog medium was so popular, hyped, and fast-growing that folks were copying my articles, scans, and everything wholesale and publishing them on their blogs without any form of attribution. It happened a lot.

I wanted to protect the work I put into finding and scanning the material I put up so others couldn't just snatch it away with no effort. That work was (and is) key to the soul of this blog; it makes VC&G what it is. Like many sites, I turned to watermarks.

It took a spirited, somewhat juvenile comment-tussle with archivist Jason Scott (I called him a communist, he called me a 'pile of glands with a weblog' — we have both since written kinder words) in March of 2006 to help me see the light. There would be no watermarks for images I didn't own.

A few weeks later, I thought of a compromise: the "tagstrip" — as I call it. It's that 45-pixel high black border I add on to the bottom of every image. It asks politely for honor-based credit while claiming no legal rights to images I didn't create myself.

I created the tagstrip to discourage both lazy hot linking without attribution and blatant bot-culling reposts. Meanwhile, the strip obscures none of the actual scan itself, so those who are interested can take the time to remove it. This approach has worked beautifully and it has encouraged many to give credit for my scanning efforts than would have otherwise.

By the way, I now agree with Jason Scott fully the topic of watermarks. Watermarks — on stuff you don't own — is for chumps. Chumps, I say. The practice is almost exactly like taking a big fat stinky dump on the floor in the middle of a party. I'll let you decode that one.

Times have Changed

Since I began posting regular scans in 2006, the novelty of vintage scans on the web has drastically subsided. Whereas in 2006-2007, many of my scans got link love from bigger blogs and sites like Digg, etc., now they are just part of the standard background noise on the Internet.

Get Somma That Tinney ActionMore people have scanners now. Vastly more scanned vintage computer and video game material is available on the web, including whole issues of vintage magazines. Kotaku started posting scans of arcade fliers not too long after RSOTW became popular, and I've seen more than a few VC&G-like blogs that now have scan features. Our watermarking argument even inspired Jason Scott to create digitize.textfiles.com, the un-RSOTW.

But I'm not complaining at all. In part, I created this new world we live in. I keep scanning because it's not just the scan files themselves that make Retro Scan of the Week what it is. It's the whole package: the pride I take in selecting entertaining scans, the hours I put into cleaning up the dust and scratches on every one, the additional commentary that I try to add where possible, and best of all, the reader conversation that surrounds each entry via the "Discussion Topic of the Week."

RSOTW has become the office water cooler of this site — a place where like minds can gather and chat. I like that a lot. I suspect I'll keep doing this until I get tired of it. Or until Jason Scott breaks my scanner with a sledgehammer.

Retro Scan of the Week Anthology

Below you'll find a list of links to every single Retro Scan of the Week column posted on VC&G up to this point (263 total). I hope you enjoy looking back over them. If do you undertake such an epic review, I suggest clearing your schedule because it may take a while.

Just for trivia's sake: the Retro Scan with the most comments so far is "The Most Complicated Video Game Controller Ever Devised" with 47. Second place goes to "Double Dragon: The Movie" with 40 comments.

2006:

