August 25th, 2016 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Nintendo, NES, Mindscape, flier, advertisement, 1990
ULAF SAY, "MIND SCRAPE"
I believe this Mindscape flier came packed with Days of Thunder for the NES. I am not a huge fan of the games depicted here aside from 720 and Gauntlet II, both of which are pretty good Atari Games arcade ports.
And while M.U.L.E. is a favorite of mine on the Atari 800, I am not a big fan of the NES version. It's nice that it uses the Four Score / Satellite four player adapter though (Gauntlet II does as well).
[ From Mindscape Flier MIN-NES-US, 1990 ]
Discussion Topic: What's the best four-player game for the NES?
August 16th, 2016 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, website, Schmeli Caborgan, ISP, web host, Hurricane Electric, password, email, printout, Canon, BubbleJet, inkjet, anniversaries, 1995
"Don't give your password out." Oops!
21 years ago today, I received this email from Mike Leber of Hurricane Electric, a company that rented out web hosting space, among other services (in fact, they're still in business).
Since it was a setup email describing how to utilize my first-ever website space, it was important enough for me to print out on my nifty Canon BubbleJet printer. That's what you see scanned here. I probably have the original email too in electronic form sitting around somewhere.
You'll also notice that I wrote down a convoluted URL (in which I wrote a strange "(e)" after the ".com" — perhaps I was confused), which turns out to have one pointed to a ghost hunting website. I was big into that stuff back then (I was 14 at the time, if that explains anything). The Purdue email address scrawled in pencil probably has something to do with that as well.
Reading through this old email is fun today. System resources were relatively scarce back then, so the rules about what you could do with your minuscule web space were pretty strict. I particularly enjoy the "MUDS will not be tolerated" line. And the thing about calculating the mass of an electron.
Late last year, I wrote a big article about the process of creating this website (which I called "The Schmeli Caborgan") for FastCompany. I also wrote about my first ISP, Nando.Net, in a Retro Scan post earlier this year.
[ From Benj Edwards personal email printout, August 16, 1995 ]
Discussion Topic: When did you set up your first website?
August 11th, 2016 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, NES, Nintendo, Hi Tech Expressions, Funhouse, Barbie, Chessmaster, The Muppets, Tom and Jerry, The Hunt for Red October, Days of Thunder, Sesame Street, kids games, Big Bird Hide and Speak, flier, 1991
High Times with Hi Tech Expressions
This fold-out flier celebrating NES games published by Hi Tech Expressions came packed with a NES game, likely Sesame Street A-B-C and 1-2-3. (Although the "DMG" in the flier name gives me pause, because that was Nintendo's in-house abbreviation for the Game Boy.)
The games shown here aren't particularly well noted for being classics, but I am very fond of Big Bird's Hide & Speak, a fun game for small children which features impressive sampled voice work by Caroll Spinney. I was older than the target audience when it first came out, but I have played it with my youngest daughter a number of times over the years, and she loved it.
[ From Hi-Tech Expressions Flier HIT-DMG-US-1, circa 1991 ]
Discussion Topic: Have you ever played any educational games on the NES?
June 30th, 2016 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, IBM, IBM PC, 5150, Intel, 8088, advertisement, Byte, 1981
Is somebody gonna clean this mess up?
Here we have a biggole two-page IBM PC 5150 advertisement spread from 1982 — published not long after the launch of IBM's first PC in August 1981.
It looks like IBM is trying to play up the bare-metal technical angle for Byte readers, who likely were building their own PCs from kit parts just a few years prior (and some still were doing it then).
The result, quite frankly, is a huge mess (looks like my workbench). And the advertisement didn't come out too well in the magazine print run, which makes the image dark and muddy. It's not my fault, I swear!
I particularly like the phrase "the RS232C interface that gives you the world" in the advertising copy. It implies using the serial port for networking — that is, in connecting to remote computers. It's funny because back then, that statement was a hyperbolic boast that was not meant literally. Online services were limited to a teeny-tiny fraction of the world population and their capabilities were limited. Today, networking does really give you the world.
[ From Byte Magazine, February 1982, p.24-25 ]
Discussion Topic: Have you ever broken a computer while you were taking it apart? Tell us about it.
May 23rd, 2016 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Sega, Genesis, BlueSky Software, Vectorman, 16-bit, contest, Wizard, advertisement, 1995
I was a big fan of Vectorman back when it first came out. Around that time, I bought a used Sega Genesis from a friend (my first), and I rented a copy from Vectorman from Blockbuster (or did I rent an entire Genesis itself first — my memory is hazy on that point). I was blown away by Vectorman's fluid animations, great sound effects and music, and tight overall feel of the game. I still think Vectorman is one of the best games on the Genesis.
