Games from the classic (Space Invaders onwards) and later eras of arcade machines tend to be preserved fairly well, or at least have MAME watching their backs, but there was a whole era of arcades before that time, that pose special challenges for preservation. Atari/Kee’s early release The Quiz Game Show, for instance, their first game using a processor, read questions off of special data tapes that may not even exist nowadays. Many games from that era had no processor, and were constructed out of discrete logic components.
When I wrote part one of We Love Atari Games, I was surprised by how many games from this era are so little known now. Atari’s Football, for example, sold extremely well, even keeping up with Space Invaders for a little while (until Super Bowl season that year ended), but I barely even heard of it before I started working on the book.
These games are important to preserve too, but the difficulty in emulating them, their great rarity, and the inescapable arrows of time and entropy present huge challenges. Please listen to the podcast for more information, from people who know much more about them than me.
Windows 3.0 is where it became obvious that Windows was going to be a big thing. Previous versions of Windows were novelties. Now Microsoft had something that looked as good as a Mac. MS-DOS had become the de-facto standard for computing, but its UI was a command prompt, great for power users but impenetrable for the average PC owner. Windows 3.0 began to change that, and Windows 3.1 was a substantial improvement upon that.
April 6th is the 30th anniversary of Windows 3.1, released in 1992. While many of its elements may seem unfamiliar to younger users-there is no Start Button, desktop directory, taskbar, Windows Explorer or web browser-millions of people got their first exposure to Windows here. It used a “Program Manager” to allow users to launch their software.
File icons don’t appear on the Desktop. Minimized programs appear there instead, at the bottom of the screen. And under the hood is MS-DOS, which would remain around in some form until Windows XP finally annihilated it completely in 2001.