I still like to freak out other people's kids by telling them about the old days when the app store was an actual place at the mall and they had shrink-wrapped cardboard boxes with one app inside for like thirty dollars and watch their brains melt.

@djsundog i loved walking up to the app counter and saying "hello I would like one app please"

@djsundog if you lost the decoder wheel you wouldn't be able to play the game anymore

@baturkey @djsundog The single reason I was cracking games: I always lost the bloody things.

@baturkey @djsundog unless your buddy made you a photocopy of his photocopy of a photocopy of it. (I still never got anywhere in Neuromancer though)

@djsundog growing up in the 90s and 00s i never understood how those things made money when you could just download a pirated and/or open source version off of the internet

now i understand that it was probably mostly business licenses

@Leaf most people had no idea about the existence of the internet until the web and even then it was a novelty - no one but the most dedicated nerd had time to download a big program at 33.6k if they had access at all ;)

@djsundog oh yeah i’m definitely a post‐Web sort of nerd; when i was a kid you discovered software by doing a websearch for “X program” and whatever webpage you pulled up would inevitably say “just use Y open source thing; it’s free”

now people do the same searches but they do them in an app store, and it isn’t free

@Leaf I keep waiting to see what breaks the walls down this time but nothing appears

@Leaf @djsundog Well, also, a surprsingly large number of people didn't get pirated or open-source versions - I'd wager most people didn't know you could get them - and of those who did, many of them were on dial-up. :)

@djsundog what i’m saying is i’m young enough that i was always able to download apps off the internet but old enough to remember when the internet ones were always free

@Leaf @djsundog Photoshop had truly scary per-seat business licenses in the late 90's.

@djsundog the mecca of egghead with actual multiple computers setup to try out apps (and the screensavers...); the spinny rack of shareware floppies by the dollar store checkout.

@loppear @djsundog Buying RAM by the megabyte.

Going to the computer show and buying part by part to build a customized deck.

Taking all the panels off the case, sanding them down, and repainting them.

@djsundog man I'm 22 in a couple days and you're making me feel old with this one

@djsundog I still have select boxes of these apps on my bookshelf.


My favorite stories involve pooling money from us kids to chip in for an Activision cartridge for the Atari 2600. I seem to recall playing Stampede - at least the screen display looks familiar - and new games might have been $40 in 1981 money.

@ed_packet @djsundog as a genZ that plays with old stuff I feel a compulsion to mention my favorite game of all time is Beamrider

@vanillacherry @djsundog

My favorite place to play with old stuff is the U of Michigan Computer and Video Game Archive.

Currently closed (COVID) but when they are open they have a complete run of games for a bunch of old systems, plus vintage hardware to run them on. (And new games too.)

I will have to look for Beamrider when they open up again.

@ed_packet @djsundog I use emulators but real hardware is a different experience entirely

@vanillacherry @djsundog

Real hardware is hard to get running and to keep running, but it can be a whole lot of fun. The people I know who are serious about old hardware get good at things like replacing capacitors and fixing corrosion damage.

It's hard for emulators to get the weird color effects of NTSC television exactly right, and the characteristic blurry results. NTSC = "Never Twice the Same Color"

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