[ Retro Scan ] Mindscape NES Games

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

Mindscape NES Games Flier scan - 1990ULAF SAY, “MIND SCRAPE”

I believe this Mindscape flier came packed with Days of Thunder for the NES. I am not a huge fan of the games depicted here aside from 720 and Gauntlet II, both of which are pretty good Atari Games arcade ports.

And while M.U.L.E. is a favorite of mine on the Atari 800, I am not a big fan of the NES version. It’s nice that it uses the Four Score / Satellite four player adapter though (Gauntlet II does as well).

[ From Mindscape Flier MIN-NES-US, 1990 ]

Discussion Topic: What’s the best four-player game for the NES?

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Benj’s Apple II Notes

Monday, February 1st, 2016

Benj Edwards Apple II+ AppleSoft BASIC handwritten programming notes scan - circa 1990 or 1991An authentic, Coke-stained programming reference

I’m sure I’ve told this story somewhere else — probably about five times at this point, but here it goes again. When I was maybe 9 or 10 (in 1990 or 1991), my dad bought me a nice Apple II+ setup from someone at the local hamfest for about $100.

(I recently found the original handwritten price tag for that machine, which you can see here. I said about $100 because haggling was common, and he may have actually paid $70 or $90 for it. It’s worth noting that $100 was a lot of money for an old computer back then, and it commanded that price because it was perceived as still being useful at the time. Later, used Apple II prices sunk, then went back up again as they became collectible.)

As I learned to program BASIC on the machine using Apple’s fairly well-written AppleSoft programming manuals, I began to make a list of frequently-used programming techniques that I could easily reference.

It was my dad’s idea — and he was very big into making notes, dating papers, and documenting things. However, I found that handwriting cramped my hand because I didn’t hold a pencil properly, so I absolutely hated it. And yes, that gave me trouble in school. But I can still remember my dad’s words now. It was a familiar conversation:

“Write this down: Initialize prepares a new disk.”

“Ok, dad.”

“WRITE IT DOWN.”

Obviously, I did as he instructed, then continued to add to the list over the following days. Not long after creating it, I taped the notes to my desk right beside my Apple II+. There they stayed for at least a few years as I continued to tinker with BASIC.

Eventually, that desk (made out of a hollow, uncut door laying across two shelf pillars) got so nasty with stickers and writing that it went to the dump. Just before it departed, I peeled my BASIC note off and stuck it in my files. There it stayed until I rediscovered it just last year in some old papers.

As dirty and Coke-stained as the note is today, I am glad I still have it. At the risk of stretching a metaphor, it’s a little bit like rediscovering an old friend that helped me through a tricky period of my life. At the very least, I will always remember PR#6.

[ From Benj Edwards personal handwritten AppleSoft BASIC notes ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What was the first programming language you ever used? How old were you?

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Kodak Photo CD

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Digtial Photo scan Kodak Photo CD advertisement Picture CD - kids next generation on a TV set - Scientific American February 1993Because the best place to look at photos has always been your TV set

In September 1990, Kodak announced a brand new system for storing and viewing photographs: Photo CD. At a time when Compact Discs represented the vanguard of consumer electronics technology, Kodak capitalized on the excitement by blending digitized photos with a custom CD format.

Kodak designed that format for viewing through special a Kodak CD Player device (think DVD player for still photos) that hooked to a standard TV set. Using such a player, one could view the digitized photos via a virtual slideshow.

It would not be until August 1992 until Kodak finally launched the system, releasing its first Photo CD player and beginning production of Photo CD discs for customers.

With a base image resolution of 512 x 768, Photo CD was far from an archival medium. It tried to offer convenience, but instead ended up adding needless cost and encumbrance to the photo viewing process. In an era before most people were equipped to view, edit, or print digital photos from a PC, the fact that the photos came in an electronic format did not add anything notable to the experience. Predictably, adoption of the Photo CD system never gained much steam. (Wikipedia’s article on Photo CD has some pretty good additional analysis of why Photo CD never took off.)