  1. "When to Use Low Speed Modems"
  2. "Presenting The IBM of Personal Computers"
  3. "The Next Step in Nintendo Entertainment!"
  4. "Fun For the Entire Family"
  5. Apple Lisa 5 1/4″ "Twiggy" Floppy Diskette
  6. "Call Inmac for those hard-to-find drive filters!"
  7. "Play it Loud!" Super Game Boy Flier
  8. "Video Game Saver (Never Die) with Unlimited Fun"
  9. The Perfect Heathkit Robotic Family
  10. "Introducing the IBM 5110 Computing System"
  11. "Good Gobbling and Good Luck"
  12. Gay Pac-Man and Floating "Video Wafers"
  13. Little Timmy and the Arm-length Power Glove
  14. "10 Megabyte Hard Disk: $3,495″
  15. "Permanent Video Game Instructions"
  16. Epyx 500XJ Joystick
  17. "How to Make Your Computer Even More Boring"
  18. "Authentic Sega Gear"
  19. Bill Cosby Fondles a TI-99/4A
  20. "Soft Wear Versus Hard Wear"
  21. Atari's (Obscure) Supporting Cast
  22. Not so fast, Apple Boy!
  23. "The Atari Club. Awesome!"
  24. The Apple IIe: Part of this Complete Breakfast
  25. Freaky Caterpillar Ships, 12 O'Clock!
  26. "Student's Guide to Computer Language"
  27. Special Edition: Atari Force #1 In-Depth Extravaganza!
  28. Weller's Psychedelic Apple II Painting
  29. Nintendo Power Cyborg Attack!
  30. Commodore 64 Expansion Accessories
  31. Apple II Caption Contest
  32. The Most Complicated Video Game Controller Ever Devised
  33. Tiger's R-Zone — the Ultimate Eye Strain Device
  34. "Get Hardcore about Software with Microsoft."
  35. Tons of Nintendo 64 Gear
  36. The Heavyweight Wrestler's Computer
  37. Computer Nurse Caption Contest
  38. Super Breakout's Rainbow-Smashing Astronaut
  39. Some Like it Hex
  40. Think You're Frustrated with Computers?
  41. "So You Want to Be a Video Games Inventor"
  42. Multitasking Video Game Kid
  43. Some Wood For Your 'Stick
  44. "Are Computers Bringing Familes Together, or Tearing Them Apart?"
  45. "52 Super Video Games in One Cartridge!"
  46. Your Atari Christmas List
  47. Christmas 1983 Challenge
  48. A Very TRS-80 Christmas

2007:

  1. "Omega Race Finally Comes Home!"
  2. Ohio Scientific Challenger 4P
  3. And Now…The Atari Calculator
  4. The Art of the Vectrex Overlay
  5. Atari Lynx, Only $99.95
  6. Pizza Kid Caption Contest
  7. Dubious Joystick Enhancements
  8. Baton TelePlay Modem for NES and Genesis
  9. Bentley Bear Touched My Bum!
  10. GTE ActionStation XT300
  11. "Our Way of Saying Thanks"
  12. The Ultimate Pac-Man Room
  13. The First Microsoft Mouse
  14. Strategy Guide for the "Worst Game Ever"
  15. Isaac Asimov's "Favorite Color Computer"
  16. Daddy's Little Surgeon
  17. Vintage Computer T-Shirts
  18. Wico Computer Command Joystick
  19. P1-14 Punch Card Terminal
  20. Special Edition: "At Last! Reality For the Masses!"
  21. Humble Beginnings
  22. Ouch
  23. Architecture Caption Contest
  24. Infocom Zombie Deprogramming
  25. War + Mech = "Kinda Cool"
  26. Mind-Blowing Software
  27. It's Alive! — Floppy Disk Robots
  28. Ultima VII Immortality Contest
  29. Biofeedback Game Interface
  30. Absolute Amphibian Mastery
  31. Zelda: Ocarina of Time Merchandise
  32. The 3-Inch Compact Floppy Disk
  33. Game Boy Bubble Gum
  34. The HP-150 Touchscreen Computer
  35. TSR Computer Games
  36. A Prayer for Computers
  37. Eight Ways to Play Q*Bert
  38. Special Edition: Keith Courage in Alpha Zones Mini Comic
  39. 100 Megabytes: $45,700
  40. Vintage Hair Loss
  41. 46 Odyssey² Games
  42. Donkey King
  43. Sharp Retro Scanner
  44. Halloween Caption Contest
  45. The $129 Dollar Numeric Keypad
  46. The Voice — Odyssey 2 Speech Synthesizer
  47. Fishing for Dolphins
  48. Precursor to the Digital Camera
  49. Castle Wolfenstein: Bring an Allied Soldier Home for Christmas
  50. RB5X: Your Christmas Robot
  51. Hot CoCo (2) for Christmas
  52. Santa's Big Secret
  53. Father Pac-Time Gobbles up the New Year

2008:

