Archive for the 'Art' Category

[ Newsbits ] June 29, 2016

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

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VC&G Newsbits Logo

Vintage computing and retrogaming news small enough to eat.

I've recently received a big influx of news, announcements, and press releases, so I thought I'd bring Newsbits out of cold storage and use it to share everything all at once.

Recent News

  • Producer of The Oregon Trail Donates Collection to The Strong

    It's wonderful to see this stuff preserved, as always

    A group of former employees from the Minnesota Educational Computing Corporation (MECC) recently donated an extensive collection of materials to The Strong museum documenting the history of the pioneering company from 1973 to 1996. The collection includes hundreds of pieces of software, internal documents, and press clippings.
  • EveryMac.com Turning 20 Years Old

    Brock Kyle recently let me know that his essential Apple info site is turning 20 this Saturday. Quite an accomplistment!

    Established in 1996, EveryMac.com is the complete guide to every Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad and Mac clone in the world, with technical specs, configuration details, system identifiers, performance benchmarks, and global pricing info.
  • Atari Video Documentary Project Needs Support

    They've assembled some incredible footage so far; would be a shame to see this disappear

    This 100 minutes long documentary about the Atari story will feature a list of unreleased interviews with the key people of these events, including a very rare one with Warner VP Manny Gerard and a unique one with Atari CEO Ray Kassar, the man held responsible for Atari success and the video game industry crash at the same time, who never appeared in a documentary before.
  • YouTube Gamer on a Quest to Play 1001 Games Hits 100th Episode

    Quite a project

    My name is Gaming Jay. I'm a retro gamer who started a challenge this past year to play through a book called '1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die.' Each week I’ve been playing 2 games and recording my gaming sessions and uploading them to YouTube. I have also recently developed a new website to document my journey with written summaries to supplement my YouTube videos.
  • iOS Camera App with Retro Filters Released

    Neat iOS camera app that simulates vintage graphics

    I created Famicam64, an 8bit RetroGaming style Camera app. Famicam64 lets you take photos with 40+ real-time filters that emulate the nostalgic look of retro computers (and games) of the 80s and 90s. CGA, EGA, VGA, Hercules and old PC graphic modes are all there, as well as style emulating home computers and handheld consoles (C64, Spectrum or Gameboy etc. etc.).
  • Secret History of Mac Gaming Book Seeks Funding

    It's a niche subject, but a story worth telling

    The Secret History of Mac Gaming is the story of those communities and the game developers who survived and thrived in an ecosystem that was serially ignored by the outside world. The work draws on archive materials as well as 60+ new interviews with key figures from Mac gaming's past.
  • Cool Links

  • Circuit Classics Boards Re-Create Classic Forrest Mims Designs

    Very, very creative electronics project from Star Simpson

    Forrest M. Mims III is a trusted name in the electronics world for good reason: his charming and engaging texts have drawn millions of people into the world of electronics for the first time. I am bringing some of those hand-drawn circuits projects to life by creating an exquisitely designed series of finely crafted and highly detailed boards. These are the Circuit Classics.
  • NES Coffee Table on Etsy

    VC&G reader Ben Winchester built a NES-shaped coffee table; it's up for sale on Etsy.com

    I wanted to show this to you because I feel this piece is truly unique and original to me. I got my start by replicating your NES DVD player and then moving on to putting my own twist on the NES coffee table, and now I think I have created an original design.
  • Artist Re-Creates Classic Byte Cover in Photo

    Bob Alexander turns Tinney's train illustration into a photo composition

    I've just completed an art project that was inspired by Robert Tinney's painting "Computer Engineering" for Byte magazine. That's the one with a train chugging around a printed circuit board. I made a printed circuit board that resembled the one in the painting, photographed it, and Photoshopped a picture of an HO scale model train onto it.
  • [ Retro Scan of the Week ] Dad's Christmas Art

    Monday, December 21st, 2015

    Benj's Dad homemade Christmas Xmas art drawing computer art KoalaPad KoalaPainter Atari 800 Polaroid print - 1985A Christmas Tree in the Window

    Back in the day, my dad bought a KoalaPad drawing tablet for our Atari 800. Perhaps that very December — in 1984 or 1985, he drew this scene of the front of our house at Christmas time, complete with a view of our Christmas tree through our living room window. So proud was he of his creation that he snapped a photo of it with a Polaroid camera, and that's the print I am showing to you now.

