[ 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?

12 Responses to “[ Retro Scan ] WorldsAway Mousepad”

  1. Multimedia Mike Says:

    I used a mousepad surprisingly recently. For a long time, I used a computer desk that had a glass top. Since all mice are optical these days, I needed a mousepad because the glass wouldn’t reflect the light properly. I recently replaced the desk and now I no longer require a mousepad.

  2. Jistuce Says:

    Fairly recently. My computer desk is glass, with a perforated metal keyboard tray. Optical mice work well on neither surface.

    Buuuuut I actually prefer trackballs, so not as recently as it could have been.

  3. Trilkhai Says:

    I still use an old mousepad from 20+ years ago, but its primary purpose now is to serve as a cushion for my wrist/hand (or rather the bone where the two meet) when I’m using a mouse or trackball. I switched to thumb-trackball that puts my hand in a better position, but I still find myself resting my hand in the old position out of habit.

  4. TK1971 Says:

    I last used a mousepad maybe five years ago at work–my firm isn’t too quick to adapt to new technology! For home use, though, it must be more than 15 years (I generally use the rollerballs/touchpads that come with my laptops).

  5. Arlandi Says:

    the last time i used a mousepad was last Tuesday. It was because i was using my laptop on top of a glass table. But anyway, it was not a real mousepad. it was just a piece of paper i can find nearby….

  6. Benj Edwards Says:

    Comments! You guys still do read this blog.

    I went through a trackball period from about 1995 to 2002 but then switched back to a mouse for gaming and easier graphics editing, I think. Or my trackball just broke and optical mice were finally good enough then to use by 2002.

    Arlandi, sounds like you’re actually using mousepaper. 🙂 Actually, isn’t that a real thing — a sticky surface to catch mice with? If only there were some global computer network that would let me know.

  7. Geoff V. Says:

    Still using a mousepad at work for wrist comfort. We can’t use wireless peripherals due to security concerns.

  8. TNLongFellow Says:

    Yeah using one right now.

    I don’t know, I guess it just seems to me, even though I am using a laser mouse that the desktop setup isn’t complete without a mouse pad. It just feels wrong to me not to use one. Habits and all that I guess.

  9. tortimer Says:

    Many years ago. Although, looking down at the wood surface of my desk, it would seem the footpads on my laser mouse have worn out a large blotch roughly the size of a mousepad. So… I now wish I’d been using one all this time.

  10. Joe W. Says:

    I use an old Func gaming mousepad at home due to a glass desk as well.

  11. Bigdukem69 Says:

    We use dark colored mouse pads at work for our wireless optical mice as the light colored desks we use do not reflect the light very well.

  12. Perry Says:

    Hi there,
    just had some nostalgic feelings and took a look what’s left of WorldsAway. Spent a portion of my online life there as well from 95 till 2005.
    Anyways, F6 and have fun.

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