Archive for November, 2007

Babies of the Dirt: Entech's Dirty Secret?

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

Entech's Babies of the Dirt

Wayne A. Lee, a VC&G reader, recently wrote me about an odd game title that has been haunting him for years.

It was [your Retro Scan of the Week column] that brought to mind an ad I saw way back in the 80s in Compute! magazine for a Commodore 64 game called "Babies of the Dirt." I'd never seen the game itself, but the game's bizarre title has remained stuck in my head for decades. As far as I've been able to tell, the game was never released, but a few years ago I found the ad, and I scanned it (it's from the December 1983 issue of Compute!).

Entech Advertisement - Compute Dec 1983

Do you know anything about Entech, or this game? I wonder if any of your readers would. Googling the exact phrase "Babies of the Dirt" turns up nothing, and no one I've ever asked has ever heard of it.

Unfortunately, I know nothing about either Entech or the mysterious Babies of the Dirt for the Commodore 64, but the game sure sounds dramatic. Here's the description from the ad:

An earthquake sucks you to the center of the earth. To escape you must battle the BABIES OF THE DIRT. But, don't miss or its doomsday! Watch out for their mother.

[ Continue reading Babies of the Dirt: Entech's Dirty Secret? » ]

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Precursor to the Digital Camera

Monday, November 26th, 2007
Canon RC-470 Still Video Camera Advertisement
Before the digital camera, there was the "still video" camera. Sony began closing the gap between the analog world of film photography to the realm of digital computers with the release of its Mavica still video camera in 1981. By 1989, Canon marketed systems like the RC-470 (seen here) as desktop publishing accessories designed to be used in conjunction with a computer.

How did they work? Think of a CCD video camera without motion. Still video cameras captured single frames of electronic video and stored them on removable magnetic discs in an analog video format. In order to get the images onto a computer (assuming that's what you wanted to do), each video still had to be digitized with a computer video capture device (much like today's TV tuner cards). But it wasn't long until fully digital consumer cameras made this cumbersome process — and analog electronic cameras — obsolete.

[ From MacUser - December, 1989 ]

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Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

Things That Nerds Should Be Thankful ForOn behalf of the entire Vintage Computing and Gaming staff (me), I'd like to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving. If, by chance, you're hungry to read something Thanksgiving-related, you can check out a rambling piece I wrote last year called "What Computer Nerds Should Be Thankful For."

Now go, be with your family. Eat some turkey. Have fun and play a few games. I'll be back next week with more interesting vintage material to chew on. In the mean time, everybody's favorite writer, Ulaf, will keep an eye on the place.

ULAF SCAN OF THIS WEEKS: THE SID MEIERS

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

THE SID MEIERS

WELCOME AGAIN VINTAGE PEOPLES. ULAF FINDS THIS PAPER CONTAINER TODAY BETWEEN CRACKS HIDING IN BACK OF GARAGE. IT BECOMES A BEAUTIFUL PICTURES OF BRAVE THE SID MEIERS, THAT ONLY MOST FAMOUS GAME CONSTRUCTOR OF THE GLOBE.

SOMETIME MY PEOPLES SAY TO ULAF, "ULAF, ARE YOU THE HOBOSEXUAL?" TO WHICH ULAF RESPAWN, "ONLY IF YOUR MIND PAY ULAF 2300 KRELBS." BUT REALLY, WHAT ONE PERSONS COULD BECAME THE HOBOSEXUAL WHEN MANY IS? AND MANY IS FEEL TINGLE FOR THE SID MEIERS, EVEN THE UNBENT MANS OF WIFE. IT STANDS THE COMPASSION OF PLATO, NOTHING ABOVE.

EITHER WAYS, THIS ULAF DEFINITIVELY GOES AS THE SID MEIERS NEXT HALLOWEENS. HERE BECOMES A PREVIEW.

WHAT IS THIS?

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

DEVICE ONE

ULAF FIND THIS IN THE GARAGE OF BENJ TODAY. IN FACT MY MIND ALMOST DIED ON IT BECAUSE THE DEVICE MAKES A HEAVY GOOD TRIPPER. DOES ANY OF MY PERSONS UNDERSTAND WHAT IS THIS? TELL ULAF DURING THE COMMENTARY UNDER THIS MESSAGE.