  1. Bill Gates, Tandy Celebrity Spokesman
  2. Paranormal Pole Position
  3. "What's Wrong With Copying Software?"
  4. NCSU Computer Punch Card
  5. Father/Son Caption Contest
  6. TAC-2: Totally Accurate Controller
  7. SNES Save State Device
  8. Atari Beach Puzzle
  9. The Super Gorilla Advantage
  10. Hairy Man-Thigh Computing
  11. Atari 2600 Computer Attachment
  12. Child as Executioner
  13. Man's New Best Friend?
  14. Choose Your Own Adventure
  15. Fly in the Face of Reality
  16. Too Little, Too Late?
  17. Online Dating, Circa 1985
  18. Online Gaming, 1992 Style
  19. Censored by Electronic Games Magazine
  20. Peer Inside the Robot Brain
  21. Holy Video Games, Batman!
  22. The Transistor
  23. Hand-to-Handheld Combat
  24. Stunning IBM PC Paper Art
  25. Virtual Reality, Real Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  26. Where's the Bits?
  27. Blaster Master 2
  28. Special Edition: IBM Taught Me How to Read
  29. Floppy Girl Doesn't Remember
  30. Robots + Golf = Brilliant!
  31. Hemingway's Computer?
  32. Better Than Being God
  33. EPYX Summer Games
  34. Finally — The TI-99/4
  35. Prepare for Street Combat
  36. TV is Now Here
  37. Boil Over with Mr. Cool
  38. James Bond on CompuServe
  39. Game Boy Punishment?
  40. Trapped in a Terminal Maze
  41. Sexual Cotton
  42. Interact Home Computer
  43. Flippin' Enjoystick
  44. Satanic Printing Rites
  45. The Sega Mating Game
  46. The TRS-80 Model 12
  47. Ocarina of Time, Ten Years Later
  48. NEC PC-8401A Lap-Top
  49. Kraft Premium Joystick
  50. TrackMan Marble FX
  51. Atari 2600 Newspaper Ad
  52. A Peachtree Christmas
  53. Forget the CD — Here's the Optical Card

2009:

  1. From My Pocket to You
  2. Not Quite Photoshop
  3. Double Dragon: The Movie
  4. Atari Basketball Catalog
  5. Hand Cramp Keyboard
  6. Ultima V
  7. L.A. Crackdown
  8. Software Piracy
  9. Double Dungeons
  10. CompuServe Borg Cube
  11. Rub the Game Genie
  12. BASIC in your Pocket
  13. Meet Spikemaster
  14. Alien Brigade (Atari 7800)
  15. Apple II Newspaper Ad
  16. Game Boy is Twenty
  17. Zenith Laptops of Olde
  18. Crystalis
  19. Computer Insurance
  20. Wasteland
  21. Kensington Expert Mouse
  22. TurboGrafx-16 Logo
  23. A Scientific Apple II
  24. Ikari Warriors (Atari 7800)
  25. Sony Digital Mavica FD-7
  26. Konami Arcade Assault
  27. Excelerator Plus
  28. Multi-Platform Mania
  29. Half-Naked Astroman
  30. Shugart Floppy Sandwich
  31. A Little Too Real
  32. Compucolor II
  33. Dungeons and Demons — The Infraceptor Watch
  34. The $99 Floppy Drive
  35. Super Mario World 2
  36. TRS-80 Word Processing
  37. The Thrill of Capcom
  38. The Macintosh Portable
  39. Nintendo 64 Launch
  40. TRS-80 Propaganda For Kids
  41. Ultima VI
  42. Sharp 286 VGA Notebook
  43. Splatterhouse 3
  44. 30 Years of VisiCalc
  45. Wall Street Kid (NES)
  46. Corvus Apple II Hard Drive
  47. The NES Action Set Family
  48. Terminal Innuendo
  49. Special Edition: Milton-Bradley Microvision
  50. Give The Gift of TRS
  51. Kickle Cubicle Blows In
  52. Sony 3.5″ Floppy Disk

2010:

