90's Computer Nostalgia.

The most endangered memories.
March 20, 2009

If your here at this site, chances are your into computers on some level. Im in no way a computer expert (far from it) but I am an average joe and I would like to share some of my first (and fondest) memories on computers and the internet.

This isnt my computer but its the same exact model we had, im sure many of you had one of these Packard Bell's. PC World voted Packard Bell as one of the top ten worst pcs ever, but when my family brought this machine into our home in 1994 it was the greatest thing I had ever seen. We all talk about our love of our old gaming systems such as NES and Genesis, but what about your first pc? We purchase things from track jackets to belt buckles that bear the image of nintendo controlers and such but where are the t-shirts for packard bell and windows 95? Many of us talk about the hundreds of games and movies we loved as kids; but what about all the software and game applications from the past? The more we advance in technology the more these memories are lost in time.

Above is the Windows 95 disc Microsoft included with each pc purchased with Windows installed. Its pretty much just a few random games and videos that showcased just what windows was capable of. Nothing special at all by todays standards; but like fire to primative cave men this was amazing to me.

One of the music videos included was Buddy Holly from Weezer, one of my favorite songs at the tme. The video quality was very poor compared to MTV, but the fact that I could watch a Weezer video any time I wanted to on my computer was revolutionary. I must have watched this video a thousand times.

I dont remember this movie at all. What I do remember is the trailer for it that was included on the Windows 95 disc. Now days the internet is filled with literally millions of movie trailers but this had to be the first movie trailer on a computer ever. Funny though, im sure even with it's inclusion with every pc that was sold back then, the movie still didnt do well. This disc also had a really fun bumper game on it, sorry I couldnt find a single picture from it on the internet (and thats something you cant say often). Just more proof that these are dying memories.

Another free software program included was the Spiderman Cartoon Maker. It was pretty much a primitave version of flash software where you made your own clippets of Spiderman. I didnt realize until today how much this must have influenced me in my life, I now work at an advertising company editing video; its clear that my time playing with this software as a kid lead to my interest in the field today.

The last of the free software im gonna be talking about today is Encarta 95. At its time of conception there was nothing like it. Today the internet has become an endless supply of information; any question you have can be answered with just a few clicks. Until Encarta came out I had to do all of my research on the families giant encyclopedia set from the eighties. Im not saying that it had a ton of information because to be honest it was quite limited; but it really did set the groundwork for what internet encyclopedias would come to be.

One of the greatest things Encarta 95 introduced me to was David Bowie. I had never heard of him as a kid but here he was on encarta with pictures, music samples and a biography. That picture above is the exact picture used on Encarta, and for years I thought that was how he always looked. It was very suprising to me when I saw his Ziggy Stardust and cross dressing phases.

The computer was more than just an eductaional tool for me, as we all know the pc came with a few games too. Above is a picture of SKIFREE a game until today, I had completely forgot about. Skifree was a very simple game, you pretty much just ski'd down an endless mountain, hitting jumps and avoiding trees. I say endless but its really not; after a while a giant Sasquatch comes out and eats you.

Scary huh?

The first game I ever bought for the pc was Wolfenstein 3D, packaged with Doom. Now I played Doom just as much as the next guy ; but I feel it deserves its own article so I wont get into it. Instead, ill talk a bit about Wolfenstein. Many dont know this but Wolfenstein 3D is actually a sequel to Castle Wolfenstein on the Apple 2 in 1981. I never played it but from what I understand, it was more of a stealth based game like metal gear.

The level designs were anything but special, I use the phrase "level design" loosely, considering each level is just a bunch of square rooms on a flat plane. But it was the first game to ever make me feel as if I was really inside of it. The game immersed me in its pixelated world of nazis and german shepherds. The greatest part? Killing Hitler all over again! Except this time the furher got a giant robot suit.

All hail RoboHitler!

Often we talk of our fond memories of Doom and Wolfenstein. To me, there are a number of subjects that have been talked about so much to the point that they shouldnt really even be talked about anymore. For example " Man I love Super Mario Bros. That game was so much fun!" Yeah I know it is, we all know it is, it goes without saying. My point? Id like to leave my stamp on Retrojunk.com as a person who conjures up forgotten memories, things you loved but dont remember you love. One perfect example of what im talking about is Chex Quest.

Yes thats a man inside of a giant piece of cereal zapping green aliens. Looks insane? You bet it was. But it was also a ton of fun. You were the Chex Warrior and you used weapons like spinning sporks to defeat the green flemoids. You may have never played or heard of this game, but it has a massive fanbase; so much to the point that unofficial sequals have been created by fans.

"Eat spork flemoid!!"

The game also came with 50 free hours of AOL! Can you remember when free AOL hours actually meant something? It was insane! They started off advertising 10 free hours then by the end of it they were giving away 789,039 free hours (or something like that). Me and my friends use to steal them (even though they were free) from stores just to have something to throw at each other. I used to work at a store that gave these away and I spent much of my free time finding new ways to destroy them... useless things.

Speaking of useless things... what about AOL itself? Does anybody use AOL nowadays? I mean I have an old email I use from AOL but as far as actually signing on and checking the chatrooms out, that hasnt happened in years. I think the last time I actually did check the chatrooms out they were as dead as a graveyard. Its amazing that AOL has become so obsolete, it used to be the one and only way to get online but with high speed internet, AOL has gone the way of the dinosaur.

The biggest example of how computer technology is full of dying memories is the internet itself. How can I go back and enjoy the oldness of wwf.com circa 1996? Answer: You cant, unless someone has made a clone site (wich is highly doubtful). Just look at that advertisment! Wow, they have something called a "gallery", what a joke! They even feel the need to showcase the awesome "main screen", wow. Its great to say that I was around when there was only a hand full of websites.

We all know that the internet has changed the music bizz forever, but remember the first time you saw one of these? I didnt even know what it was for, I thought it was for taking tracks from your other cds and putting them together on this disc, sort of like a mix tape but on cd. I had no idea that the mp3's I had been downloading could be put on it. Speaking of Mp3's do you remember how you used to download them back in the day, way before napster or limewire was around? You used to just download them from various sites that had anywhere between ten to a hundred mp3's for
your choosing.The site I used, mp3can.com has been down for years.

And how did you move your mp'3 from computer to computer? You sure as hell didnt use one of these things. I remember being pissed off when my family got a computer that didnt come with a floppy drive "dont we need one of those?!". No, we didnt need a floppy drive then, or ever again. Not unless we have half a photo somewhere we need to check out.

If you remember what the screen above here, you get 25 extra bonus points for the game you didnt even know you were playing. As I said im not a computer expert and my memory is very limited, but this was how i remembered things progressing. Hope you enjoyed my article and remember you Simon Cowells of RetroJunk....
"if you cant say something nice, dont nothing at all"-Thumper
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