This ad comes from Wizard (the comic book magazine), and in a two-page spread, it took up one whole page on the left and about a third of the page on the right. I have cropped out the remaining 2/3 of the right page which was unrelated to the ad.
That right portion, by the way, describes Sega's "Play to Win" contest that tied into the game. Apparently, certain randomly distributed Vectorman cartridges contained in-game messages that advised the player to call a phone number and claim a prize. The top prize was $25,000 and some other perks, which you can read about on Wikipedia. The contest was a clever way to entice people to play the game at a time when 16-bit systems were on the way out.
[ From Wizard, December 1995, p.10-11 ]
Discussion Topic: In your opinion, which Sega Genesis game had the best graphics?
May 10th, 2016 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, VREAM, Virtual Reality, PCVR, PC software, 3D modeling, 3D, advertisement, 1994
If it's as easy to use as it is to pronounce, then I want it.
I was so excited about PC-based virtual reality back in the 1990s. I remember reading the early Web (circa 1995-96) about how people would build their own HMD goggles and modify a NES Power Glove to use as input for certain VR software packages. I wanted to do that too, but never did.
I also played some shareware 3D world demos where you could walk around a polygonal-3D town (and prior to that, I had vivid dreams about jumping into a 3D computer-generated world that looked like the Money for Nothing Dire Straits video).
Apparently, VREAM made some of those 1990s VR demos possible. It was a PC-based virtual reality development system created by VREAM, Inc. of Chicago. I have never used it, but it looks neat.
This ad comes from the back cover of an issue of PCVR magazine that I got from a relative. You can read more about that in this Retro Scan from 2014.
[ From PCVR, January-February 1994, back cover ]
Discussion Topic: Did you use any 3D modeling software in the 1990s? Tell us about it.
April 27th, 2016 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Nintendo, Taito, Super NES, Lufia, RPGs, EGM, advertisement, 1993
"A VAST RPG WORLD IN STUNNING GRAPHICS!"
[ From Electronic Gaming Monthly, November 1993, p.123 ]
Discussion Topic: What's your favorite RPG on the Super NES?
April 7th, 2016 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, IMSAI, IMS Associates, IMSAI 8080, Altair 8800, 8080, S-100, Byte, advertisement, 1977
The only winning move is not to play
Here's an oldie but goodie — the IMSAI 8080, a 1975 clone of the pioneering Altair 8800. Like the Altair, it used an S-100 bus, an Intel 8080 CPU, and a blue, boxy sheet metal case with front panel lights. Unlike the Altair, the IMSAI 8080 featured prominently in the 1983 movie WarGames. The machine apparently greatly annoyed Ed Roberts, the inventor of the Altair.
[ From BYTE, February 1977, p.48 ]
Discussion Topic: Have you ever used an IMSAI 8080 or Altair 8800? Tell us about it.
March 14th, 2016 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Dune II, RTS, Westwood Studios, Virgin Interactive, PC Games, strategy, Wolfenstein 3D, 1992, VGCE, advertisement
I just got a craving for The Spice
Dune II is to the real-time strategy genre as Wolfenstein 3D is to first-person shooters. Like Wolf-3D, Dune II wasn't the absolute first example of its genre, but it was the first game to bring together all the distinctive elements of its respective genre into one title — in this case, those elements would later be copied and expanded upon over and over again by games like Command & Conquer and Warcraft.
That being said, I've only played Dune II a few times — only many years after its release. I never got into it, but I can see why it is a historically important game. Warcraft was my first modern RTS game.
[ From VG&CE, November 1992, p.4 ]
Discussion Topic: What's your favorite Real-Time Strategy game of all time?
March 1st, 2016 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, IBM, PS/1, PS/2, IBM PC, computer history, Smithsonian, advertisement, 1991
Now you'll have more time to spend with your dog
I've previously featured a later-model IBM PS/1 that also happened to be my brother's college computer, circa '94. But here we see an ad for an early — if not the first — model of the PS/1. This is back when PS/1 systems had the OS and a nifty mouse-based GUI program launcher built into ROM. They also shipped with Prodigy on the hard disk. I'm starting to really want one of these for my collection.
[ From Smithsonian, December 1991, p.20-21 ]
Discussion Topic: Has a pet ever done damage to your computer or game system? Tell us about it.