  1. InterAct Sharkwire Online
  2. The Cambridge Z88
  3. Target: Renegade
  4. The Savage Empire
  5. Barbie and Hot Wheels PCs
  6. Borge Specifies Verbatim
  7. Mega Man Battle & Chase
  8. The Atari 1200XL
  9. SNK Neo Geo Pocket Color
  10. Flying Disks of Formaster
  11. Harvest Moon 64
  12. Hyper Lode Runner
  13. The Too-Personal Computer
  14. Lawfully Wedded Tomato
  15. The DEC Rainbow 100
  16. IBM ScrollPoint Mouse
  17. Magical Nipples of Solstice
  18. The IBM PC Kid
  19. Screaming for Games
  20. The BBC Microcomputer
  21. Werewolf: The Last Warrior
  22. Orange+Two Apple II Clone
  23. Nintendo Scratch-Off Cards
  24. AT&T VideoPhone 2500
  25. Tiger Game.com
  26. Paul Revere's Midnight Modem
  27. Rampant Inflation
  28. Road Rash 64
  29. The Whole Dam Thing
  30. ASG Video Jukebox
  31. All Hail Bob, Destroyer of Worlds
  32. Quake II Meat Market
  33. Grolier's Encyclopedia on CompuServe
  34. Times of Lore
  35. Apple IIc Flat Panel Display
  36. Nintendo vs. Sega: Christmas 1987 Shootout
  37. Radio Shack Slot Machine
  38. Procomm Plus for Windows
  39. Sargon III
  40. Computer/Phone/Terminal
  41. "The First-Ever Dragon Combat Simulator!"
  42. Model No. NES-001
  43. Now It's a Tough Choice
  44. Witchaven
  45. Early Online Game Service
  46. Philips CD-RW Drive
  47. An Apple //c Thanksgiving
  48. Dungeon Master II
  49. Duke Nukem Boy
  50. Give Your Apple Vision for Christmas
  51. Datalife Holiday Pack

2011:

  1. Star Wars Demolition
  2. ICD Atari ST Hard Drive
  3. Sega Genesis Extras
  4. Hosted by Mark Hamill
  5. Ominous Zelda Portents


8 Responses to “One Scan Per Week for Five Years”

  1. ChasBeau Says:

    Mister Benj:

    I have followed your efforts over the past years and very much appreciate that your posts have raised the quality of my leisure time!

    Thank ewe !

  2. DNA Says:

    Here! Here!

  3. Andrew Fisher Says:

    I love seeing the new scan each week, and am amazed your scanner is still running! I also feel it is important that people are archiving the history of the computer/gaming industry - as a regular writer on Retro Gamer magazine, it is a shame to hear that people no longer have design documents, sketches and even digital backups of what they have made. So in a small way you are helping preserve history.

  4. Benj Edwards Says:

    Thanks for the kind words, guys. What does everyone else think? Should I stop after five years or keep going?

  5. Trevor Says:

    Just wanted to say how much your Retro Scans are appreciated. I only came upon this site and your blog recently, but I've very much enjoyed going through these scans. For people my generation (X), I guess it's mostly about nostalgia, but I'd imagine its also fascinating for younger people too.

    I find these interesting for same reasons that technology magazines are the only ones I enjoy reading very old issues of: it brings back a of memories, but it also puts things in perspective to see how things we thought were SO important (like the baud speed of your modem!) are almost forgotten terms now. Plus, as Andrew mentioned, there's an important archival benefit to this!

    Anyways, thanks for all the work you put into this so far, and I hope you're encouraged to keep it up!

  6. Manstallion Says:

    I think you should definitely continue .. but I think you should really take a vacation or do something where you do not have access to a computer for a least one or two mondays!

  7. Andrew Says:

    Keeeeep going Benj! :D

    Also you were on GamOvr :D

    http://gamovr.mx981.com/post/2782

  8. lilimist Says:

    Pleeease keep going :D I'm pretty much a newbie to this blog too (I found it early last year when I was looking to buy a Z88; about a year and one Z88 later I'm still poking my head in.) This is the closest thing I have to being a little girl again, sitting in my dad's bedroom before he woke up on a Sunday morning, flicking through Byte/RUN/Gazette etc — only now I have a backlit screen so I don't have to ruin my eyes. :P Thanks for all the hard work and the glows of nostalgia ;)

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