This particular image, titled "Another Day at the Office," is one of the gems of my personal GIF collection. I believe I downloaded it from CompuServe, and I likely downloaded it on the file date, June 16, 1996.
The image itself is a computer-crafted ode to Doom II that merges a real digitized photograph with imagery ripped straight from id Software's famous first-person shooter.
Such a passion for Doom II in the workplace isn't foreign to me. In an office where I worked in the mid-late 1990s, certain engineers were known to play late night four-player Doom deathmatches over the company LAN.
The awning of the building displays the name of a real company located in South Bend, Indiana that makes educational administrative software. Presumably, the artist worked there at the time he created this image. I'd rather not spell out its name here just to spare them the possibility of this image popping up first if someone Googles their name.
You may wonder why I am trying to give the company a modicum of privacy when someone made this image and uploaded it to CompuServe over 16 years ago. You have to keep in mind that uploading to CompuServe meant a very small audience in those days compared to the web of today. Whomever uploaded it had no idea it would end up with such a large audience decades later.
A caption at the bottom of the image mentions the artist's name, Stephen Steininger. I attempted to contact Mr. Steininger by making a few calls in the area, but had no luck. If he finds this post, I hope he can tell us more about how he made the image.
Using public records of the company's HQ around 1996, I have found the location where the actual building in this photo once stood. Sadly, it was torn down in 2006 to make room for a Chick-fil-A and a Texas Roadhouse restaurant.
Thanks to the miracles of modern technology, you can still see the building in Google Earth if you plug in these coordinates: 41°37′38.44″N, 86°15′6.21″W. Use the timeline tool to load up historical aerial image data from before 2006 to see it. For reference, the awning seen in the Doom image faces the east in the aerial photograph shown above.
Based on the year Steininger created this image — likely 1995 or 1996 — he could have used a Macintosh or an IBM PC compatible. It's presented in a rather high resolution for the time, 800×600 pixels. The company's name is referenced in the file name, which also leads me to believe that this image was created for intra-office amusement. It's an incredible piece of 1990s digital fan art that really captures the spirit of working (and playing) in a computer-equipped office at the time.
|Retro GIF of the Week Fact Box|
|Source File Name:||LOW_DOOM.GIF|
|Earliest Known File Date:||June 16, 1996 - 7:31:54 PM Eastern|
|Source File Format:||GIF - 87a (non-interlaced)|
|Dimensions:||800 x 600 pixels|
|Color Depth:||8-bits per pixel (256 colors)|
|24-bit (16,777,216 colors)|
|Origin Platform:||Likely IBM PC or Macintosh|
|Derived From:||Digital photograph scanned by artist, Doom II artwork|
|Creation Date:||Circa 1994-1996|
|If you know more about the origin of this image, please leave a comment.|