Archive for October, 2008

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Satanic Printing Rites

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Qantex - Interface Age 1983(click for full advertisement)

Since Friday is Halloween, I’ve pulled out this scary, 25 year-old ad from Interface Age. The Devil doesn’t look too happy with Qantex’s latest offering — the joke being that Qantex’s new model is compatible with Diablo printers. If any of you attend a costume party this Halloween, feel free to dress as the Qantex Devil. Be sure to take pictures.

[ From Interface Age, November 1983 ]

Discussion topic of the week: Remember dot-matrix, impact, and daisy-wheel printers? How about thermal, bubble-jet, ink-jet, and laser? Tell us about your earliest printer experiences, good and bad.

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 ] The Unknown Apple Adventures

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

Fuzzy MemoryIt’s been a while since we’ve had a Fuzzy Memory mysery to solve, but I recently received another request from someone seeking resolution of their distant gaming recollections. I’m not an oracle of infinite knowledge, so like always, I need the adept VC&G readership to help solve the mystery.

Adventures 7, 8, and 9?

Ryan wrote me a few days ago regarding a computer game from his past:

Many years ago my dad brought home a 5¼” floppy with the mysterious label “Adventures 7, 8, & 9” for our Apple IIGS. One side of the disk contained three text-based games. One took place in a carnival setting, one in the “old west,” and the other in an Egyptian pyramid.

My memories are very fuzzy, but I remember the gist of each adventure. For the carnival setting, one of the tasks that you had to do was chew some old gum, stick it on the end of a branch, and retrieve a key that was in a grate. In the old west setting, there were materials available to make gunpowder. There was also a horse called “Old Paint” that always bucked you off. The strangest thing about that one was that it got “dark” after several turns of play, and if you moved around in the dark at all, you had a very good chance of breaking your neck and the game would end.

Finally, all I remember about the pyramid setting was that there was some kind of strange portal you had to open – kind of an alien/pyramid weird combo theme thing. In any case, all three of these games were the classic “Go West,” “Get Key,” “Open Door” format and were very difficult for me at the time (of course, I was about 8 at the time, so I’d love to try my hand at them again if I just knew what they were).

The only other detail I can remember is that the reverse side of the disk had a “Planetoids” non-playable demo on it. I’m pretty certain the text-based game was developed for something before the Apple IIGS, but I’m just not sure. Any help would be greatly appreciated so I can solve this lifelong mystery!

Thanks very much in advance,

His memories are quite detailed, which should be helpful. Also, the “Planetoids” clue is key — if that was a more high-profile Apple II game, then it should be easy to find its publisher. And the publisher of Planetoids was likely the publisher of the adventure games. I’ll let you guys do the rest.

The Search Begins

So what do you guys think? We need your help in identifying the game described above. If you have any ideas, please leave a comment on this post. The game is afoot!

Have a memory of a computer, video game, computer software, or electronic toy you need help identifying? Send me an email describing your memories in detail. Hopefully, the collective genius of the VC&G readership can help solve your mystery.

25 Years of Microsoft Word

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Microsoft Word 25th Anniversary25 Years Ago this week, Microsoft released Microsoft Word 1.0 for MS-DOS and Xenix. To examine this anniversary, I wrote an article for PC World, which they published yesterday.

You’d think that Microsoft Word (of all things) would be a mundane topic to write about, but in fact, it was thoroughly interesting learning experience. Word hasn’t always been at the top of the word processor heap, and its origins in the murky depths of Microsoft Xenix are quirky, to say the least. Seemingly countless versions of Word have been released over the years, so I got to twiddle around with dozens of elderly versions of the world’s most popular word processing software.

My investigations into Word history also led me to enlightening conversations with ex-Xerox, ex-Microsoft, now-billionaire Charles Simonyi in Moscow (training for his second space tourist flight); Richard Brodie (gambler extraordinaire, author of Word 1.0); and Xenix guru Antoni Sawicki, who provided the Word for Xenix screenshot. Uncovering history from those who lived it is a fascinating and priceless experience, and it’s what keeps me coming back to write more history pieces every month. Stay tuned; there’s more on the way.

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Flippin’ Enjoystick

Monday, October 20th, 2008

Enjoystick - Compute 1983(click for full advertisement)

[ From COMPUTE!, November 1983 ]

Discussion topic of the week: What’s the worst video game controller you’ve ever used?

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.

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Interact Home Computer

Monday, October 13th, 2008

Interact Computer - BYTE 1979(click for full advertisement)

When I was compiling my list of the ten worst PC keyboards of all time last year, I considered many rare and obscure computers, like this Interact Model One. If I had included the Interact, it probably would have been high on the list. Among the original chiclet keyboard’s eccentricities is the fact that the number row starts with 2, counts up to 9, then 0, then finally reaches the number 1 (sort of like a really old typewriter whose lowercase “L” was used for “1,” but lacked a “1” key altogether.).

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VC&G’s Halloween Video Game Costume Ideas (2008)

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

VC&G's Video Game Costume Ideas 2008Yep, it’s that time of year again: time for VC&G‘s famous Video Game Halloween Costume Ideas — 2008 edition.

Some video game fans have a tough time figuring out what costume to wear on All Hallows’ Eve. Every year around this time, I help them out and provide a few detailed suggestions geared towards the gaming enthusiast. These costumes are guaranteed to attract attention and garner popularity at the office Halloween party, on the street begging for candy, or anywhere in between.

[ Continue reading VC&G’s Halloween Video Game Costume Ideas (2008) » ]

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Sexual Cotton

Monday, October 6th, 2008

SWTPC Terminals - BYTE 1981“Wait till you see what these girls can do with their hands.”

I just got home from a road trip a few hours ago and I’m absolutely exhausted, so I’ll let you guys provide the humorous commentary for this one. I recall this title (Fantastic Night Dreams: Cotton) getting a hefty premium in the used game shops back in the late-1990s — it was one of the seemingly prized, relatively rare, and unabashedly Japanese CD games always locked behind a glass case. I drooled, but those discs remained just out of reach…so I stocked up on $2 NES cartridges instead.

[ From Electronic Gaming Monthly, August 1993 ]

Discussion topic of the week: What’s your favorite TurboGrafx-16 / PC Engine / Turbo Duo game? This should be a good one. The more obscure, the better.

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.