Archive for March, 2012

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Internet Module

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Tiger Internet Module Box Front and Back - 1997Tiger Internet Module Box

Two years ago, I posted a scan of the Tiger instruction manual. Today, I bring you the box for that console’s little-understood Internet cartridge, released in 1997.

The box you see above included a serial cable (which allowed the console to be hooked up to an external RS-232 Hayes compatible PC modem) and a cartridge with the “Internet” software on it. In truth, the cartridge contained little more than ASCII text-based terminal emulator software.

In my previous Retro Scan, I described the’s Internet connectivity, which I will quote below:

The Internet on the wasn’t nearly as exciting as it sounds. Sure, it supported “checking your email” and uploading high scores to the Tiger website, but a user had to access the ‘Net through a text-only terminal emulator cartridge — and then only via a serial cable that linked to a stand-alone dial-up modem.

It was a messy business. Being text-only, the user had to type in commands to whatever ISP the user chose (assuming they provided shell access) with the stylus on a tiny on-screen keyboard. Tiger did provide its own ISP that made the process slightly more user friendly. While far from practical, having a terminal emulator was an amusing capability. I used the call some BBSes around in 1997 for a chuckle.

As you can see, the’s Internet feature wasn’t very practical or useful, but it certainly serves as an amusing footnote in game console history.

By the way, Tiger once offered (or planned to offer) its own Tiger brand external modem for use with the I’m not sure if it ever made it intro full production, but it is extremely rare either way. If anyone out there has seen one, please let me know.

[ From Tiger Internet box (module 71-529), circa 1997 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What was the first video game console you bought that could communicate with the Internet?

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Keystick: Keyboard Joystick

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Keystick Keyboard Joystick in Electronics Catalog Ad - 2000That must be one heck of a spreadsheet you’re working on.

[ From Marlin P. Jones and Associates Electronics Catalog, 2000 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Do you prefer playing classic PC games (say, pre-Doom) using a keyboard, a mouse, or a joystick?

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] The iPad of the 1980s

Monday, March 12th, 2012

1980s iPad - TRS-80 Model 100 Catalog Page - 1984It’s the MICRO EXECUTIVE WORKSTATION, people!

iPad, schmyepad. In the 1980s, we had hair on our chests, far fewer seat belts, and we walked backwards downhill halfway from school every day in the monsoon season. AND WE LIKED IT. We also used the TRS-80 Model 100 — a sleek 3.9-pound, 2-inch thick machine that could run 20 hours on a single set of four AA batteries — for all of our mobile computing needs.

Imagine 8 kilobytes of RAM. Imagine a full travel keyboard and a 240×64 display that could fit in your lap. Imagine downloading stock prices at $12/hour from CompuServe at 300 bits per second over two acoustic couplers. It’s not a fantasy — it’s life in 1983.

Below, I present for your perusal a stat-by-stat comparison between the mighty Radio Shack wonder and today’s iPad, then I ask you: which is truly superior?

[ Continue reading [ Retro Scan of the Week ] The iPad of the 1980s » ]

10 Computer RPGs That Defined the 1980s

Monday, March 12th, 2012

10 Computer RPGs That Defined the 1980s

Over the weekend, published a slideshow I put together covering 10 classic computer RPGs of the 1980s. Here is a passage from the introduction that excited Slashdot recently:

Throughout our story, we’ll cover 10 classic computer games that both defined and extended the definition of the RPG in the 1980s. You’ll see names like Ultima, The Bard’s Tale, and Might and Magic, which may seem familiar, but you’ll also find a few surprising titles that you may never have heard of.

It’s funny — I was going to try to sneak this one past the Internet populace with a modest, unassuming title instead of something like “THE TEN MOST IMPORTANT RPGS OF THE 1980S.” But nooo, someone found it anyway, dug out the interesting kernel of truth buried in the introduction, and put it on Slashdot for all to see.

I bet if I had titled it something like “10 Games,” we would be hearing about it on the CBS Evening News tonight.

All that being said, I hope you enjoy it.

Read “10 Classic Computer RPGs” at

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Get Pocket Power!

Monday, March 5th, 2012

SNK Neo Geo Pocket Color Ad - 1999Why 146 simultaneous colors? Because it’s one more than 145!

I previously wrote about the Neo Geo Pocket Color in a Retro Scan of the Week from 2010, but I ran across this colorful 1999 ad for the console recently and couldn’t resist. I’ve always had a soft spot for this would-be Game Boy killer that never lived up to its true potential.

[ From Electronic Gaming Monthly, September 1999, p.219 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Why do you think the Neo Geo Pocket Color failed to achieve long-term success?