I’m an American who now lives with my wife Dorte in Odense, Denmark. Dorte is kind enough to allow me to write and occupy myself with various paying and non-paying projects, some of which I tell you about on the blog and on other parts of my home pages. She demands only that I provide her with dinner every night. What a deal!
Before I started my expatriated life I lived in Dallas, Texas, for many years, and I still have plenty of family and friends and roots of various kinds there. I worked in the IT field for some fifteen years there, while also managing to collect BA and MA degrees in Literary Studies and Aesthetic Studies respectively from the University of Texas at Dallas.
The bulk of the posts here form an historical chronicle of interactive entertainment. This project could take years, but that’s fine; I’m enjoying it immensely, and happy to take my time poking at digital artifacts that are in many cases virtually forgotten. As I work my way through history, I’m also trying as much as possible to share the tools and techniques I use, to help digital historians who come after me and to help to preserve as much of this history as possible. In the long-term future, all this material I’ve written and continue to write will become… something. Maybe a book, maybe something else. I believe this history is important, and it’s one of my priorities in life to make sure it’s preserved so it can outlive me and my web-hosting contract.
When I first started to blog, I wasn’t at all sure that anyone would care to read what I wrote. (No matter what they say, I’m convinced that every writer wants to be read, just as every kid who ever picks up an electric guitar dreams of playing to a stadium full of screaming girls.) I haven’t quite found my metaphorical stadium of screaming girls, but I’m happy that a fair number of you are reading. Thanks for that! I’ll try to make sure the content here remains worthy of your time.
In return, you can also help me out a bit: please think about becoming a Patreon patron or just making a one-time donation via PayPal by clicking one of the buttons on the right-hand sidebar. In either case you can decide how much to spend, based on the enjoyment you get from reading what I write here, the importance you place on documenting this history, and of course your own personal financial situation. I will never require anyone to pay to read this blog, but more donations will mean more time I can take away from other, paying projects to add to it.
June 14, 2011 at 1:34 am
Nice to have company.
April 8, 2012 at 5:28 pm
Hey, Jimmy Maher, I just read your essay on Camus’ “The Fall.” I could not believe anyone could write so brilliantly and so unpretentiously. I’m a screamer in your “stadium full of screaming girls”–though I am (and I apologize for this) a sixty-something hetero nominally Catholic white male who smokes a pipe.
April 25, 2022 at 1:57 pm
…i feel the same way tim !
August 7, 2011 at 11:40 am
hi, my name is cory. we exchanged emails once before like a year ago when i was stuck on King of Shreds & Patches. i want to tell u i love your blog and your King and your Filfre! keep up the awesome work!
September 12, 2011 at 3:11 pm
Great site, came here via metafilter. Your category of the”experiential game” perfectly explains a convergence I noted here:
Tables and the Military
October 17, 2011 at 2:09 pm
I have recently been reading beyond role & play
a collection of articles which discuss the nature of ludic narrative. Primarily through role-playing games, but much of the material also applies to interactive fiction as well.
I highly recommend it.
February 23, 2012 at 9:48 pm
Your Digital Antiquarian games industry articles are among the most refreshing and approachable as I’ve ever read. I thought I knew quite a bit about the early days of the industry, but you manage to keep coming up with more details — interesting and entertaining! — than I thought possible. Please keep up the excellent work!
March 23, 2012 at 1:51 am
I Just wanted to say keep it up. This is the only blog I’ve ever read that I can’t stop myself from reading.
September 11, 2012 at 10:05 am
Jimmy, Can you please tell me how did you managed to destroy the enemy ships to become a space ace in Ultima I in apple II. Everytime, I try to kill the enemy ships, it’s not killing them. Please help.
September 11, 2012 at 10:20 am
Assuming you are playing the original California Pacific version that I did:
It seems that this part of the game uses an “undocumented opcode” on the Apple II Plus ROM. This apparently gives problems when running on anything other than an Apple II Plus, and on many emulators. I played on AppleWin with the machine type set to Apple II Plus, and never had any problems. So, I can feel reasonably certain that this setup is okay. This old Usenet thread may help as well: http://compgroups.net/comp.sys.apple2/ultima-i-space-travel/1125260.
