I’m a late adapter. It always takes me awhile to pick up on new technology. CD players, Ipods, smartphones. I only got them way after they were no longer the new thing. Same with computers. It was 1996 before I got my first computer. And when I did get it, I didn’t know what to do with it. I did know one thing I wanted on it, though. And that was a screensaver. Specifically, the After Dark screensaver.
Why did I want this so bad? I don’t know. I just had this thing for quirky little fantasy worlds. That’s why I loved early computer animation, late night cable TV, Xanth novels, and ocean sound albums. They just spoke of another place, a place more deep and serene than I was inhabiting. And the After Dark screensavers fit right into that motif. There were things simultaneously deep and bizarre: flying toasters, aquariums, floating clocks, and my personal favorite, red eyes peering out of the darkness. It was just the kind of thing I wanted running on my computer screen at all times. Making it even cooler was the fact that many screens were customizable. I could control how many eyes appeared, how frequently they appeared, and what sounds played when they appeared. You could customize the other screens like this as well.
Now I had these screensavers on my Windows 3.1 operating system. Today, they can still be had, but I can’t run them on my Windows 7 computer. That doesn’t mean someone couldn’t get them to run on Windows 7, it just means I can’t. But they are still in my memory, and they’re still on YouTube as well, so I can still slide into that fantasy world now and then.