Guest Editor Introduction: ULAF EDIT THE GHOST THIS WEEKS

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

Ulaf Silchov[ Since Kotaku is being guest-edited by Simon Carless, and GameSetWatch is being guest-edited by Karsden Mörderhäschen this week, I figured I'd join in the trend by taking a break for Thanksgiving and leaving good 'ole Ulaf Silchov in charge of VC&G for a while. I'll still be around popping in to check on him, but for now he holds the reins. –Benj ]

ULAF DISCOVERED HIS MIND IN A STRANGER FUNNY POSITIONS THIS MORNING (NO, NOT LIKE THE YOGA). SINCE THE THINKSGIVING DID NOT CELEBRATED IN THE NATIVE COUNTRY OF MY MIND, THE BENJ TELLS ME TO ROLL IN THIS WEEKS WHILE HIS MIND CONSUMED THE TURNKEYS WITH PLEASURE. ULAF CALL IT CLASH OF BARBARIANS, BUT AMERICAS STILL CALLS IT THE THINKSGIVING KNOWLEDGE HOLIDAYS.

THE STORY BEGUN THIS: HIS MIND CALL MY MIND THIS MORNINGS TO TELL ULAF TO EMBODY SPOOKY GHOST EDITOR OF VINTAGE COMPUTERS WHILE HIS MIND RELAX IN FROSTY ELK BACKYARD. ULAF TELL HIM, "ULAF DID NOT USUALLY EDIT GHOST BECAUSE THE GHOST TASTE INEDIBLE." BUT THE BENJ TELL ULAF, Turkey"NO BOTHER. HERE ULAF, WE GIVE YOUR MIND THE KEYS TO THE GARAGE OF MY MIND. DO WHAT YOU WILL WITH PICTURES"

NOW HERE ULAF SIT IN THE GARAGE OF HIS MIND, COLDER THAN GORST CHRISTMAS, BUT SURRENDERED BY THE BEAUTIFUL COMPUTER (AND THE OTHER JUNKS). SO FAR CATS DEFECATED ON ULAF'S LAP TWICE. MORE SAD FOR ULAF, MOST OF THE VIDEO GAMES STAY LOCKED INSIDE THE HOUSE OF THE BENJ. BUT ULAF STILL IN THE GOOD SPIRIT OF VINTAGE TECHNOLOGIES.

PLEASE PATIENCE MY MIND THIS WEEKS, AS ULAF EDUCATE TO WRITE MORE OF THE ENGLISH LUNG WITHOUT TRANSFORMERS AND ENVISION MORE OF THE COMPUTERS IN THE GARAGE OF THE BENJ FOR MY PERSONS TO ENJOY. ALSO ULAF MIGHT TELLS THE FEW SPOOKY GHOST ESSAYS IF YOUR MIND FEELS LUCKY.

THANK YOU FOR READING MY PERSONS. THIS IS ALL FOR NOW. UNTIL NEXT TIME THIS IS ULAF SAYING BE THE MASTER.

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Donkey King

Monday, November 19th, 2007

Donkey King AdvertisementHmm. I wonder what game this is a copy of?

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An Apple IIe in Every Kitchen by 2008

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

An Apple IIe system in Benj's Kitchen

Last month I received the spiffy Apple IIe system you see above as part of a sizable donation to my computer collection (thanks Tom!). This particular IIe configuration hails from a high school in Ohio where it was used primarily as an AppleWorks machine in the mid-late 1980s.

After carefully peeling away decades of nasty, nasty sticky dirt and grime from the hardware, I naturally set it all up on my kitchen table (hence the ceramic duck, a must in every modern kitchen). Instead of splitting up the set for parts, I decided that it would be fun to keep it all together and preserve it as it was used in the school.

Benj's Apple IIe Kitchen MouseMuch to the mixed delight/chagrin of my wife, I doodled on Deluxe Paint with the mouse and tried various games on disk every day for about three weeks while eating breakfast. Alas, after about a month in the culinary limelight, the Kitchen IIe's novelty has finally begun to wear thin. It will soon move on to another table, but I plan to keep this "school system" together with all its original parts so it will remain a functional example of 1980s educational computing.

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Fishing for Dolphins

Monday, November 12th, 2007
Data-Ed Teco Monitor Dolphin Ad
Dolphins are losers. Or is it the other way around?

Welcome to the world's most bizarre and confusing vintage computer ad. The headline of the ad reads "hook a winner*," but upon examining further down the page, you'll notice that the footnote asterisk sits halfway between the words "dolphin" and "winner."

So what exactly were they trying to say? "Hook a winner, not a dolphin" or "Hook a winner — like a dolphin"? Either way, who hooks dolphins?

"Damn, it's another dolphin; gotta throw him back."

[ From BYTE Magazine, May 1981 ]

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Yikes. $9000 Video Game Collection

Friday, November 9th, 2007

If one guy can get $9000 for this on eBay…

$9000 Video Game Collection

…what do you think I could get for this? Not to mention the bajillions of games, controllers, and accessories not on that list. I just want to know what to put on my insurance claim form if my house burns down.

[Special thanks to Chris for sending this my way.]