In the early 80’s, personal computers were a new innovation. Films like WarGames made it seem as if a kid with a keyboard could hack into anything: a school or corporate mainframe, NORAD, the US nuclear arsenal or your neighborhood bank. Hoping to capitalize on this, in 1983 CBS premiered a show which could have been considered WarGames’ intellectual successor. It featured a group of resourceful kids who solved crimes by hacking and cracking, led by Matthew Laborteaux, child star of Little House on the Prairie, and advised by a Gavilan SC-toting, mustachioed reporter played by Max Gail, formerly of the show Barney Miller. Whiz Kids lasted only a single season: 18 episodes, but all of them live on in cyberspace, on YouTube. Complete episode links contained within. [more inside]
The Onion's AV Club Asks: Just How Prescient Was Hackers Anyway?
The Passion of Dave Stevens — The work of the late, great Dave Stevens is known to comic book aficionados in the form of his enduring creation, The Rocketeer, and to art collectors and illustration enthusiasts for his reverently retro yet brilliantly modern renditions of vintage pulp characters, science fiction adventurers and iconic superheroes. But as dedicated Stevens fans know, the artist's true passion and inspiration manifests in his seemingly countless and unfailingly exquisite renderings of the female form, most typically in the classic pinup and "good girl art" style at which he became one of the very best. [nsfw comic art]
"Technology presumes there's just one right way to do things and there never is." - Robert M. Pirsig
The Museum of RetroTechnology is a curated online collection of (mostly) obsolete inventions. The exhibitions include Gearwheels From Hell, the Dynosphere monowheel, Unusual Pedal Bicycles, Propeller-Driven Sleighs, Water Engines, Dog and Goat Engines, Acoustic Location and Sound Mirrors, Optical Telegraphs, and Combat Cutlery.
Left and to the Back is a blog exploring the dark and dusty world of flop singles and albums, the kind you may find lingering near the stock room of your local second hand record store (if you still have one), or perhaps going for extortionate sums on ebay. [Found whilst trying to answer this AskMe].
Mountain Dew, Gamma World - and cake! GeekDad's Ethan Gilsdorf uncovers a long-lost pile of loot - silent Super 8 footage of a 1981 Friday night D&D session. JJ Abrams couldn't have faked it this good. (SLYT-sorta)
If you have a taste for a certain flavor of North American, 20th century rebelliousness, you may enjoy a photo blog called The Acid Sweat Lodge. Contains some NSFW images. And lots of bad-assery.
Future Shock (2, 3, 4, 5) is a glimpse at society on the precipice of the information age, in this 1972 documentary based on the Alvin Toffler classic about the world gone mad, due to technology and computers. Narrated by Orson Welles. [more inside]
You may not know who the Costacos Brothers are. But if you were a sports fan in the US during the 1980's, chances are that you had one of their posters up in your room.
Nicely scanned copies of classic Golden Guides. Highlights include Light and Color, Stars, Evolution, and the always popular guide to Hallucinogenic Plants.
Rokko Chan! Want to relieve the nes days with megaman? Now you can - in your browser! Same difficulty and annoying traps as ever :)
Here are fan-translated Game Center CX (previously) Episodes on YouTube: #1: Atlantis No Nazo, #2: Challenger, #3: Ghosts 'N Goblins, #4: Konami Wai Wai World, #5: Metroid, #6: Solomon's Key, #7 & #8: Prince of Persia: Part 1 - Part 2, #9: Mega Man II, #10: Super Mario 3. Much more after the break.... [more inside]
Here is Game Club 19XX, a new monthly podcast from Hardcore Gaming 101 (previously) in which knowledgeable gamers discuss playing through old video games without FAQs or walkthroughs. Episode 1 is on Snake's Revenge, the forgotten NES sequel to Metal Gear. (MP3 download from MediaFire, 1:27:32)
What is Pink Lady? In Japan they are remembered for a string of pop hits in the 70s, but Americans might remember them either from their disco single "Kiss In The Dark" or from an attempt to sell them to the US market in 1980 via a short-lived NBC variety show Pink Lady & Jeff (TVParty summary) with comedian Jeff Altman. (Opening). The show featured their Japanese hits, UFO, MONSTER (a bit more rock and roll), and SOS along with US hits like Boogie Wonderland, McArthur Park and the occasional guest star. (with encore) Also, Roy Orbison. Sadly, the show failed to break out and the two returned to Japan for a series of farewell concerts and retrospectives. Much, much more available at this charmingly retro, utterly exhaustive fan site devoted to them. Or just read the recaps. [more inside]
8bit Killer is an interpretation of an archetypal 8bit sidescroller within a 2.5 dimensional FPS engine. It's short, fun, and free. [more inside]
Ultra Swank - Retro Living and Design from the 50s, 60s and 70s.
