[ Retro Scan of the Week ] AOL Game Disk

January 4th, 2016 by Benj Edwards

GamePro AOL Game Disk Package - 1996click on the image above to see front and back

I've previously featured a scan of an AOL CD, but so far I have not ventured into the world of America Online floppy disk packaging…until now. Here is a gaming-centric AOL giveaway disk package — still unopened — which I believe came with an issue of GamePro magazine I received as part of a subscription in 1996.

I love the AOL screenshot printed on the package here (possibly mocked up for marketing purposes) because it offers a rare glimpse into the mid-1990s AOL interface (with a Windows 3.1 window motif), centered on "The Games Channel." If anybody has a collection of AOL screenshots from the 1990s, I'd love to see them.

[ From AOL disk package, circa 1996, front and back ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you ever play games on America Online back in the day? Tell us about it.

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Thoughware JingleDisk

December 7th, 2015 by Benj Edwards

Thoughtware JingleDisk Jingle Disk Animated musical computer christmas card animation artwork Xmas - 1985Jingle disk, jingle disk, jingle all the way

Throughout the ages, fans of Christmas have found new and varied ways to express their love for the holiday. In the 1980s, personal computer users joined in the fun, using their machines to host a new breed of animated Christmas greetings that were distributed through magazines, BBSes, or even sold on disk like Thoughtware's JingleDisk, seen here.

Upon inserting JingleDisk into your Commodore 64 or Apple II computer (It's a double-sided disk with data for the different platforms on each side) and booting it up, the user is presented with a Christmas-themed animation set to various holiday musical standards. It's fun to watch.

There is something about the warmth of the glow from a cathode ray tube screen that lends itself well to computerized Christmas celebrations — perhaps it echoes some primal link to prehistoric man sitting around the fire telling stories.

By the way, this JingleDisk came to me by way of a family friend who just turned 40 years old today. Happy Birthday, Chris!

[ From Thoughtware JingleDisk product packaging, 1985, front/back ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you ever programmed a Christmas-themed demo or sent a computerized Christmas card? Tell us about it.

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Game.com Internet Module

March 26th, 2012 by Benj Edwards

Tiger Game.com Internet Module Box Front and Back - 1997Tiger Game.com Internet Module Box

Two years ago, I posted a scan of the Tiger Game.com instruction manual. Today, I bring you the box for that console's little-understood Internet cartridge, released in 1997.

The box you see above included a Game.com serial cable (which allowed the console to be hooked up to an external RS-232 Hayes compatible PC modem) and a cartridge with the "Internet" software on it. In truth, the cartridge contained little more than ASCII text-based terminal emulator software.

In my previous Game.com Retro Scan, I described the Game.com's Internet connectivity, which I will quote below:

The Internet on the Game.com wasn't nearly as exciting as it sounds. Sure, it supported "checking your email" and uploading high scores to the Tiger website, but a user had to access the 'Net through a text-only terminal emulator cartridge — and then only via a serial cable that linked to a stand-alone dial-up modem.

It was a messy business. Being text-only, the user had to type in commands to whatever ISP the user chose (assuming they provided shell access) with the stylus on a tiny on-screen keyboard. Tiger did provide its own ISP that made the process slightly more user friendly. While far from practical, having a terminal emulator was an amusing capability. I used the Game.com call some BBSes around in 1997 for a chuckle.

As you can see, the Game.com's Internet feature wasn't very practical or useful, but it certainly serves as an amusing footnote in game console history.

By the way, Tiger once offered (or planned to offer) its own Tiger brand external modem for use with the Game.com. I'm not sure if it ever made it intro full production, but it is extremely rare either way. If anyone out there has seen one, please let me know.

[ From Tiger Game.com Internet box (module 71-529), circa 1997 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What was the first video game console you bought that could communicate with the Internet?

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