I’m a bit fuzzy on all this and open to correction, but….

In the UK, as far back is 1978, there was an electronic text service called Oracle, of no relation to the current-day owner of Java, OpenOffice, and VirtualBox. It was launched as a competitor to the even-older BBC service Ceefax that launched in 1974. In 1993 Oracle turned into Teletext, Inc. Teletext lasted for a good long while, up until 2009.

There is much more to that story, but we’re getting into the weeds. Our subject is the early teletype video game magazine Digitizer, a service provided on Teletext. Digitizer lasted from 1993 to 2003, a solid ten years full of typically cheeky 90’s British video game news content, delivered through the medium of ASCII text and artwork.

It’s a whole world of gaming enthusiasm from a lost era, and in it one can see the birth of a whole subculture. Some of these people are still writing today over on the site digitizer2000, although sporadically it seems. The site Super Page 58 has worked hard to archive as much of their content as they can, including a voluminous, yet still incomplete, listing of reviews.

And they liked the SNES port of Atari’s Rampart almost as much as I did!

The History of Digitizer, and Digitizer today.

Commodore 64 Ads Retrospective

This is not a real ad, it’s a reimagining, but it’s pitch-perfect.

Bryan Lunduke has a collection of old ads for what is still the best-selling model of personal computer of all time, the Commodore 64. No doubt it retains that title today on the basis of a number of technicalities, like PCs are atomized among many different makes that still all run the same OS, and people not considering an iPhone to be a computer somehow.

I’d like to draw your attention in particular to the ad for GEOS on that page, the early C64 windowed operating system that breathed new life into the system. In the end it was probably doomed due to a number of factors: Apple’s head start and much better marketing, the fact GEOS had to be booted from disk while Mac OS was partly ROM-resident, and a bit of clunkiness. But you can do rather a lot with GEOS all by itself, and it comes with a capable word processor in GeoWrite. GEOS, and its weird legacy, probably deserves a post of its own eventually.

The image above is for a fake ad, but it’s based off of an iconic, and slightly disturbing, television ad from Austrailia, Keeping Up With The Commodore: