Discussion Topic of the Week: What ISP did you use to first connect to the Internet?
In my early BBS days, I started using a 2400 bps external modem hooked to the serial port of a PC clone. A few years later, I switched to an external Intel 14,400 bps modem. Then I believe I got a Creative Labs Modem Blaster kit with an internal 28,800 bps modem on an ISA card. After that I moved up to 33,600 with some generic Winmodem, then 56,000 bps.
In 2000, I signed up for my first cable modem service…and the rest is history.
Discussion Topic of the Week: What speed was your first modem?
Back in the mid-late 1990s, an Internet-based BBS platform called Hotline sprung up and quickly spread throughout the Macintosh community. It was basically a client/server BBS software suite that allowed for multi-user chat, file transfers, and message boards.
By the early 2000s, though, Hotline had mostly died out. Today, only a handful of servers remain. But guess what? You can still connect to them — on Windows or a Mac. A new article I wrote for Macworld, "Hotline Revisted," tells you how.
Have fun. Remember to be kind to the Hotline veterans when you visit.
You're looking at a rare physical artifact from the twilight of shareware's golden age.
Since it was a special buy-and-download deal (very unusual in 1996), I didn't receive copies of the games themselves on disk. Instead, Epic mailed an invoice, copies of the games' instruction manuals (which have been displaced from this set, or else I would have scanned them too) and a shareware demo disk from Epic partner Safari Software.
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.
If you haven't noticed, E3 2012 is taking place this week in Los Angeles, CA. Here's a Nintendo Power teaser announcement for the Nintendo's E3 event that launched the Nintendo 64 in 1996.
When I see this, I can't help but reflect on what a different press environment we live in today. In 1996 there were no blogs and the public's adoption of the web was limited. Today, we get our news by-the-second from dozens, if not hundreds, of media outlets online.
Discussion Topic of the Week: What's your favorite E3 memory?
Here's a classic advertisement for Super Mario World 2 from the "Play it Loud" era. Baby Mario looks quite destructive.
In the mid-1990s, Nintendo tried to downplay its kiddie image and appeal to the "I'm-awesome-because-I-huff-Easy-Cheese" teenage set. The company's American branch formulated a new "Play it Loud" ad campaign to directly counter aggressive advertising from Sega.
Nintendo's new marketing theme focused on the stereotypical angsty "attitude" of youth in transition, which, in print, mostly translated to grungy fonts, eye-gougingly garish design, and scatological humor. Surprisingly to some, the campaign actually worked — Nintendo regained the lead in the 16-bit market right as that era was ending.
On another note, Super Mario World 2 is one of the best Super NES games, and definitely one of the most underrated. If you haven't played it yet, you're missing out on a platforming masterpiece. Drop everything and get yourself a copy. And don't forget to play it loud(ly).
Discussion topic of the week: What's the most underrated Super NES game?