Archive for August, 2013

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] The Poppy Computer

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Durango Poppy Personal Business System computer advertisement - 1983Rose vs. Poppy: Which would you choose?

I'll admit that I've never encountered a Durango Poppy in person, nor do I know much about them aside from ads like this in old magazines.

So I did some digging, and I found that the Poppy model seen here was an 80186-based system that ran either MS-DOS for a single-user setup or Xenix for a multi-user configuration. It retailed for between $4,395 and $11,475 in early 1984 ($9,881 to $25,798 when adjusted for inflation), which was quite a bit of money — but actually far cheaper than IBM's comparable offerings at the time.

A March 5, 1984 issue of InfoWorld available through Google Books has a neat article that mentions the Poppy.

I didn't realize it at first, but the rose in the ad above is meant to symbolize IBM. IBM's PC ads at the time featured Charlie Chaplin's Tramp character, which always carried a rose.

[ From Personal Computing, November 1983, p.213 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you ever purposely pass up IBM hardware for a cheaper alternative? Tell us about it.

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Capcom's First PC CD-ROM

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Mega Man X CD-ROM advertisement - 1995Digging up video games in a mall ashtray

I was a huge fan of Mega Man X when it first came out on the Super NES in 1993.

…Well, I rented it, anyway, and I played it more than any other side-scrolling Mega Man game before or since. I loved finding the secret Hadoken fireball power up, which I read about in Nintendo Power.

Much to my present-day surprise (even though I owned this magazine when it was new), Capcom produced a version of Mega Man X for the PC, and on a CD-ROM no less. Has anyone out there played it? I'm wondering if the adaptation was any good.

[ P.S. Shortly after writing this entry, I tracked down a warez copy of Mega Man X for the PC, and it's surprisingly well done. However, its utilization of MIDI music provides for a pretty surreal Mega Man experience — surreal in the sense that the tunes generally sound horrible compared to MM games that are famous for their music. ]

[ From Electronic Gaming Monthly, September 1995, rear cover ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What's your favorite Mega Man game of all time?

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Osborne's Ticket to Heaven

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Supra Modem Ad - 1996Walkin' [through the pearly gates / into an alien ship] with an Osborne 1.

See also: The Osborne 1 (RSOTW, 2012)

[ From Personal Computing, January 1983 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: If you could take any computer with you into the afterlife, which would it be?

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] The Halley Project

Monday, August 5th, 2013

The Halley Project Atari 800 8-bit computer Ad - 1985"Just tell your friends you're going on a very long trip."

As a kid, The Halley Project blew my mind.

I remember flying through the solar system, first person, in what seemed like a real-time simulation of space flight. All the distances between and positions of the planets were accurate, and you could visit each one by traversing the vast gulfs between them. It was one of the most awe-inspiring games on the Atari 800.

I haven't sat down and played The Halley Project in at least a decade, so I'm kinda fuzzy about the point of the game. I believe you're trying to track down Halley's Comet. On the way, I think you have to make stops at each of the planets in our real solar system. And, if I'm not mistaken, there's something special about the comet itself (once you actually find it) that I won't spoil for you guys.

The real Halley's Comet made a famous fly-by of our planet back in 1986. I still have vague memories of being awakened in the middle of the night when I was 5 so our family could drive out to a local school field and catch of glimpse of the comet. I remember seeing a fuzzy dot, perhaps through binoculars or a simple telescope. That real life celestial visit inspired a sort of frenzy in the media and popular consciousness here in the US, and I'm guessing this game played off of that.

I know I could look up the real plot / purpose / gameplay of The Halley Project online, complete with screenshots and analysis, but I don't want to. My warm memories are good enough.

[ From Compute!, November 1985, p.13 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you see Halley's Comet in 1986? Tell us about it.