June 2nd, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Apple, Macintosh, Performa, family, Discover, advertisement, 1993
Ugh. The Performa Era.
The Performa line originated as a way for Apple to expand retail availability of its then-waning Mac platform. They did so by re-branding a number of existing Mac models with the Performa name (plus some numbers that didn't make much sense).
The Performa line's commercial availability coincided almost exactly with Apple's darkest era, 1992-1997, when sales dramatically declined, market share dropped, the company was generally mismanaged and unfocused, Macs had 10 different names for the same model, and Classic OS was getting long in the tooth.
I remember seeing a few Performa models for sale at Sears as a teenager and thinking, "Wow, they still make Macs?" Then I tried one out, and the OS was barely different from the Mac SE I'd last used in 1987 — some 6 years earlier — and it liked to crash a lot. It was a depressing time to be Apple. Whatever happened to that company, anyway?
[ From Discover - July 1993, p.5]
Discussion Topic of the Week: What was the first model of Macintosh you ever owned?
April 21st, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Crystal Quest, Game Boy, Nintendo, Apple, Macintosh, Data East, VGCE, advertisement, 1991
Game Boy: The Final Frontier
Fans of early Mac games will no doubt remember Crystal Quest, which (I believe) was the first Mac game to use color graphics just after the Mac II came out in 1987.
Crystal Quest on the Mac played like a space-based Robotron: 2084 controlled with the mouse, albeit with a loose trackball feel because your ship kept moving in the direction you nudged the mouse until you corrected its course. So I'm not sure how it played in this obscure Game Boy port from 1991. Perhaps I'll fire up an emulator right now and find out.
[ From Video Games & Computer Entertainment, August 1991, rear cover]
Discussion Topic of the Week: Can you think of any other game that started on the Macintosh then received a port to a Nintendo console?
February 4th, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Olympics, Epyx, Winter Games, Summer Games, Summer Games II, Macintosh, Atari 800, Apple II, Commodore 64, Compute, advertisement, 1985
Just 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.
September 30th, 2013 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, dad, personal photo, polaroid, office, Shadowgate, Dungeon of Doom, Silent Service, Macintosh, Mac SE, 1988
A Macintosh SE sits in the home office of Benj's father, March 20th, 1988
My father bought the Macintosh SE you see in this photo pretty soon after it came out in 1987. It proved to be a key tool in launching his business the following year. His company's logo, sales literature, and product manuals were all designed on it. It was an amazing upgrade over a DOS-based PC.
Naturally, my brother and I immediately started to use the SE to play games. We had access to very few titles, though — we played Shadowgate, Dungeon of Doom, Silent Service, and that's about it. I was always disappointed with the Mac's lack of color, but the sharpness and resolution of its display were hard to beat at the time. And the sound was amazing too. The evil laugh in the beginning of Shadowgate still rings clear in my memory.
The SE pictured in this photo remains in my collection to this day, and I boot it up from time to tinker with it. Perhaps I should fire it up again today in honor of my dad.
Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you ever use a computer in one of your parents' offices? Tell us about it.
April 2nd, 2013 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Hotline, BBS, internet BBS, Apple, Macintosh, Windows, Macworld, freelance work, 1996
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.
March 23rd, 2013 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Apple, Macintosh, iPod, smartwatch, Apple Lisa, Mac Color Classic, Electronic Board Games, abandoned, mice, displays, pointing devices, Macworld, TechHive, freelance work
I last updated you on my Macworld work back in January. Since then, I've been busy writing more historically-minded pieces for the site as well as its sister site, TechHive. Below you'll find a list of the ones I haven't mentioned yet on this blog in convenient digest form.
Phew. I've been busy! Of those eight pieces, the Apple Lisa one can't be missed. Plenty of interesting little-known history there. The Mac Color Classic and Abandoned Apples pieces are some of my favorites as well.
I'm not sure, but I get the feeling from the lack of comments on my Apple-related posts that not many Apple or Mac fans visit VC&G. Not quite sure why that is, but if you're out there, let me know.
February 1st, 2013 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro GIF, GIF, BBS, dragon, Macintosh, textfiles.com, art, CD
Click to see other views of this image: [ Original Size ] [ 2X Zoom ]
This week we're taking a look at another image that made the rounds in the BBS days, DRAGON6.GIF. In it, we see two digitally illustrated Chinese dragons who appear to be springing forth from a magical stone. Iridescent waves crash around them, and smoke curls throughout an ethereal void. The color palette is rich and bold, underscoring the image's Eastern art influence.
At the moment, the artist behind this amazing work of digital art remains unknown. Still, we can narrow down when the image was made and how by taking a look at its resolution, color depth, and file date.
[ Continue reading [ Retro GIF of the Week ] Twin Chinese Dragons » ]
January 25th, 2013 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Apple, Macintosh, Apple Lisa, Apple IIe, Apple II, Macworld, freelance work, eMate 300, Mac Plus, clock
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.
January 14th, 2013 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Apple, MacCharlie, Macintosh, IBM PC, IBM, Dayna Communications, Mac accessories, system adapter, advertisement, Byte, 1985
I'd like to have heard Steve Jobs' reaction when he first saw this.
Long before Boot Camp and Parallels, if you wanted to run IBM PC compatible software on your Mac, you had to strap on this unholy contraption — the Dayna Communications MacCharlie.
If I recall correctly, the MacCharlie was essentially an IBM PC clone in a beige box that hooked to the Mac's serial port. As a result, the Mac merely served as a serial terminal for the MacCharlie via custom terminal software running on the Mac. That's not a particularly efficient setup, but the lack of expansion ports on the original Macintosh meant that there was no other reasonable point of entry.
Since it worked through the serial port, the MacCharlie could only run text-based MS-DOS applications. Conveniently, the MacCharlie shipped with a keyboard extender that added the IBM PC's special function keys and a numeric keypad to the Macintosh keyboard.
[ From Byte Magazine, April 1985, p.71-73 ]
Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you ever used a hardware system adapter (something that lets you use software from one platform on another through hardware, not software emulation) for any computer system?
December 31st, 2012 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro GIF, GIF, Happy New Year, raytraced, holidays, Macintosh, PhotoMac, StrataVision 3D
Click to see other views of this image:
[ Original Size ] [ 2X Zoom ]
In honor of the impending New Year, I bring you this ray traced image that dates back to December 1992 — 20 years ago — and celebrates New Year 1993.
As per its inscription, this image was created using StrataVision 3D and retouched with PhotoMac by its author, CT. I have not determined who CT is yet, but I will do some more poking around soon and update this entry if I find out. (If you find out first, please let me know.)
Happy New Year!
[ Wondering what a GIF is? Read the introduction to this column. ]
|Retro GIF of the Week Fact Box
|Source File Name:
|Source File Date:
||December 16, 1992
|Source File Format:
||GIF - 87a (non-interlaced)
||640 x 480 pixels
(bits per pixel):
|8-bit (256 color)
||Likely December 1992
If you know more about the origin of this image, please leave a comment.