Discussion Topic of the Week: What ISP did you use to first connect to the Internet?
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.
Just two days ago, Sony announced the PlayStation 4 at a press event in New York. It reminded me of the last time I eagerly awaited a new console launch. That would be way back in 1993 with the introduction of the Atari Jaguar (check out the original press release at that link).
I was a huge Atari fan at that time, and I was also very active on the "GO ATARI" forum on CompuServe. From that forum, I downloaded this early Jaguar press image in 1993. It's an official press image created and uploaded to CompuServe by Atari Corp. itself — quite possibly the very first one.
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.
Among the few GIF files I saved in the early 1990s (outside of those uploaded to by BBS), this warm, inviting Christmas scene remains one of my favorites.
In the image, we see a living room with a roaring fireplace bedecked with four Christmas stockings, a richly ornamented Christmas tree presiding over a large pile of presents, and a holly wreath over the mantle. Two candles flickering above the fireplace add an extra detail that completes the picture of a perfect holiday scene.
As the years have passed, I have forgotten where I acquired this GIF file, labeled XMASTR.GIF. I revisit this image every now and then, and I always wonder about its origins. Now is as good a time as any to look into them.
Long ago, scanners were rare and expensive. Consumer digital cameras were mostly non-existent — and those that did exist were impractical to use or expensive.
At the same time, many users possessed computers with (relatively speaking) high-resolution bitmapped displays that craved content. In time, those machines gained color capability and could display dazzlingly beautiful works of digital art.