August 25th, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Aplus 3000, Apple II, Apple II clone, VTech, Laser 3000, Apple, clones, Computer Direct, advertisement, Compute, 1985
Everything looks cheaper in black and white print.
The IBM PC wasn't the only American microcomputer that got cloned in the 1980s. The Apple II also inspired its fair share of software-compatible copycats, such as the Aplus 3000 system seen here.
This appears to be a grey market VTech Laser 3000 computer with the name plate removed — possibly to avoid any trade import bans on Apple II clones that may have existed at the time.
Clones like this were popular in certain underground circles, and for good reason. Take a look at the price list in the ad. The Aplus 3000 retailed for US $499 (about $1,104 today when adjusted for inflation) verses $1745 for a bona fide Apple IIe (about $3,863 today). And on top of that, the Aplus 3000 contained integrated peripheral cards that would cost thousands of extra dollars if purchased separately for use in a real Apple IIe.
As I've mentioned before, peripheral integration was a great way to undercut official products. It happened quite a bit in the IBM PC universe.
[ From Compute! - November 1985, p.85]
Discussion Topic of the Week: If you could buy an unauthorized clone of an iPad or iPhone that ran iOS and had better specs for less price, would you do it?
See Also: Orange+Two Apple II Clone (RSOTW, 2010)
See Also: Apple II Box for C64 (RSOTW, 2013
See Also: How I Got My First Computer, and How I Got My First Computer Back
August 18th, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Joust, arcade, Atari, Atari 2600, artist, illustrator, art, manual, 1982
If I were riding a flying ostrich, I'd probably be smiling too.
I don't normally take scans out of context, but I made an exception for this amazing illustration. It comes from the instruction manual for Joust for the Atari 2600. I isolated the image years ago for possible use in one of my Halloween costume ideas posts, and I've been staring at it in my scans folder ever since.
Joust is one of my favorite arcade titles, and I'm particularly fond of the Atari 7800 home version.
I'd like to find out who created this glorious piece of video game art. I'll do some digging in a bit, but if you know already, please leave a comment and I'll update this post. (The illustrator may be referenced in the manual itself, but it's packed where I can't get to it.)
By the way, I think this illustration would look awesome on a t-shirt. Anybody want to make one?
[ From Joust Atari 2600 Instruction Manual - 1982]
Discussion Topic of the Week: Which is better: Joust or Balloon Fight?
August 4th, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Popeye, Parker Brothers, Personal Computing, advertisement, 1983
Well blow me down
[ From Personal Computing - December 1983]
Discussion Topic of the Week: Of the systems listed in the ad above, which is your favorite?
See Also: Eight Ways to Play Q*Bert (RSOTW, 2007)
See Also: Multi-Platform Mania (RSOTW, 2009)
July 28th, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Apple, Apple II, Genesis, Bible, Adam, jungle, serpent, advertisement, Byte, 1979
Where's Eve? Oh wait.
This ad is actually for an Apple II-themed creative writing contest, but you'd never know it. That's because the gobs of tiny, hard-to-read text are completely overshadowed by the nude man in a jungle holding an Apple II over his crotch.
And that man happens to be Adam from Genesis.
So there you have it, folks. The Apple II was responsible for the fall of man. You know — that time Adam ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, casting all of humanity into sin. Here's a tasty quote from Wikipedia:
For many Christian denominations the doctrine of the fall is closely related to that of original sin. They believe that the fall brought sin into the world, corrupting the entire natural world, including human nature, causing all humans to be born into original sin, a state from which they cannot attain eternal life without the grace of God.
You probably won't see me discussing theology on this blog ever again, but I find this ad quite funny because, despite its tongue-in-cheek cuteness, the biblical interpretations stemming from it are myriad and potentially wildly unexpected, making this a complete failure of marketing. But that failure was likely overlooked. This was 1979 — early in the life of Apple — and it was also before the Great Masses of the Offended had a strong enough voice (i.e. The Internet) with which to share and froth over everything that displeased them.
[ From BYTE - November 1979, p.33]
Discussion Topic of the Week: How do you think people would react if Apple published an ad like this today?
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?