Living Computers Museum

Living Computer Museum embraces the future and becomes Living Computers Museum + Labs

Since moving to Seattle, I have been a fan of the amazing Living Computer Museum. It is a regular stop for me when I have free time. Over the short years I have been here it has continued to grow its historical collection. But this week, the museum is taking a leap into the future. The Living Computer Museum is now Living Computers Museum + Labs.

What does this mean? It means a heck of a lot more fun for anyone who has even the slightest attraction to technology. They have added a new level to the facility, this one dedicated to where technology is going. So instead of mainframes, you get to play with virtual reality. Instead of the earliest personal computers, you get robots and telepresence units. All of it done in the same interactive spirit that has made their vintage collection so compelling. According to Museum Executive Director, Lath Carlson, these additions to the museum will continue to revolve and rotate. So multiple trips to the new area of the museum will be just as compelling as the existing collection.

The New Space at the Living Computers Museum

What I especially enjoyed about my time at the new Living Computers Museum + Labs is how they still bring history into the mix. You don’t just get to play with the most cutting edge VR technology, you also get to see how VR evolved over the years.

The museum has also added new lab and classroom space. Things that will pull people into the space to not just interact with technology, but also to learn how it works. That has always seemed to be the mission of the museum. It is interactive because it’s not a boring history lesson that gets you interested in technology. It is touching a LIVING Computer that does that. When I walked out of there yesterday, I wasn’t just thinking about the computers of my youth like I usually do. No, I was focusing on how technology and art will come together in the future. Oh, did I forget to mention they feature digital art now as well!

classroom space at the Living Computers Museum

Fans of the vintage section of the museum, don’t think this newness is leaving you out in the cold. In addition to the spreading of vintage tech throughout the new floor, the museum continues to maintain and restore the most impressive collection of machines you will ever behold. Plus their new Atari-style retro living room corner is mighty enough to bring a tear to my eye. It was hard for me to leave.

atari corner at the Living Computers Museum

Seattle is a pretty dynamic city. Lots of venues are vying for your attention. So it makes me so happy to see the new Living Computers Museum + Labs moving forward and doing so with an eye towards the future while maintaining respect for the past. For more information about the Living Computers: Museum + Labs, drop by their website and make sure you follow them on Twitter @livingcomputers.

Now here are the rest of the photos that I took during my visit yesterday.


Justin M. Salvato's Vintage Computers And Retro Video Games
IBM PS1 Computer
Snapshot(0)

Allison Doesn’t Know Jack….About Movies!

Snapshot

Well, I’m insulted.

Or is it that I just don’t know a Jack?

Oh wait, I do know a Jack.

This game IS insulting me!

Related:

Joey, Do You Like Gladiator Movies? How Do You Feel About American Gladiators…The Game?

Allison Doesn’t Know Jack

You didn’t really think I’d avoid shamelessly promoting the first and second gameplay videos in this series, right?

Now why would I not do that?

First things first, I want to thank all of you have watched and supported both of my Retroist gameplay videos – these gameplay videos have proven to be incredibly fun to make. As always, I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my mad skills with you, gaming, writing, or otherwise. And by mad, I mean “it has to be a game I can successfully beat, or something I can write the hell out of!” And by you, I mean the small but captive audience that comes here for my gameplay and sharp, witty writing skills.

Thank you for the millionth time!

With that out of the way…

When my interest piqued in playing You Don’t Know Jack Television again after a ten-year hiatus (those ten years were not voluntary, trust me!), I figured it was only natural that I go ahead and give the other game I received as a gift at the same time the gameplay treatment. So I plunked down an additional $2.99 for a download of You Don’t Know Jack Movies from Amazon.

I’m not going to tell you I’m particularly impressive with this one – television has and always will be my thing, but I do like movies. And this game has ’em, and like the Television game, the questions are dated, since this version?is also from 1997.

Screenshot (205)

You Don’t Know Jack Movies takes the conventional YDKJ spin, applies it to the film industry, and dishes out smartass commentary and questions about films you know and love…if anything done before 1997 is your thing. It was released on April 30, 1997, right before the Television game (like seriously, it came out a little over a week before the Television game). Much like the Television game, I played it often, but it too was lost during a move 10 years ago. Also like the Television game, I searched for it, but it eventually fell off my radar. The game is also part of several compilation sets (my boyfriend bought it as part of the Classic Pack through Steam), but since my interests lie primarily with the Television and Movie games, I bought mine individually through Amazon.

As I said, I’m not as impressive skill-wise with this game, but I do enjoy the insults for the ones I don’t answer correctly, or don’t answer at all. If you’d like to see how I did, go ahead and click play below. Again, there’s no talking during this one, as it detracts heavily from the gameplay itself. I promise a future gameplay where you can hear me ramble on and on, but until then, just watch me play You Don’t Know Jack Movies!

Thanks for watching, and try not to let the game insult you.

 

Snapshot

You know, like it insults me.

When Allison isn’t being the incredibly talented GIPHY maker, writer, and trivia game whiz she is all over Retroist, she is doing all of this over on her blog, Allison’s Written Words. She wants you to think there is a magic to everything she does, but there isn’t. She would love for you to take a peek over there, and to follow her blog on Facebook if you like updates. Oh, and she’s on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut. She’d love to hear from you.

Go on, reach out and tweet her!

ms-dos-5-upgrade-advert

This is how you sell an MS-DOS Upgrade

The MS-DOS 5 Promo Video with its memorable visuals and music stylings is pretty close to perfect as advertising. Now you might laugh at the notion, but consider this one important fact. It is decades later and we are still talking about it. Now it might not be in the same league as advertising classics like, “Where’s the beef?” or “I’d like to buy the world a Coke”, but in my opinion this is still impressive.

This video was posted online a while ago, but last night I was up late watching it and really thinking about how to best describe the music. The best I could do was that it sounds like the music that results when you explain to a person who knows how to make music what “rap” music is, but they have never really heard it before. The results are these terribly clunky and overly literal rhymes that do not flow from well and are not catchy at all. Despite listening it repeatedly, I still cannot remember a full lyric, but instead I walk away with a general impression of what was said over the duration of the promo.

Now I am not saying that modern advertising should attempt to mimic this bit of history, but I sort of am. Why bother with the same old stale ads that we see again and again, when you could create an amateurish mashup of pop culture like an advertising mad scientist and have it stand the test of time? Think about it.

marvel-teamp-up-cosplay

How do you sell Marvel-themed Computer Games in 1984? Put on some Costumes!

The above photo is from the 1984 Winter CES show. It features people dressed up as Spider-Man, Firestar and Captain America (pre-Hydra) trying to get people excited for the amazing Questprobe line of games featuring Marvel characters. Designed by the legendary game designer Scott Adams, Questprobe games were some the earliest video games featuring Marvel characters, released right after Spider-Man for the Atari. For eighties comic book fans, they were an exciting look at how far comic book entertainment could be stretched with this early technology.

While the games were not action oriented. The art was top-notch and the storytelling let you feel like you were controlling a comic book and what more could a fan ask for at the time?

The Questprobe games peaked in 1985 and an aborted version of an X-men title was started by Adams that year, but never finished. Although you can find the unfinished version floating around.

Vic Sage covered all three of the titles here on the site. For more information check out:

Questprobe Featuring The Hulk
Questprobe Featuring Spider-Man
Questprobe Featuring The Human Torch And The Thing

emergency-pull

What does the Big Red Button on IBM mainframes do?

You see that button above? Hard to resist right? I first saw one of these when I was a kid and my father took me to work. The machine was impressive, but that button…oh that button was irresistible and I wanted to pull it more than anything. My father told me, “No way!”, but never confirmed what would happen if I did (besides breaking my hand).

As it turns out, according to the IBM System/360 Model 65 / Functional Characteristics that I found posted on ycombinator (download here and go to page 13):

EMERGENCY PULL Switch
Pulling this switch turns off all power beyond the power-entry terminal on every unit that is part of the system or that can be switched onto the system; therefore, the switch controls the system proper and all off-line and shared control units and 110 devices.

The switch latches in the out position and can be restored to its normal position by maintenance personnel only.

When the EMERGENCY PULL switch is in the out position, the POWER ON pushbutton is ineffective.

Ah! It is just as mighty as I hoped it would be! It is a shame they don’t install these anymore, I want them on everything.

(Photo taken at Seattle’s amazing Living Computer Museum)