July 21st, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Nintendo, Virtual Boy, 3D, stereoscopic 3D, price reduction, advertisement, Nintendo Power, 1996
…in which Nintendo begs, "Please, PLEASE, buy a Virtual Boy."
[ From Nintendo Power - August 1996, p.107]
Oh how times change. Back in January, I posted a scan of an early, cocky Nintendo Virtual Boy advertisement from 1995 (the year the Virtual Boy launched). Here's an ad for the Virtual Boy just one year later in which Nintendo advertises the console's new low price of $99 (its original MSRP was US $179.99, which is $275.26 today when adjusted for inflation).
As you probably know, things didn't go so well for the Virtual Boy. I bought one new for $30 from Toys 'R' Us in either late 1996 or early 1997.
Discussion Topic of the Week: Imagine a world in which the Virtual Boy had a full color display but cost twice as much (say, $399.99) new. Do you think the Virtual Boy would have fared better in the marketplace?
See Also: Virtual Boy Wasteland (RSOTW, 2014)
See Also: Virtual Boy Vortex (RSOTW, 2012)
See Also: The History of Stereoscopic 3D Gaming (PC World, 2011)
July 7th, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Quasar, pocket computer, portable computer, advertisement, Popular Computing, 1982
"One Picture is Worth a Thousand Numbers"
I've never used or seen a Quasar Hand-Held Computer in person, but I am a big fan of the similarly-sized TRS-80 Pocket Computer, which I've written about a number of times on this site.
According to this ad, one of the unique features of the Quasar HHC was that you could hook it up to a large color monitor if you had the right expansion accessory. That reminds me of the TRS-80 Model 100 Disk/Video Interface. Pretty cool. I bet the software that utilized that feature was extremely rare, though. I'd love to see it in action.
[ From Popular Computing - December 1982]
See Also: BASIC in your Pocket (RSOTW, 2009)
See Also: Asimov's Pocket Computer (RSOTW, 2011)
See Also: Sharp Pocket Computer (RSOTW, 2013)
Discussion Topic of the Week: What's the smallest pre-year 2000 computer you've ever owned?
June 30th, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Anthro, AnthroCart, computer desk, advertisement, Scientific American, 1993
I may not be an expert on desks, but this looks a little dangerous.
[ From Scientific American - February 1993, p.29]
Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you ever bought a desk specifically to hold a computer?
June 23rd, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Lucasfilm, Koronis Rift, Commodore 64, Apple II, Atari 800, first-person shooter, advertisement, Compute
A convincing illustration of a migraine headache
After seeing this ad, am I the only one who has the urge to play Lucasfilm's Koronis Rift on the Oculus Rift? Retro stereo 3D action!
See Also: The Eidolon (RSOTW, 2013)
[ From Compute! - November 1985, p.35]
Discussion Topic of the Week: Can you think of any vintage games that would translate well to the Oculus Rift?
June 17th, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, CompuServe, dad, online, personal note, passwords, 1993
I still love my dad's handwriting.
Here it is, folks: My CompuServe Information Service password that I used from 1993 until the late 1990s: "Needy-Sacred".
Feel free to log in as me the next time you get a chance. (I kid.)
"Needy-Sacred" is an almost magical combination of words for me — probably because it bounced around my mind so often in the 1990s. It has a tension to it; a phrase at odds with itself.
I didn't make it up, though. CompuServe assigned random combinations of two words (with a dash in the middle) as user passwords, and this is the hand I was dealt.
Well, "we were dealt" would be more accurate. This is the original note paper my dad used on February 21st, 1993 to write down the password to our new CompuServe account, which he set up for use with his business.
Heavily into BBSes at the time, I became the primary user of the account (surprise surprise). Soon his company often asked me — even as a young teenager — to relay international emails to and from Germany for them since I knew how to use it. Ah, those were the days.
The Encounters Forum was my favorite place to hang out. That, and the Atari Forum. GO ATARI.
[ From Personal note from Benj Edwards' collection dated 2/21/1993]
Discussion Topic of the Week: Tell us your best CompuServe stories.
June 9th, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Sega, Sega Saturn, instruction manual, 1995
The Saturn: No Connectors Required
Why am I showing you the cover of the Sega Saturn manual but not the manual itself? Because I can — ha ha ha!
That, and I like the photo.
[ From Sega Saturn Instruction Manual, 1995, cover]
Discussion Topic of the Week: What's the best Saturn-exclusive title?
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?
May 26th, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Super NES, Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart, Nintendo Power, screenshots, personal photos, high scores, 1992
I took this photo around 1992 or 1993 not long after Super Mario Kart came out. I had rented the game from Blockbuster (See "Secret Cartridge Messages"), and I was amazed to see that the cartridge would save high scores (in this case, track records) between sessions.
That blew my mind a little, because it meant that the scores I saw on the screen came from previous renters of the game — I was playing against previous renters' track times! So when I set a new record on a particular track, it carried a little extra weight.
(It struck me, even then, that this sharing of scores between players formed a sort of primitive pass-along gaming network, and coming from a BBS background, that excited me.)
In retrospect, I am positive that the track record you see in this photo is nothing record-breaking in the broader competitive Mario Kart universe. But just getting first place — as a 12 year-old, first-time Super Mario Kart player — filled me with enough pride to take a photo of the game screen as viewed from my family's 1983 TV set.
Remember that this was the era when people used to take photos (with film cameras) of high score screens and physically mail them to Nintendo Power so they could be listed in the magazine. I'm sure that's where I got the idea to snap the photo.
[ From a personal photo by Benj Edwards, circa 1992]
Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you ever take photos of your video game high score screens?
May 19th, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Commodore, Commodore 64, Personal Computing, advertisement, 1983
It's the Commodore 64. 'Nuff said.
I've covered the Commodore 64 quite a bit over the years, including taking one apart for PC World back in 2008 and spending a week working with one in honor of its 30th anniversary in 2012.
But I don't think I've ever posted a plain 'ole ad for the Commodore 64 itself. Until now, that is. Here's a colorful one that graced the back of many computer magazine issues back in 1983.
[ From Personal Computing - November 1983, back cover]
Discussion Topic of the Week: When did you first get a Commodore 64? Tell us the story.
May 12th, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Mad Magazine, Computer Virus, cover, 1991
His missing tooth is a hanging chad
I found this in my old collection of Mad magazines. In 1991, computer viruses were relatively novel — although I did lose all of my early BBS data to a malicious virus just one year later (see the story in that link).
[ From Mad Super Special - Summer 1991, cover]
Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you ever had a computer virus that wiped some or all of your data?