December 22nd, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Christmas, VTech, Power Pad, Pre Computer, JCPenney, catalog, 1994
Christmas morning wouldn't be the same without a PreComputer Power Pad
I'm a big fan of educational, semi-toy computers like the VTech PreComputer Power Pad (seen here in his scan from the 1994 JCPenney Christmas Catalog) because historians and collectors alike often completely overlook them in study of computer history.
I've previously written about the much more famous VTech Pre Computer 1000 and even did a slideshow on kids' computers for PCWorld back in 2011.
I don't have a Power Pad at the moment, but I do have a few other educational computers, including some featured in that slideshow. My favorite is probably the VTech I.Q. Unlimited or the Tiger Learning Computer. But we'll save those for another day.
Merry Christmas from Vintage Computing and Gaming
[ From JCPenney Christmas Catalog - 1994, back cover]
Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you ever own any educational or kids' computers? Tell us about them.
December 15th, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Santa Claus, Christmas, TRS-80, Radio Shack, Color Computer, CoCo, magazine cover, 1982
Santa Claus enjoys some hot CoCo on Christmas Eve
[ From TRS-80 Microcomputer News, December 1982, cover]
Discussion Topic of the Week: If you could go back in time and give yourself one Christmas present, any year, what would it be?
December 9th, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Christmas, collection, freelance work, Retro Scan, Retro GIF, 2014
It's that time of year again: the Yuletide. Over the past few years, I've been posting an annual collection of all the Christmas-related material I've written (both for this site and for others) into one place for easy reading. Below, you'll find list of off-site Christmas slideshows, other features, and of course, plenty of Retro Scans of the Week.
I have a soft spot for Christmas, having been raised with the tradition, so this list is for me as much as it is for everyone else. After going through these things again, it's amazing to see how much Christmas stuff I've posted over the years. I hope you enjoy it.
[ Continue reading The VC&G Christmas Collection (2014 Edition) » ]
December 8th, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Nintendo, Game Boy, Portable Power, handhelds, portable gaming, flier, Alleyway, Super Mario Land, Tennis, Baseball, Compact Carrying Case, Rechargable Battery Pack, 1989
With great portable power comes great portable responsibility.
The box art for Game Boy's launch titles was brilliant. So distinctive, playful, and irresistible. Even though the games themselves were blurry messes on the original Game Boy screen, the art makes me want to go back and buy those games all over again.
[ From Game Boy pack-in flyer, ca. 1989]
Discussion Topic of the Week: How many items on this flyer do you own?
December 1st, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Internet, Microforum, CD-ROM, Yellow Pages, web directory, Google, Yahoo, advertisement, Internet World, 1996
"The Most Comprehensive Directory of Internet Sites Ever Produced"
18 years ago, a fairly complete index of the entire Internet — circa 1995 — could fit on a single CD-ROM — about 20,000 sites, as the box for Microforum's Internet Connection '96 says. [Update: See comments below for a discussion on the number of websites in 1995 and 1996] I ran a website back then, and the Web did indeed feel that small. FTP sites were still a big deal in those days, so that number may include them as well.
Today, some estimates say that the Web alone consists of over one billion websites. Consider storing a simple list of one billion websites URLs. If each URL was about 25 characters long (I'm just making this up as an example), it would take around 25 gigabytes to store the list alone (or about 39 CDs worth). Google stores that list and copies of individual websites for caching. Needless to say, that takes quite a bit more storage room.
So it's amusing to think back to a time when you might actually buy a professionally mastered and duplicated CD-ROM containing web addresses, many of which were potentially obsolete by the time the disc landed in your hands (I just used Yahoo's web directory). Now we have Google. Imagine that: using the Internet to index itself.
[ From Internet World - February 1996, p.117]
Discussion Topic of the Week: What year did you create your first website?
See Also: Internet In a Box (RSOTW, 2014)
November 24th, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Quizagon, computer game, Apple II, IBM PC, Commodore 64, VIC-20, family, The Seven Cities of Gold, Sonic, kart racing, Thanksgiving, advertisement, Compute, 1983
“Whoa…what’s in these brownies, Grandma?”
