Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

The Video Game Newsroom Time Machine is a weekly retro gaming podcast in which we travel back in time to see what was making headlines 40, 30, and 20 years ago in the arcade, video game, and computer gaming business and interview industry veterans. 

We try to put those events into historical context to understand how the industry of today came to be. 

It's fun and educational! (in case you need to justify listening to it to a significant other)

Consider supporting us on Patreon

Listen on your mobile device:

VGNRTM on Google 

Oct 16, 2019

Fairchild gets out of gaming
PC sound is going to get blasted
Sega cans Bernie Stolar

This month we will look back at the biggest stories in and around the video game industry in October of 1979, 1989, 1999.
As always, we'll mostly be using magazine cover dates, and those are of course always a bit behind the actual events..

Send comments on twitter @videogamenewsr2

And if you like what we are doing here at the podcast, don't forget to like us on your podcasting app of choice, YouTube, and/or support us on patreon!

Show Notes:
Tandy announces development of the TRS-80 Color Computer

Apple II+ released

Sublogic is advertising their 3D graphics software

Heathkits land at Zenith

Does the S-100 bus still have a future?

Ted Lewis formulates the laws of personal computing
Q&A is at the end of the show notes

TI tries to convince the FCC to change its regulations

The race to develop optical storage media is on

The digital imaging era is here... sorta

Channel F is dead

Plessey introduces in-flight computer entertainment at Paris Air Show

Sega introduces the System 24 board

Creative announces the Game Blaster and the Killer Kard

Access Software announces RealSound

Orson Scott Card announces that he'll be working with LucasFilm Games,2865/

EA goes public

Sierra acquires Dynamix 3D tech

Commodore cancels Commodore Magazine

Sega takes the Dreamcast Online page 32

Bernie Stolar gets booted from Sega page 32

SNK's NeoGeo Pocket will have Dreamcast connectivity page 32

Both Sony and Nintendo drop the price of their consoles page 32

Sony enveils the Playstation 2 at the Tokyo Game Show

Dreamcast launch in Europe pushed back to October 14

Nvidia launches "the world's first GPU"

Microsoft is developing a console

Developers grumble about the high cost of PS2 development

Wizards of the Coast reveals D&D 3rd Edition at GenCon together with Bioware's NeverWinter Nights page 22

Another Daikatana developer leaves Ion Storm,3208/

Charlie Brooker foretells Let's Plays

Ted Lewis Q&A:

>1. How did this article come about?
I was a young professor at Oregon State University in 1979 and the personal computer industry was just getting started. Apple computer gave me an Apple ][e to play with, which started a long relationship and thinking about the disruptive nature of PCs. I began writing books and articles about them, eg How To Profit From Your PC, and The Mind Appliance. I think they were the first books on the topic.

> Did you submit it or was it requested by the magazine?

I don’t recall but probably it was unsolicited. I think it was little high-brow for Byte.
> Was it part of a larger research project?
No. Back then, PCs were considered toys unworthy of academic study. Everyone else used the mainframe on campus. By 1985 I had a lab of 20-30 Macs for Master degree students to do their research on. It was a robust effort at that time and for OSU.
> 2. Which "personal computers," according to your definition in the article, were you using at the time?

> Like I said, Apple ][e, but before that I had a kit computer from North Star, which went out of business. But it had a disk operating system and BASIC burned into ROM. That was 1977. But when the Apple came out, it took over the market.
> 3. Your fourth law, concerning the high cost of producing software, seems prescient of the need for standardized hardware architectures. Were you imagining at the time that such a universal standard might be possible? Were you thinking that the S-100 was such a standard? How long did you think a standard in personal computing could last?
> Well you are right - the S-100 was a standard as well as Bill Gate’s BASIC. But I was thinking more in terms of what is now FOSS. Also, I was enamored by p-code UCSD Pascal. Boy was I wrong!
> 4. In laws 5 and 6, you talk about the usability of a personal computer as well as the service required to make that usability understandable to the consumer. Did you consider the existing machines you named in the piece as "simple" enough to be successful on the mass market at the time without the need to have the consumer to be held by the hand by a human service person? (aka you didn't need a human to explain a simple calculator but you did for most software packages at the time)

> I completely missed the importance of GUIs until we got some Xerox Parc windows machines and then the Macintosh came out. They were so easy to use, you didn’t even need a manual. Totally surprising.

I missed this again when the iPhone came out. I was right about ease of use, but totally missed the impact of GUIs.
> 5. Had you already seen Visicalc at the time of writing this piece and, if not, would it have changed any of your views concerning interface and usability?

I wrote the first book on spreadsheets, 32 VisiCalc Spreadsheets, soon after. It paid off my mortgage! But I never thought of it as a GUI. And of course it was. It was an example of ease of use. I was stuck in a BASIC paradigm, were the language was the interface. There had to be better interface, but I was stuck in the command line interface.
> 6. Law 8 makes a rather bold statement concerning operating systems. Do you think this statement was true at the time, and if so, what changed in the technology or the market place to make operating systems as ubiquitous as they are today?

I am sad to say that operating systems are still too primitive. We are stuck with Unix and it’s derivatives. I consider Unix (Circa 1976) to be a major misstep in computing, akin to the original sin. It stripped out the security of Multics and usability of VMS. Much of what is wrong with computing today is traceable back to Unix and Linux. Nuff said.
> 7. Law 10 seems to sound an ominous warning for the future. How has the propagation of personal computing over the last 40 years differed from the way you imagined it at the time? (yes, I know, a very narrowly crafted question) :)

Well the more time that passes, the less accurate become predictions. Wireless internet has changed everything. Mobile computing and cloud are the result. The future is probably wireless 5G with a computer in everything down to light bulbs and toothbrushes. When quantum computers take over, the Internet and its computers will have to be reinvented.
> I hope this isn't asking too much. I really found the article fascinating and trying to put such things into a proper historical context is the main goal of our show.

No problem. Thanks for reminding me that I wrote the article 40 years ago.


Recommended Links:
They Create Worlds:
Digital Antiquarian:
The Arcade Blogger: