Archive for October, 2010

12 Last-Minute Tech Halloween Costume Ideas (PCMag)

Friday, October 29th, 2010

12 Last-Minute Tech Halloween Costume Ideas (PCMag)

If you like my regular VC&G series of Halloween costume ideas, then you might enjoy this piece I just whipped up for PCMag, titled “12 Last-Minute Tech Halloween Costume Ideas.” Readers seeking practical costume ideas may be disappointed, but readers expecting boatloads of Benj-style Halloween humor will hit the jackpot. Or at least I hope so.

Happy Halloween!

Here’s a list of the VC&G Halloween Costume Ideas articles:

2010 Video Game Edition
2009 Video Game Edition
2008 Video Game Edition
2007 Video Game Edition
2006 Video Game Edition
2006 Computer Edition

VC&G’s Halloween Video Game Costume Ideas (2010)

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

VC&G's Video Game Last-Minute Costume Ideas 2010Halloween is only four days away, and if you haven’t chosen your costume already, you’re screwed. Luckily, VC&G is here to help (once again) with 13 fresh last-minute costume ideas.

Through this article, things you will see. Other places. The future…the past. Old friends long gone.* Regardless of the vintage, each of these costumes is guaranteed to get you candy or your money back. Did I mention this is the fifth entry of this longstanding VC&G tradition? Most excellent.**

* Modified Yoda quote.
** Unmodified Bill & Ted quote.

[ Continue reading VC&G’s Halloween Video Game Costume Ideas (2010) » ]

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Witchaven

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Witchaven PC Ad - 1995“The spell is cast this Halloween!” *GASP!!!*

That spooky, spooky holiday is just around the corner, so I figured you guys might enjoy something in theme. I think I’ve played Witchaven once or once before — even if only because it used the Build engine — but I don’t remember it well. What did you guys think of it?

[ From Computer Gaming World, September 1995, p.29 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What’s your favorite scary/creepy computer or video game? Any platform, any era.

NES Oddities (25th Anniversary)

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Nintendo Entertainment System Oddities at Technologizer

If you’ve checked out this week’s Retro Scan and maybe even my NES teardown, you already know that Nintendo released the NES in the United States 25 years ago today (that would be 1985 — I’ll spare you the math).

In honor of the anniversary, I gathered up 13 examples of NES-related weirdness and conveniently packaged them in a slideshow format for Technologizer. The result is “Nintendo Entertainment System Oddities,” a gallery in the same vein as my Super Mario Oddities and Game Boy Oddities pieces for Technologizer. I hope you enjoy it.

Maybe all this NES lovin’ will inspire you to dust off your old console and revisit some NES classics. It certainly did me.

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Model No. NES-001

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Nintendo Entertainment System Face Front Scan - 1985One of the most successful consoles of all time.

Nintendo released the Nintendo Entertainment System 25 years ago today in the US. Here’s a scan of that famous console itself.

I first played a NES in 1986 or 1987, likely with Super Mario Bros. as my first game (as described here). What an amazing experience it was. To say that the NES defined video gaming for my generation is almost an understatement. From 1986-1990, the term “video game” was synonymous with “Nintendo” for kids in the US. From their perspective, there was no other.

Unlike many kids my age, I was aware of what had come before (Atari), and that made the NES all the more amazing. Happy 25th birthday, NES. My generation worships you.

[ Nintendo Entertainment System Console (face), circa 1985 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: How did you feel when you played a NES game for the first time? Tell us when/where it happened and describe the episode.

Inside the Nintendo Entertainment System (25th Anniversary)

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Inside the Nintendo Entertainment System - Workbench Teardown on PC World

In October 1985, Nintendo released the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in the United States. 25 years later, I took one apart for the wood-grained glory that is my “workbench series” of tech autopsies (this is my 11th entry). It’s up now on PC

Back in 2008, I dismantled the NES’s Japanese counterpart, the Nintendo Famicom (the NES’s Japanese counterpart), if you’re curious to see that. There’s a full list of my workbench teardowns below.

I hope you enjoy it. When you’re done, feel free to share your fondest NES memories in the comments below.

Here are my previous workbench teardowns: Atari 1040STf, Atari 800, Commodore Amiga 1000, Commodore 64, Nintendo Game Boy, Nintendo Famicom, Apple IIc, IBM Model M Keyboard, TRS-80 Model 100, and Macintosh Portable.

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] “The First-Ever Dragon Combat Simulator!”

Monday, October 11th, 2010

DragonStrike SSI Flier - 1990“Dragons attack with talons, fangs, and deadly breath weapons.”

Just yesterday, my wife’s uncle brought over boxes of his old Atari ST stuff and dumped them at my house (per my request, of course). Among the delightful vintage goodies was a Mega ST2 and dozens of boxed Atari ST games. I opened the box for Questron II and was immediately confronted by this colorful 5.5″ x 8.5″ flier for DragonStrike, another game from Strategic Simulations (SSI).

The design proudly proclaims, “The FIRST-EVER dragon combat simultor!” — as if “dragon combat simulator” was a genre gamers had been clamoring for ceaselessly for years.

I’ve never played this game, but I was always a fan of SSI’s gaming titles. They published some of computer gaming’s highest quality software back in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

[ From “New Games from SSI! Catalog Supplement,” Spring/Summer 1990, p.1 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What are some of your favorite Strategic Simulations games?

Remembering the Macintosh TV

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Remembering the Macintosh TV on

Recently, Macworld asked me to write something about the rare and mysterious Macintosh TV (1993) to tie in with the launch of the 2nd generation Apple TV. So I did, and you can read the result over at today. Here’s the teaser text from the site:

Apple’s recent overhaul of the Apple TV has pundits scrambling to analyze and dissect the company’s renewed push into the living room. Judging from all the excitement, you might think “Apple + TV” was something unique to the 21st century. Not true. Benj Edwards revisits Apple’s first foray into TV-computer integration, circa 1993.

Hope you enjoy it.

Does anyone out there own (or formerly own) a Macintosh TV? If so, I’d love to hear about your experiences with it in the comments below.

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Computer/Phone/Terminal

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Rolm Cedar Telephone Terminal Computer in BYTE - 1985All telephones should look like this. (click above for full scan)

It’s the Rolm Cedar — a combination PC/Telephone with 512K memory, a 9″ monitor, dual 5.25″ floppy drives, and MS-DOS 2.11. I’m not sure if this unit ever went into production, but I want one! (It also came with a keyboard, not pictured.)

Click the image above see the full text from this product’s January 1985 “What’s New” introduction in Byte Magazine.

[ From BYTE Magazine, January 1985, p.39 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What’s the weirdest computer you’ve ever used?

The Internet’s Forgotten Games

Friday, October 1st, 2010

12 Forgotten Online Games

I’ve been working too hard and my brain feels like a block of sand (whatever that means), but I need to share this link with you before I collapse.

Just today, PCMag published my latest piece for them, a slideshow of 12 “forgotten” online games that you can still play. It’s mostly composed of intriguing telnet classics, although a few ancient, overlooked MMOs show up on the list as well.

I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please spread word of it far and wide. Leave no door unknocked; no word of slideshow evangelism unsaid. Tattoos — lots of tattoos. If you succeed, there will be more to come.