    Merry Christmas from Vintage Computing and Gaming!

    [ From Personal Polaroid SX-70 print, ca.1985, front ]

    Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you draw any Christmas art on your computer when you were a kid? Tell us about it.

    [ Retro Scan of the Week ] Thoughware JingleDisk

    Monday, December 7th, 2015

    Thoughtware JingleDisk Jingle Disk Animated musical computer christmas card animation artwork Xmas - 1985Jingle disk, jingle disk, jingle all the way

    Throughout the ages, fans of Christmas have found new and varied ways to express their love for the holiday. In the 1980s, personal computer users joined in the fun, using their machines to host a new breed of animated Christmas greetings that were distributed through magazines, BBSes, or even sold on disk like Thoughtware's JingleDisk, seen here.

    Upon inserting JingleDisk into your Commodore 64 or Apple II computer (It's a double-sided disk with data for the different platforms on each side) and booting it up, the user is presented with a Christmas-themed animation set to various holiday musical standards. It's fun to watch.

    There is something about the warmth of the glow from a cathode ray tube screen that lends itself well to computerized Christmas celebrations — perhaps it echoes some primal link to prehistoric man sitting around the fire telling stories.

    By the way, this JingleDisk came to me by way of a family friend who just turned 40 years old today. Happy Birthday, Chris!

    [ From Thoughtware JingleDisk product packaging, 1985, front/back ]

    Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you ever programmed a Christmas-themed demo or sent a computerized Christmas card? Tell us about it.

    [ Retro Scan of the Week ] Disk Box Modern Art

    Monday, October 20th, 2014

    From Fellows 3.5The beauty of silent instructions

    [ From Fellows 3.5″ Softworks Instructions - 1994, back]

    Discussion Topic of the Week: If you had to guess, how many floppy disks do you own?

    [ Retro Scan of the Week ] Donkey Kong Puzzle

    Monday, October 13th, 2014

    MB Puzzle Milton-Bradley 200 piece Donkey Kong Puzzle box cover art - circa 1983That is one dangerous and sexy construction site

    When it comes to vintage 1980s puzzles, few can beat the sheer cultural nostalgia value of this 200-piece Milton-Bradley Donkey Kong puzzle, which comes straight from my childhood. This is a scan of the front of the box.

    It's not often that I find a true surprise lurking in our old family toys, but I had completely forgotten about this puzzle until I ran across it in the back corner of my mom's attic a few months ago. Memories of poring over the lush, vibrant artwork on the box rushed back to me as I pulled it from where it had lay, dusty and neglected, for 25 years.

    Look at the the highlights, the curves, the gradients. The richness.

    Luckily for me, all the pieces were still in the box, so I have now re-assembled the puzzle and framed it. It will never be lost again.

    The artwork for this puzzle no doubt echoes the side cabinet art of the Donkey Kong arcade machine, but with added detail and an airbrushed vividness. I think it would make an awesome poster — does anyone know who the artist was?

    By the way — even though I find it insanely difficult at times, the original Donkey Kong is one of my favorite arcade games. It was also one of the first video games I ever played, courtesy of a port to the Atari 800.

    P.S. Pauline is way hotter than Princess Peach.

    [ From MB Donkey Kong 200 Piece Puzzle Box - circa 1982-1983, front]

    Discussion Topic of the Week: In your opinion, which is better: Donkey Kong Jr. or Donkey Kong 3?

    [ Retro Scan of the Week ] The Joust Guy

    Monday, August 18th, 2014

    Illustration from Joust Atari 2600 instruction manual - 1982If I were riding a flying ostrich, I'd probably be smiling too.

    I don't normally take scans out of context, but I made an exception for this amazing illustration. It comes from the instruction manual for Joust for the Atari 2600. I isolated the image years ago for possible use in one of my Halloween costume ideas posts, and I've been staring at it in my scans folder ever since.

    Joust is one of my favorite arcade titles, and I'm particularly fond of the Atari 7800 home version.

    I'd like to find out who created this glorious piece of video game art. I'll do some digging in a bit, but if you know already, please leave a comment and I'll update this post. (The illustrator may be referenced in the manual itself, but it's packed where I can't get to it.)

    By the way, I think this illustration would look awesome on a t-shirt. Anybody want to make one?