I personally remember encountering a Kodak Photo CD player in either a photography store or a Radio Shack as a kid. I thought it was amazing — your own photos on a TV set! But my dad, an experienced photographer, never bought into the system.

P.S. For more CD history, check out my Compact Disc 30th Anniversary article that I wrote back in 2012.

[ From Scientific American – February 1993, p.17 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you ever use the Kodak Photo CD service or own a Photo CD player?

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] TurboGrafx-16, Fully-Loaded

Monday, October 7th, 2013

NEC TurboGrafx-16  TurboGrafx-CD Turbotap Turbopad Turbostick Fully-Loaded Setup - circa 1990TG-16 Accessories: Designed specifically to tease children

I don’t usually isolate a photo from a document I’ve scanned these days, but I found this neat TurboGrafx-16 pamphlet scan in my older scans folder and thought I’d share it. It’s from a small accordian-style fold-out pamplet that likely shipped with a TurboGrafx-16 game or accessory. (If I had previously scanned the whole pamphlet, I’d share it with you. The pamphlet is currently packed away somewhere.)

I particularly like this photo because it shows a fully-loaded TurboGrafx-16 system, complete with TurboGrafx-CD add-on, TurboStick, TurboTap, and of course, a TurboPad. The only thing missing is the TurboBooster, which plugged into the back of the TG-16 (currently occupied by the CD unit in this photo) and allowed composite video and stereo audio output through RCA phono plugs.

[ From NEC TurboGrafx-16 fold-out pamphlet, circa 1990 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What’s your favorite TurboGrafx-16 game?

See Also: TurboGrafx-16 Logo (RSOTW, 2009)
See Also: Too Little, Too Late? (RSOTW, 2008)
See Also: Keith Courage in Alpha Zones Mini Comic (RSOTW, 2007)

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Lord of the Rings

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Interplay Lord of the Rings PC Game Advertisement - 1990“‘The Tolkien estate finally made the right choice with Interplay.'”

[ From Video Games and Computer Entertainment, October 1990, p.155 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What’s the best Lord of the Rings- or Hobbit-themed video/computer game ever made?

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Crystalis Tips

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Crystalis Power Playing Tips from JELLO Gelatin Pops Box NES -  1990Frozen whipped gelatin on a stick.

I recently found this cardboard tip sheet for Crystalis in a pile of my old stuff at my parents’ house. As you can see, I cut it out of a JELLO Gelatin Pops box in or around 1990.

The tip sheet seems to serve a triple marketing purpose: 1) to promote NES games (specifically Crystalis, in this case), 2) to promote the 1990 Nintendo World Championships, and 3) to promote Nintendo Power magazine.

I love finding tie-in marketing artifacts like this — I’m glad I saved it all those years ago.

[ From JELLO Gelatin Pops box, circa 1990 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Do you remember cutting video game tips out of boxes, magazines, or other paper publications? Tell us about it.

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] The Savage Empire

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Origin Worlds of Ultima Savage Empire Ad - 1990Meanwhile, the cover remained a one-fist affair.

I love Ultima VI, so it’s excellent that Origin made two spin-off games using the same engine. I’ve played Martian Dreams, the other Worlds of Ultima game, but never The Savage Empire. Is anybody out there a fan?

[ From Video Games and Computer Entertainment, November 1990, p.155 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Which is best: The Savage Empire or Martian Dreams?

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Ultima VII Immortality Contest

Monday, July 9th, 2007
Ultima VII Contest Flier

Once upon a time, Origin ran a contest in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of the Ultima series. The developer included a “black orb of the moons” (a piece of polished obsidian) in most boxed copies of Ultima VI, released in 1990. But in the case of ten lucky owners, they included a reproduction of an Ultima rune (I assume ten, anyway — it’s the number of runes pictured on the flier). Folks who found a rune in their box automatically won a spot as an NPC character in Ultima VII. Click on the image above to see the full flier describing the contest.

I’ve read about people winning the Ultima VII contest somewhere before, so I assume Origin went through with it. Did anybody out there get a rune or otherwise become an NPC in Ultima VII? By all means, let us know!

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