Quickshot Joysticks, 1982 – 1988

As sophisticated new electronic entertainments entered the lives of increasing numbers of people during the 1980s, sophisticated new interfaces were designed to utilize these entertainments—and capitalize on them—to their fullest potential. The joystick was invented originally to satisfy the need to control movement in three dimensions following the invention of the aircraft in the early 20th century…

Adventures in Atari BASIC: Lesson Six – Enemies and Earthquakes

By Mikey Walters

In Lesson Five, we learned about Space Assault’s “main loop” and how game events quickly occur in succession to give the appearance of happening simultaneously. We also handled the actions of our human player, such as moving the crosshair via joystick and firing the Fission Gun Tower. Now it’s time to give the Clovis Aliens their due, so let’s code their relentless, earthshaking attack!

Comic Book Sound Effects, 1939 – 1985

Sequential art goes all the way back to cave paintings, and word balloons start to appear in political cartoons in the late 1700s, but the combination of the two in newspaper comic strips was a late 19th century development, spurred by the “circulation war” between Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World and William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal

BBC Handbook, 1965

The BBC Handbook was published annually beginning in 1928 to inform the British public about the work being done by its national broadcaster. Under one cover and written in a straightforward prose style, a reader could find the Beeb’s technical broadcasting details (including the exciting new vistas opened up by Telstar and other communications satellites)…

Channel 4 Ident, 1982

By the early 1980s, the creation of a fourth British television channel had become a moot issue. In 1955, the license-fee-funded BBC1 had been joined by the commercial Independent Television network (ITV), legally identified as Channel 3, and in 1964, these two were joined by BBC2, the first European television channel to broadcast regularly in color…

‘Long Distance Kiss’ by Syd Brak, 1982

As the grimmer social realities of the 1980s began to take hold, more abstract aspirations began to fuel the collective imagination, and the airbrush—a device originally invented in the second half of the 19th century—proved to be an effective tool for creating dreamlike imagery that combined the smooth realism of the photograph with the artifice of the painting while eliminating the potential dissonances of both…

Selections from ‘Suburbia’ by Bill Owens, 1973

Look at that living room, so similar to many of the ones I grew up around and yet so much less pokey, so much more relaxed. Those cars, those bizarre technologies we were constantly struggling to understand in cartoons and comics—pull carts, barbecues, six packs—all in the middle of this massive, consequenceless nowhere where it was always warm and never rained. We lived in estates too, but nothing like these huge, smoothly landscaped labyrinths, low to the ground like military installations. Wow, what a place…

Bob Pepper Cover Art for Isaac Asimov’s ‘Lucky Starr’ Series, 1971 – 1972

Originally published between 1952 and 1958 under the pseudonym Paul French, Isaac Asimov’s Lucky Star series details the exploits of David “Lucky” Starr, a prototypical pulp hero waging prototypical “Us vs. Them” adventures. The books were originally intended as the basis for a children’s television series, a sort of science-fictional Lone Ranger, but the project was abandoned when a competing network started developing Rocky Jones, Space Ranger (1954)…