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

March 31st, 2014 by Benj Edwards

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?

[ 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?

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Epyx Winter Games

February 4th, 2014 by Benj Edwards

Epyx Winter Games Summer Games Summer Games II Advertisement 1985Just in time for Sochi. Sorry for the page fold.

[ From Compute!, November 1985, p.37]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What's your favorite winter sport(s) video game? This is mine.

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Stickybear Games

January 27th, 2014 by Benj Edwards

Weekly Reader Educational Software Stickybear Educational Game Software Advertisement 1983"Stickybear," in retrospect, is a kinda disgusting name.

[ From Personal Computing, November 1983, p.108]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What's your favorite educational video/computer game of all time?

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Amdek Color-I Monitor

July 1st, 2013 by Benj Edwards

Atari Commodore Apple II Amdek Color-I Monitor Ad - 1983Tracking the shadow people on an Apple II has never been more fun.

[ From Personal Computing, November 1983, inside rear cover ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Do you own any composite video monitors? Which model/brand is your favorite?

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

June 3rd, 2013 by Benj Edwards

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?

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Star Dot Matrix Printer

April 8th, 2013 by Benj Edwards

Star Micronics Delta-10 Dot Matrix Printer Ad - 1983The Star Micronics Delta-10 Dot Matrix Printer: Mouse with Machine Gun

My family owned this exact printer. In fact, I think it's still sitting in my parents' attic as we speak. If I'm not mistaken, we used it with our Apple IIe system — the one my dad built from a bare circuit board and a set of cloned ROM chips (much like the one in this 2006 VC&G post).

It's probably the first printer I ever saw in action, likely before I could even walk. I can recall crawling under our computer desk (the printer was on the floor beneath it for some reason) and watching it print out whimsical banners and calendars from a program like Broderbund's The Print Shop.

But what I remember most about it, of course, was the sound it made: like a screeching robot mouse spraying lead into tractor feed paper with a tiny machine gun. Like any dot matrix printer, once you hear one in action, the sound will never leave you.

Those were the days.

Of course, I was still using a dot matrix printer until the early 1990s, so I am pretty much scarred for life. Mice everywhere.

[ From Personal Computing, November 1983, p.28 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What was the first printer you ever owned?

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Apple II Box for C64

March 25th, 2013 by Benj Edwards

Mimic Systems Spartan Commodore 64 Apple II+ expansion box advertisement ad - 1985A scene from one of Benj's recent nightmares.

Hey mime! Yeah, you! Stop stealing my $599 Mimic Spartan Apple II+ compatibility box for the Commodore 64. I need it to open up a whole new world of hardware and software.

Just for a second, imagine if I could add these features to my Commodore 64: Apple II+ hardware and software capabilities, 64K RAM expansion, four software selectable Commodore 64 cartridge slots, non-dedicated 8-bit parallel port, and standard audio cassette deck capabilities for my C-64. Yep, all of that!

The suggested retail value of comparable products offering only these capabilities is over $2,200.00*. But the Spartan gives me much, much more, mime! Oh yes. By building on my investment in my Commodore 64 — an excellent introductory computer — I create a whole new system with both C-64 an Apple II+ capabilities.

There is a whole other world out there! And if you'd just give it back, a huge selection of Apple II+ hardware and software would be mine to explore. Call toll free for the Spartan dealer nearest you.

* Burp.

[ From Compute, November 1985, p.29 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Open Discussion: Whoever posts a question first gets to decide what we'll talk about this week.

See Also: MacCharlie's FrankenMac (2013)

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More Macworld Mania

January 25th, 2013 by Benj Edwards

Macworld Logo

Since my last update on the articles I've written for Macworld in November, I've written at least a handful more vintage-related stories for the publication that I haven't mentioned on this blog. To remedy that, I thought I'd share them below in convenient digest form.

The Mac Plus Clock piece is particularly fun, and I think VC&G fans will really enjoy it.

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Apple Lisa and Apple IIe

January 21st, 2013 by Benj Edwards

Apple Lisa and Apple IIe on the cover of Popular Computing - March 1983APPLE'S BOLD NEW COMPUTERS IN ALL-CAPS

Thirty years ago last Saturday (January 19th, 1983), Apple announced two new computers: the Apple Lisa and the Apple IIe.

Ultimately, the Apple Lisa met an early end, leaving behind technology that shaped the entire industry. The Apple IIe remained a reliable breadwinner during uncertain times in the early life of the Macintosh and remained the flagship member of Apple's popular 8-bit computer line until it ended in 1993.

Here's the cover of the March 1983 issue of Popular Computing which featured Apple's two new machines. It has always been one of my favorite vintage computer magazine covers.

By the way, I recently wrote an article about this anniversary for Macworld in case you're interested.

[ From Popular Computing, March 1983, cover ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you ever used an Apple Lisa? What did you think about it?

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Baked Apple II

October 22nd, 2012 by Benj Edwards

Baked Apple Melted Burned Apple II computer with cat house fire Ad - 1982Two hours later, firefighters found Fluffy melted into the plastic.
(click image to see the full two-page spread)

There was a fire.

And a cat.

The computer melted.

A Beautiful Computer.

Oh, the curt, pretentious voice projected by Apple advertising in the 1980s. It almost revels in talking down to you. Just about every Apple print ad of the era uses a similar subliminal script. It goes a little something like this:

This is Apple.

We are amazing.

Really.

Don't get me wrong — I like Apple as much as the next guy, but man, wipe that smirk off your face.

Apple has come a long way since that time, from floundering near death to basking as the most valuable corporation in the world. The firm, like its co-founder Steve Jobs, suffered some hard knocks, and Apple's post-1997 advertising reflected that by gaining a little humility. Just a little.

In general, I like Apple advertising these days (except for that recent "Genius" campaign). The 1984-era smirk is long gone, although a hint of strategically placed pretension remains.

But hey — that's the way people like their Apple, and it shows: a record number of consumers keep buying their products.

More Melted Tech

Back in early 2011, I created a slideshow called "A Gallery of Melted Technology" for PCMag.com that features this ad and photos of similar melted gadgets. If you have the same morbid curiosity I do about melted technology, I think you'll enjoy that as well.

[ From Popular Computing, January 1982, p.8-9 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you ever lost or damaged a gadget in a fire? Tell us about it.

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