Archive for April, 2008

[ Fuzzy Memory ] Tutankhamen Rises Again

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Fuzzy MemoryWe’re back. Last week’s Fuzzy Memory mysery was such an astounding success that we’ve received another request from someone seeking resolution of their distant childhood gaming memories. I’m not a fount of infinite knowledge, so like always, I need the adept VC&G readership to help solve the mystery.

Spirits of Ancient Egypt

Julia, from Australia, wrote me a few days ago regarding an electronic handheld game from her past:

G’day red

I’m hoping you can help me locate a game I played when I was a child. I live in South Australia. The game was a handheld game made around 1981 with a lcd screen. The name Tutankhamen comes to mind but it may have been called something else, but I’m pretty sure it had an Egyptian theme. I don’t remember how the game was played, I only remember what it looks like. It may have been red in colour, small between 10-20cm wide an I recall it had a little black stand attached to the bottom of it. I think it was modelled after the 2 player tabletop arcade games except a mini version.

Your help would be much appreciated!



[ Continue reading [ Fuzzy Memory ] Tutankhamen Rises Again » ]

The 2008 Hamfest Report

Monday, April 28th, 2008

Benj's 2008 Hamfest ReportA couple weekends ago, I made the requisite annual trek to RARSfest, my local hamfest of choice, which takes place on the NC State Fairgrounds. You might remember my in-depth slideshow on a similar hamfest adventure two years ago. Well, this year I decided to take a few shots of the ‘fest again, and I thought you might enjoy them. So hop in the HamCar, and we’ll take a quick ride through RARSfest 2008.

[ Continue reading The 2008 Hamfest Report » ]

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Online Dating, Circa 1985

Monday, April 28th, 2008

Online Dating Circa 1985 - American People Link AdThey put that blue streak there for a reason.

It may seem like online dating is a new thing, but it stretches back farther than you’d think. Case in point: American People/Link, an early dial-up relationship service using Teletext — a much hyped (but little used) online graphical display technology at the time. I’m not sure how successful the service was, but that guy looks pretty happy. If anybody out there ever used People/Link, we’d love to hear from you.

[ From Popular Computing, February 1985 ]

Discussion topic of the week: Have you ever dated someone you met online? Beyond that, how have computer networks changed your social life?

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.

Celebrity Computer Endorsements

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

Celebrity computer endorsements article on PC World

Hot off the virtual PC World presses comes my latest volley of vintage nostalgia. This time I covered celebrity computer endorsements.

William Shatner, Alan Alda, Bill Cosby, Isaac Asimov, and other celebrities promoted certain brands of PCs in the early 1980s, and this PC World slideshow surveys the topic well, with eleven scans straight from the vintage source material. And just to warn you: any references you see to man-boobs came directly from the Great Editors in the Sky, although my original text was no less wacky. After all, if it’s good enough for Shatner…

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Too Little, Too Late?

Monday, April 21st, 2008

TurboGrafx-16 Take Three Ad - 1992TTI took three of these and never woke up.

[ From Video Games and Computer Entertainment, November 1992 ]

Discussion topic of the week: Pretend it’s 1991 and you’re giving advice to NEC executives on how to save the TurboGrafx-16 in the United States. What do you say?

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.

[ Fuzzy Memory ] Seeking Childhood Computer Toy

Friday, April 18th, 2008

Fuzzy MemoryOften we yearn to reclaim fond memories from childhood, but those memories remain just out of reach. Sometimes the event or object we’re seeking happened so long ago that our recollections have become foggy or even distorted over time.

Well, in a way, that’s why I’m here. As a historian, I like to help people reconnect with and rediscover the past. I regularly receive emails from people looking for information on games, toys, or computers that they haven’t seen in years. Last week, I found another such email waiting in my inbox that left me stumped. That’s why I’m turning to you, my wonderful readers, for help in solving the mystery.

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Fly in the Face of Reality

Monday, April 14th, 2008

CA Products Virtual Pilot Flight Yoke Controller PC AdTom’s congenital lack of eyeballs had never been an obstacle…until now.

[ From Video Games and Computer Entertainment, November 1992 ]

Discussion topic of the week: What’s your favorite flight simulator software of all time?

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.

Own a Glowing NES Cartridge: Glider Special Edition

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

RetroZone Glider NES Special Edition Glowing

Brian Parker of RetroZone is at it again, reinventing the NES homebrew scene with innovative new products. This time he’s selling a special edition Glider NES game cartridge on eBay that, aside from being a previously unreleased title, will glow while it’s being played.

[ Continue reading Own a Glowing NES Cartridge: Glider Special Edition » ]

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Choose Your Own Adventure

Monday, April 7th, 2008

Choose Your Own Adventure #39: Supercomputer - Front CoverFront cover of Supercomputer by Edward Packard (1984)

While looking through some old boxes a few weeks ago, I stumbled across my brother’s large collection of vintage Choose Your Own Adventure books. These books, as a series, were very popular in the early 1980s. Bantam published over 180 different Adventures from 1979 to 1998.

Each Choose Your Own Adventure book is similar to an adventure computer game. You read a few pages, and then you’re faced with different paths that your character can take:

If you free Danny from the barn even though Uncle Grog might catch you, turn to page 23.
If you give up and throw your SuperTorch in the hay, turn to page 40.

The outcome of the story depends on your choices, and every book contains multiple endings.

One book in my brother’s set stood out from the rest: Supercomputer, by Edward Packard (1984). It’s an interesting artifact of the popular conception of computers at the time, echoing common 1980s fantasy themes involving 500 lb. CRT-display machines achieving sentience, starting a nuclear war, or simply doing all your homework.

[ Continue reading [ Retro Scan of the Week ] Choose Your Own Adventure » ]

Correction: Apple IIpc Actually 3 GHz

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

Vintage Computing and Gaming LogoYes, the last two posts on VC&G were April Fools’ gags. The first was a legitimate TRS-80 scan that I manipulated to look freaky. I posted it on the 31st because that was the closest Monday to April 1st (I post a new Retro Scan of the Week every Monday). You’ll notice that the ad reads “Radio Snack,” so that should be the warning sign to future alien computer historians who might think it was authentic. Hopefully you didn’t stake your house / car / life savings on that being the real deal. If you did, then I applaud you on your unflinching loyalty and trust in the site.

I hope I got your hopes up with talk of the Apple IIpc. Sounds like an exciting idea, doesn’t it? With devices like the C-One popping up, you never know what will happen in the future. Steve Wozniak himself said (via email) that he loved the prank, so I guess, based on that criteria alone, it was a success. Sadly, no real Apple IIpc (that I know of) is in the works.

So now it’s time to move on into the greater world of April. After all, more Vintage Computing and Gaming always awaits us on the road ahead.