[ Retro Scan ] WorldsAway Mousepad

March 9th, 2017 by Benj Edwards

CompuServe Fujitsu Cultural Technologies WorldsAway mousepad scan - 1995Echoes of Ancient Technicolor Greece

Back in 1995, CompuServe and Fujitsu launched a graphical online chat world called WorldsAway. I used it from the very start (at least within a month of the launch, I think), and quickly became enveloped in the beautifully illustrated world and the sense of community it fostered.

I've written in-depth about WorldsAway before — both on VC&G in a previous Retro Scan (for its first print ad) and in a "This Old Tech" column on PCWorld back in 2015.

Not long after the WA launch in 1995, Fujitsu held a contest on CompuServe that was simple to enter — you had to send an email or answer a short survey (forgot what it was exactly). Lucky for me, I won the contest, and I received a really cool package of WorldsAway-branded swag. I'll try to remember everything: a sweatshirt, a pen, a clear acrylic coffee mug, a keychain flashlight, and the mousepad you see here.

The coolest thing about this mousepad is that it shows an illustrated overhead map of the Dreamscape/Kymer/whatever it was called as Fujitsu staff originally designed it. It stayed within its Greco-Roman-inspired theme. When WorldAway launched, only a handful of these locales were accessible — I think it wasn't until 2000 or so that all of them were actually completed and opened to WA users (although I don't really remember the Theatre opening up, but I quit in 2001).

Speaking of mousepads, while they were essential in the days of rolling-ball mice (some nice mouse history I wrote here), they are technically optional with today's optical mice. But I still use one on my desk to provide a uniform surface for my Microsoft optical mouse.

[ From Fujitsu Cultural Technologies WorldsAway Mousepad, 1995 ]

Discussion Topic: Let's talk about mousepads. When was the last time you used one?

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[ Retro Scan ] Vectorman "Play to Win"

May 23rd, 2016 by Benj Edwards

BlueSky Software Vectorman Play to Win Sega Genesis Advertisement Scan - 1995IT"SSSS AWEESSSOOOMME

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?

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Halloween Caption Contest

October 22nd, 2007 by Benj Edwards

VCG Halloween Caption Contest Image

Halloween will soon be upon us, and you know what that means. That's right! It's time for VC&G's 5th caption contest.

Your task? Simply write the funniest caption you can think of for the image above. Anyone out there may enter the contest as many times as they want by writing a comment on this post. I will select the winning caption a week from today and post the result. The winner will receive an autographed*, heavily used copy of Pac-Man for the Atari 2600, which I will mail to him/her if he/she lives in the United States.

But of course, it's not really about winning; it's about the self-satisfaction you'll gain by entertaining your peers and the joy of participating in a community event.

So join in the fun. Let's see what you guys can come up with for this one.

If you use this image on your site, please support "Retro Scan of the Week" by giving us obvious credit for the original scan and entry. Thanks.

* Autographed by Ulaf Silchov.

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Ultima VII Immortality Contest

July 9th, 2007 by Benj Edwards
Ultima VII Contest Flier
Once upon a time, Origin ran a contest in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of the Ultima series. The developer included a "black orb of the moons" (a piece of polished obsidian) in most boxed copies of Ultima VI, released in 1990. But in the case of ten lucky owners, they included a reproduction of an Ultima rune (I assume ten, anyway — it's the number of runes pictured on the flier). Folks who found a rune in their box automatically won a spot as an NPC character in Ultima VII. Click on the image above to see the full flier describing the contest.

I've read about people winning the Ultima VII contest somewhere before, so I assume Origin went through with it. Did anybody out there get a rune or otherwise become an NPC in Ultima VII? By all means, let us know!

If you use this image on your site, please support "Retro Scan of the Week" by giving us obvious credit for the original scan and entry. Thanks.

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