Thanksgiving is almost upon us again, so it's time to gather around your home PC for a game of…Quizagon?
Yes, Quizagon. A game I've never played, nor will I for the foreseeable future. It looks like a hexagon-themed family trivia game, which is not my bag, man. But what a great photo.
Instead, I'm going to host a The Seven Cities of Gold marathon on an Atari 800XL with my brother. We plan on exploring a completely new continent while interacting vigorously with the natives. Meanwhile, my brothers- and sisters-in-law will be playing Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed on my dedicated gaming PC that is hooked to the flat-screen living room TV. It's a great kart game to play on Steam with four Xbox 360 controllers that's easy to set up and jump into. Fun times shall be had by all.
By the way, I first used this amusing scan in a 2009 Thanksgiving-related slideshow I did for Technologizer (hoping I'm not repeating it on VC&G). If you're in the mood, here's some other Thanksgiving-related material from the VC&G archives.
[ From Compute! - November 1983, p.15]
Discussion Topic of the Week: Do you have any family video gaming planned for this Thanksgiving? If so, what are you going to play?
November 17th, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, CP/M, MS-DOS, Fujitsu, Micro 16s, 8086, Z80, multiprocessor, advertisement, Personal Computing, 1983
The shotgun approach: z80 and 8086 in one box
[ From Personal Computing - November 1983, p.14]
Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you ever owned a computer with two different primary CPUs in it?
November 10th, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Sega, Fighters MegaMix, Fighting Vipers, Virtua Fighter, Saturn, fighting game, advertisement, GamePro, 1997
Even polygons get mad sometimes
[ From GamePro - August 1997, rear cover]
Discussion Topic of the Week: If you're old enough to remember it in the arcade, what did you think of Virtua Fighter the first time you saw it?
November 3rd, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Sinclair, ZX81, Timex-Sinclair 1000, Memotech, small computer, modules, expansion, advertisement, Personal Computing, 1983
Extend your ZX81 a full ten inches
The Sinclair ZX81 (marketed in non-kit form as the Timex-Sinclair 1000 in the US) was a tiny computer with a tiny price and tiny capabilities.
It was possible, however, to make up for some of those shortcomings with a wide array of plug-in peripheral modules from Memotech, seen here in this ad from 1983. Furthermore, by piggybacking one module onto the next, it was possible to create an even more capable — and far longer — ZX81.
I wish I had some of these Memotech modules to mess around with. All I have is the bulbous Timex-Sinclair 16K RAM Module. Time to check eBay.
[ From Personal Computing - November 1983, p.18]
Discussion Topic of the Week: What's the smallest non-portable computer you've ever used? (e.g. Timex-Sinclair 1000)
October 27th, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Seika, Legend, Super NES, beat em up, Golden Axe, GameSetWatch, Simon Carless, Game Ads a Go Go, advertisement, EGM, 1994
MEAT IS NEAT
I thought I had some Halloween-themed scans saved up for this year, but it looks like I don't. My magazines are in cold storage at the moment (buried somewhere under the Arctic tundra), so I can't get to them to scan a new one.
Time to fall back on some old scans. This looks pretty scary, right? I wouldn't like to run into that zombie warrior in person.
Thinking back, I recall that I scanned this particular ad for Seika's Legend in 2006 while working on my Game Ads A-Go-Go column (Simon Carless thought of that name, by the way) for the now defunct GameSetWatch. Back then, I didn't keep track of which issue each scan came from, so I'll have to come back later and update the post when I run across the ad in a magazine again.
As for the game this page advertises, I know very little about it. I just now played Legend in a Super NES emulator to refresh my memory. It is a fantasy-themed arcade beat-em-up similar to Golden Axe. It controls like sludge (your guy moves with the speed and agility of a slug) but has two-player co-op (always a winning feature) and is fairly fun if you have the patience to stick with it.
Me? I don't like walking at 0.3 miles per hour in a game, so I only played it for two minutes.
[ From Electronic Gaming Monthly, 1994 (details I need to look up again)]
Discussion Topic of the Week: What's your favorite beat-em-up game?