    [ From Joust Atari 2600 Instruction Manual - 1982]

    Discussion Topic of the Week: Which is better: Joust or Balloon Fight?

    [ Retro Scan of the Week ] Benj's Early Computer Art

    Monday, March 31st, 2014

    Benj's Early Computer Art Kindergarten Art Print Printout 1986Watch out, Mr. Rabbit!

    As I've previously mentioned, I've found a wealth of Retro Scan material while looking through old family papers in the attic at my mom's house.

    This time, I was sorting through a giant box of my ancient artwork from school, and I came upon this fascinating computer printout from my kindergarten era (1985-86).

    I vaguely remember making it (although, strangely, I mostly remember coloring in those little boxes and being proud of it), but I have no idea what software I used to do it. I know that my school stocked itself with IBM PCs, but the font and the overall feel of the image remind me of an Apple II MECC educational game.

    Whatever the platform, this looks like the output from a stamp/clip-art program for kids. Does anybody know what it is?

    [ Update: 09/25/2015 - I figured out what game this is. After going through a pile of MECC disks for the Apple II, I ran across one game called Paint With Words (published by M.E.C.C. in 1986). I booted it up on my Apple IIc, and sure enough, it is the program used to create the image in this scan. It is a really neat game that allows you to place words onto a pre-defined background image using a mouse or a keyboard. After you set them in place, the words turn into pictures of what the words represent. My family owned an Apple IIc circa 1984-1987, so I believe this printout was created at home. ]

    [ From 8.5 x 11-inch tractor feed printout, circa 1985-86]

    Discussion Topic of the Week: What was the first computer paint program you ever used?

    [ Retro Scan of the Week ] The Lure of Game Graphics

    Monday, October 21st, 2013

    Microdeal Leatherneck Tanglewood Atari ST 1040ST computer games - 1988Microdeal's Leatherneck and Tanglewood for the Atari ST

    I've never played either of these Atari ST games by Microdeal, but they look like fun. "Look" being the operative word. That's because, as we all know, a screenshot alone is a poor judge of a game.

    In fact, I recall being burned by screenshots many times back in the day. While browsing at Babbage's or Software Etc. (former software retail chains), my brother and I would flip over various game boxes and ogle amazing, colorful in-game shots that would make us want to buy everything on the shelf.

    If we did buy a game, we'd rush home and load it up. Nine times out of ten, those glorious box screenshots turned out to be the only pretty graphical scenes (often static) in the game. Or — even worse — the screenshots were from the uber-colorful Amiga / VGA / etc. version when in fact we were buying the Apple II version of the game (or we only had an EGA graphics card). Doh.

    [ From STart, Summer 1988, rear cover ]

    Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you ever buy a game based on graphics alone — then come to regret it later?

    [ Retro Scan of the Week ] Slay the Nereis

    Monday, September 16th, 2013

    Slay the Nereis Manual - 1984A TRS-80 Color Computer Centipede clone; this artwork should be a t-shirt.

    See Also: TRS-80 Dino Wars (RSOTW, 2012)

    [ From Radio Shack "Slay the Nereis" Manual, rev. April 1984 ]

    Discussion Topic of the Week: What's the silliest knock-off of a famous video game you can think of? (e.g. Donkey King)

    [ Retro Scan of the Week ] Hand-Drawn Golf Reference

    Monday, June 3rd, 2013

    Chris Apple IIc hand-drawn Golf Map and Reference - circa 1980sIf there were only 40 degrees in a circle, this is what it would look like.

    There is a certain rustic beauty in hand-drawn video game notes that I will never cease to enjoy. Case in point: this map/reference key created by family friend Chris when he was a kid in the 1980s. I'm not quite sure what game it was for (other than "Golf"), but it was likely a game for the Apple IIc, as I found it among related Apple IIc ephemera when I acquired his collection some years ago.

    For more hand-drawn video game goodness, check out this VC&G post about my friend's Deadly Towers maps from 2006.

    [ Update: 06/03/2013 - I was just talking to my brother, and he thinks that either he drew this alone or I wrote the letters and he drew the numbers. It was either a reference to a Golf game he programmed in C in 1991, or an old Atari 800 golf game that I haven't found yet. I still think it's possible that Chris wrote the letters. ]

    [ From Chris' Apple IIc papers, circa mid-late 1980s ]

    Discussion Topic of the Week: Do you ever hand-draw maps for modern video games?