Back in my Day…
I’ve been using computers and technology for a long time. The vast majority of my life in fact. I have early memories of playing games on our Commodore 64, back when I was like 4 or 5 years old. Eventually we had a DOS based system, though it didn’t have a hard drive in it. In fact it needed a floppy disk to even boot up.
I came across some of my old disk boxes while visiting my parent’s house not too long ago. I have no idea if these disks are even any good anymore, I may have a 5.25 disk drive floating around somewhere but I’m not sure it’s even compatible with any modern computer, at least not without some sort of cable conversion system. Not to mention most of this stuff can be found on abandon ware websites online, that gray area of legality for software that’s no longer particularly useful or in demand. Each of these disks contains around 500kb of data. Half of a megabyte. This image of these floppy disks, likely couldn’t fit on one of these floppy disks.
There’s a lot of fun classics in here. I always really loved the games where you could create your own content. Earl Weaver baseball, let you make your own teams, I made many based on other video games, though the Mega Man Team with it’s perfect stats (because robots) always ended up winning. Ancient Art of War was an early RTS sort of game where you could create custom campaigns. The old Gold Box Dragon Lance games were classic RPG titles where you would make custom parties and characters. My friends and I figured out a bug where you could duplicate characters and weapons so we would create unstoppable characters all equipped with the best gear.
Another favorite was NewsMaster. A simple program designed for making newsletters and fliers. I found some old files from Newsmaster on my portable drive recently. Here’s a fun chain, my 500GB portable drive is full of files I’ve been sorting out over time, many of these files came from old archive DVDs, which in turn are a collection of old archival CD-rs. one of these CDs had a collection of files pulled from sole 3.5 diskettes, one of which was an archive of files originally on these 5.25 disks.
And now, bring it around, I found an abandon ware copy of Newsmaster to open the files with.
These files are an eclectic collection of fake news papers, random graphics, journal entries (which were no longer than Tweets) and very short stories from my childhood. I’m sure that writing a paragraph back then felt like a monumental achievement, these days I feel like most blog posts contain more typed words than the entirety of my first ten years of life.
One particularly fun set of files was the NEWS News/Times. This was a video game news letter written by myself and my best friend at the time. Each “issue” had top ten lists and codes and brief notes on some game we’d been playing. The reality is it was probably a crib notes version of the most recent Nintendo Power. It’s only really notable because I often consider it the precursor to my modern blogging. The above issue was created in 1991. roughly seven years later, I’d create The Chaos Xone on Geocities, which would evolve into Lameazoid.com. It’s kind of funny how my interests really have not changed a whole ton in the past 30 years.