Everything feels old. There have been no radical changes in style, culture, art, and fashion over the last 20 years—a stark contrast to every other two decade period going all the way back into the 19th-century, Kurt Anderson argues in Vanity Fair. Every 20 year period marked a drastic and unmistakable shift in cultural appearance with the exception of our current quarter century. [more inside]
“We try and illustrate a “universe-next-door” where the new product is the only novelty. Where there is still tea, and the traffic is still miserable.”
Future Drama is a tumblr devoted to that particular kind of futurism - corporate prediction demos of how their products will change the world - See The Mother Of All Demos from 1968 introducing the mouse, video conferencing, teleconferencing, hypertext, word processing - Apple in 1987 - Philco-Ford The Future Now!
Rule no. 1: Catch the first Pokemon you encounter in each route/cave/whatever and nothing else. If you fail to catch it, too bad, continue onwards. Rule no. 2: If your Pokemon faints, consider it dead and release it. In 2010 a 4chan user posted these rules for making Pokemon more of a challenge, as well as a short comic on his exploits in a world where Pokemon can die. The "Nuzlocke" comic became wildly popular, spawning dozens of elaborate offshoots in comic and story form. [more inside]
The BBC broadcasted the science and technology showcase show Tomorrow's World (titles on piano) on 7 July 1965 on BBC1, it ran for 38 years until it was cancelled at the beginning of 2003. Unlike the boosterism of US science programs, Tomorrow's World was more famous for it's live stunts and wry outlook ( James Burke experiences the "convenient" office of the future and the future of home gardening and crushing ennui). The BBC has an archive of episodes and clips for UK visitors, everyone else will have to be content with clips concerning Home Computers, New Banking, Nellie The School Computer, The Elliot Light Pen, Mobile Phones, and Moog Synthesizers.
Just in time for Friday Flash Fun: VanAssteroids. Watch out for Sammy!
Live From The House Of Blue Leaves, It's The 5. 6. 7. 8.'s! This all-girl Japanese punk/surf rock trio is best known in the west for performing "Woo Hoo" in Kill Bill Volume One, but two other performances were filmed during shooting, "I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield " and "I'm Blue" (Music starts at 3:01) Bonus Material: (I'm Sorry Momma) I'm A Wild One. Teenage Celopatra Hanky Panky Bomb The Twist Roadrunner Interviewed on Chic-A-Go-Go
Ana Lee's fashion blog is in Russian but with its insane number of HQ photographs [don't forget to click the "далее"], you won't care. For example, her two posts about Carol Alt almost certainly comprise the greatest documentation of that model's career to be found anywhere in the world.
Still, Expo is regarded as the best world's fair ever. Its success changed the world's view of Canada, and more importantly, it changed the way Canadians viewed themselves. For the first time the country basked in the pride and the glory of its talents and accomplishments. A nation had come of age. (previously) [more inside]
The Rutt-Etra-Izer is a WebGL emulation of the classic Rutt-Etra video synthesizer created by Felix Turner. It requires a recent version of Chrome or Firefox. If you can't get the synthesizer to work, there is a video of the audioreactive version made with Processing in the author's announcement. YMMV. Do not taunt Rutt-Etra-Izer.
