“Retro Scan” Enshrined at the Computer History Museum

March 8th, 2017 by Benj Edwards

Retro Scan of the Week at the Computer History MuseumLast week I was in San Francisco for the Game Developers Conference, and I had a blast. I need to write more about that soon.

On Friday, I took a day trip down to Mountain View to visit the Computer History Museum, which I had not been to since 2006.

Aside from not having visited since they opened their first major exhibit, I am friends with the senior curator, Dag Spicer, and it was great to finally meet him face to face. I also met up with Allan Alcorn (creator of Pong) there, and we wandered around enjoying the exhibits together. That too is a story for another day.

Benj Edwards and Dag Spicer at the Computer History MuseumThe CHM is a wonderful place, and the exhibits are top-notch. Just brilliant. No where else can you see the first mouse, the Pong prototype, the Atari 2600 prototype, the Community Memory machine, and so many more legendary artifacts.

I also love it because there are bits and pieces of my work scattered throughout the place.

One of their exhibits on the history of search engines features a TV slideshow that borrows many slides I created for PCWorld back in 2010. The dead giveaway is the slide that features my first ever Internet email address, redwolf@launchpad.unc.edu. A VC&G reader tipped me off to this years ago.

I am not mad about this or anything — after all, I borrowed many of those screenshots to begin with. In fact, I find it wonderful and vindicating that parts of my slideshow ended up in a museum.

After I found the slideshow, I began wandering the museum to see if they borrowed any other images from my work.

When I got to the video game section, I saw the scene pictured below, and thought, “Hmm. This looks familiar.”

Retro Scan of the Week at the Computer History Museum

“Oh yeah! They asked if they could use this a few years ago,” I thought. I had told them they didn’t need my permission, but I wondered if they gave me credit anyway.

I spent the next 15 seconds scanning for a tiny print “Benj Edwards” or something like that on a placard somewhere. I couldn’t find it.

Then it hit me — look closely at the very bottom of the image. That black bar stands out:

Retro Scan of the Week at the Computer History Museum

Yep, it’s the iconic VC&G Retro Scan of the Week “tagstrip” (the origins of which can be read about here). CHM staff actually printed it out and included it as part of the image! Holy cow, I was not expecting that.

I’m hoping they did this on purpose as a convenient way to give credit and that it wasn’t a weird printing error. If so, my long-running “Retro Scan of the Week” column is now enshrined in one of the best museums in the world.

Little tips of the hat like this make sticking with this thing worthwhile.

4 Responses to ““Retro Scan” Enshrined at the Computer History Museum”

  1. Geoff V. Says:

    That’s awesome. The tag strip has held up really well over time. It instantly informs the reader without damaging the content.

    Congrats on being part of such a cool museum!

  2. tortimer Says:

    A tribute to VC&G and the timeless beauty of analog materials. Now we just need to get companies like Nintendo to start producing proper game manuals. Because players need them? Not necessarily. The real reason is simple, because they are a pleasure unto themselves (and the joy of owning a game).

  3. Benj Edwards Says:

    I highly encourage a visit to the Computer History Museum. If you’re into computer or video game history, I think it’s even worth flying cross-country to Mountain View just to see it. There are some amazing holy relics there.

  4. Seth Says:

    Thanks for the post. I really want to see this place!

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