The future, for a little while anyway
March 9, 2011 8:50 PM   Subscribe

The future in 1988. (Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5)

The future in 1989.
The future in 1990.
The future in 1991.
The future in 1992.
The future in 1993.
The future in 1994.
The future in 1995.
The future in 1996.
The future in 1997.
The future in 1998.
The future in 1999.
The future in 2000.
The future in 2001.
The future in 2002.
The future in 2003.
The future in 2004.
The future in 2005.
The future in 2006.
The future in 2007.
The future in 2008.
The future in 2009.
The future in 2010.
The future today.

A collection of game and CG tech demos through the ages. For the main link before the jump:

Equinox Computer Graphics Special 1988 - Part 3 of 5. This is a one off Equinox computer graphics special documentary. It was first shown on UK Channel 4 back in 1988. This was shown during a time when CGI was starting to appear in the media. The animation looks very dated by today's standards, but at the time it was state of the art.
posted by codacorolla (11 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
the moment the artist made the World Trade Center disappear freaked me out for a second, but I'm sort of impressed with the work they were doing with those tools in 1988.
posted by aloiv2 at 9:00 PM on March 9, 2011

I've been on a Back to The Future kick the last few days. That new Back to The Future adventure game is to blame. I finished re-watching the second movie earlier today, and I can console myself by saying, hey! It's fine. That was in 2015. We still have time to crank out some hoverboards.

aloiv2: I agree. I'm also pretty impressed. I didn't think computer photo editing was that far along in the late eighties. Although most of my memories of the late eighties involve Mister Rogers and Lincoln logs.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 9:12 PM on March 9, 2011

Brings back (not entirely good memories) of the hours I sat in front of a Tektronix 4014 trying to get my graphics programs working.
posted by nightwood at 9:13 PM on March 9, 2011

I'd love to see a cost breakdown of the hardware and software costs to produce these, not to mention level of expertise.
posted by Scoo at 9:22 PM on March 9, 2011

Wow, credits for Wavefront from back when it was its own company. Oooooooold.
posted by GuyZero at 9:25 PM on March 9, 2011

Heh, photoshopping out the WTC at 3:00 in the '88 video.

Also, you're comparing real time graphics (The future today) with pre-rendered graphics. There's a big difference. Real time is a lot more challenging, and way 'behind' pre-rendered stuff.
posted by delmoi at 9:44 PM on March 9, 2011

Also, you're comparing real time graphics (The future today) with pre-rendered graphics. There's a big difference. Real time is a lot more challenging, and way 'behind' pre-rendered stuff.

Very true, real time computer graphics in 1988 would look something like this, as new Amigas were just coming out.
posted by zabuni at 9:53 PM on March 9, 2011

Just curious as to why you started at 1988. Here's a reel from 1981. Here's Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing" video, which was in heavy rotation on MTV in 1985.

Other than that, awesome post.
posted by not_on_display at 11:42 PM on March 9, 2011

Thank you for posting these. I can remember seeing this originally I think. Can anybody tell me who the narrator is? I seem to remember that she got involved in narrating a number of similar science documentaries at the time.

I guess that the definitive "computer graphics - annual state of the art" publication is the video review which has been published for SIGGRAPH since 1979. For the early editions I think you will have to pay to get hold of a video - only the more recent copies - like this from 2010 - seem to have made it online.
posted by rongorongo at 5:42 AM on March 10, 2011

I pretty sure I watched that episode of Equinox back in 1988.
posted by salmacis at 6:38 AM on March 10, 2011

I think I saw that 1988 one also. IMDB reports Miranda Richardson (Queen Elizabeth in Blackadder among other roles) narrated one in the 90s but that didn't sound like her....

Equinox, along with QED and Horizon were proper science documentary programmes back then, not like most of the dumbed down crap we get today.
posted by magpie68 at 10:12 AM on March 10, 2011

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