A typically awesome commercial for Syke Energy by pixel art master Paul Robertson (previously). Bonus Stage: Some unused art for the Scott Pilgrim vs The World game that he worked on.
Matt Barton's Matt Chat started as a series of discussions on classic video games from Elite to System Shock 2. It now features interviews with the likes of Chris Avellone (Planescape Torment), Tim Cain (Fallout pt.1, pt.2); Arcanum, Brian Fargo (The Fall of Interplay, Waste land and Fallout, Bard's Tale and Wizardry), John Romero (Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake and the infamous Daikatana) and Al Lowe (Leasure Suite Larry pt.1 and pt.2). [more inside]
Friday Flash Fun in the (temporary) form of Soul Brother, a retro style 2d flash game from adult swim. You character can jump into a fresh body when killed, which soon proves useful as all the inhabitants of this world have different talents, and thanks to you, very short life spans. [more inside]
Friday Flash Fun: Realm of the Mad God is a co-op MMORPG shooter with cute 8-bit graphics. Death is permanent, play addictive. [more inside]
This year marks a decade of Strong Bad Emails, sent from Strong Bad's desk. Next to his computer sits a box of floppy discs, often displaying game titles. If you missed those titles, the detail-oriented Homestar Runner wiki (previously) provides game titles, summaries, and links. Many of the games are old computer games like Rise of the Dragon or Miner 2049er, and some titles are linked to Lord_Pall's revived Home of the Underdogs abandonware game archive. Other games have links to the Videlectrix catalog, where you can see box art and play some demos. Or you can go back to the Homestar Runner wiki, and go to the list of playable Videlectrix titles, like 50k Racewalker (play online) Polulation: Tire (play online) or Peasant's Quest (play online) (More previous stuff: Peasant's Quest and Where's An Egg?).
The Sinclair ZX81 is 30 years old today. The ZX81 was a hugely successful low-cost home computer produced by Sinclair Research and manufactured by Timex in Dundee, Scotland. The ZX81 came with 1 KB of on-board memory, for extra gaming power Sinclair produced a 16 KB add-on memory module and a thermal printer.
BS Zelda Retrospective (SLYT). In honor of Zelda's 25th anniversary this month, this is an interesting look at the live-broadcast Satellaview games in the Zelda series, which had some compelling and strange tweaks to the Zelda formula. The beginning is an introduction to the service, and the fun bit begins at 8:50.
Future shock? Welcome to the new Middle Ages - The 21st century will resemble nothing more than the 12th [more inside]
The miniskirts, hotpants, bellbottoms, boots, sunglasses, and hairdos of the Sixties Seventies as worn by the famous and anonymous beauties of the time. (some images NSFW)
You are in a warm, dark, comfortable place. This has been your place since you became aware that you are alive. It's almost time to enter a different world now. In 1986, Activision published a roleplaying computer game called Alter Ego. Unlike the action and fantasy titles that ruled the day, this game simulated the course of a single ordinary life. Beginning at birth, players navigated a series of vignettes: learning to crawl, reacting to strangers, getting a first haircut. The outcome of each scenario subtly influenced one's path, and with every choice players slowly progressed through infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age. Graphically minimalist -- one's lifestream is represented by simple icons, and the scenarios are all text -- the game was nevertheless engaging, describing the world in a playful, good-natured tone tinged by darkness and melancholy. And it had quite a pedigree; developer and psychology PhD Peter Favaro interviewed hundreds of people on their most memorable life experiences to generate the game's 1,200 pages of material. Unfortunately for Dr. Favaro, the game didn't sell very well. But it lives on through the web -- PlayAlterEgo.com offers a full copy of the game free to play in your browser, and the same port is available as a $5 app for iPhone and Android. More: Port discussion group - Wishlist - Vintage review - Original game manual (text or scans)
IN Gear, swinging London of 1960s and SOHO bohemian Coffee Bars of London, 1959. These are a few of the 500+ vintage documentary shorts called "Look at Life" that ran at the Odeon and Gaumont cinemas during the 50s and 60s. (via Dangerous Minds) [more inside]