September 11, 2012 at 11:10 pm
Thank you very much. This solves the problem. I finally beaten the game. Now the entire gameplay will be on youtube. Do you know if Apple II versions of Ultima II, III, and IV also uses the undocumented opcode” on the Apple II Plus ROM? I would like to know since I’m going to start those games next and know them for the future so I won’t get anymore errors.
September 12, 2012 at 8:30 am
I don’t know of any similar issues in the later Ultimas, although as of this writing I certainly haven’t looked at them as closely as I have Ultima I.
December 31, 2012 at 2:17 pm
If I taught a class on the history of computing, and I do hope to do so someday, this site might end up being used as a sort of textbook.
May 31, 2013 at 10:01 pm
Brilliant stuff. Keep up the great work. The Ultima articles have been fascinating and the topics in general have been quite illuminating.
September 10, 2013 at 11:48 am
Love this blog and am currently reading though all entries in chronological order. Is it possible to add an “index page” with all articles to date? Right now i have to click though the calendar on the right panel to access older articles, which is kind of a hassle. Or am I missing something?
Keep up the great work. Do you plan to release all this stuff in a book at some point? I would definitely buy one.
September 11, 2013 at 6:48 am
Thanks for the kind words!
No, I don’t believe you’re missing anything. :) I’ve gotten a fair number of requests like this recently. I’ll see if I can come up with something.
October 14, 2013 at 1:51 pm
I’ve added a link to the sidebar that will take you to a “table of contents” for the blog as a whole, showing all articles so far in chronological order.
October 19, 2013 at 12:27 pm
Much appreciated, thanks a lot!
January 21, 2014 at 1:18 pm
I’m an academic based in Prague, Czech Republic and I have just read your MIT Press book on the Amiga. I enjoyed it tremendously, especially your descriptions of the European “scene”. I just published a somewhat related article on the history of games in Czechoslovakia.
If I had read your book before I published this, I would have made sure to reference your work. But I’ll do it next time.
Keep up the great work!
January 21, 2014 at 1:29 pm
It’s a small world sometimes. When you submitted this commented I was just finishing up an article on Automata and Deus Ex Machina, referencing your interview with Mel Croucher.
February 4, 2014 at 7:30 am
I just spent the good part of today reading all your articles on Sierra. AMAZING! Thank you for providing a riveting read.
January 17, 2015 at 7:19 pm
I installed the TRS-80 BASIC roms under MESS emulator. Level 1 works OK, but Level IIseems to be missing some files (an error message tells me some Level 2 BIOS files may be missing that are required.) Can you provide me with an updated Level II BASIC romset with said missing files.
Sincerely, Keith Harvey
March 18, 2015 at 11:23 pm
I FINALLY finished the translation of “Send In The Clones”. It’s going to appear at our blog in a few days. At the end you write:
“(…) the arrival of the first game to make many Apple, Atari, and Commodore owners wish that they had a Tandy 1000 or, indeed, even one of its less colorful relatives. We’ll get to that soon — no, really! — but first we have just one more detour to take.”
That follow-up hasn’t happened yet, is that correct?
March 19, 2015 at 6:38 am
We have. ;) That was Starflight: https://www.filfre.net/2014/10/starflight.
May 28, 2015 at 10:57 pm
I’ve almost read everything now, and find myself checking this site for new material way too often :)
Would you consider creating a mailing list (see mailchimp, for example) to notify your eager readers of new stuff?
That’d be such icing on the cake!
May 29, 2015 at 4:50 am
There’s two handy-dandy RSS feeds for the entries and the comments that might fit the bill.
May 29, 2015 at 4:56 am
Also, if you back Jimmy on Patreon, you get email notifications of every post. :)
June 23, 2015 at 11:16 am
Been reading your site on and off for a few months now. Great, in-depth articles! And largely due to reading your stuff, I seem to be on an IF kick again :-)
In fact, downloaded King last night and enjoying it immensely. So I sent you a little donation. I know it’s ‘traditional’ that IF on the PC is free, but why should you creative guys only get sales for Kindle, iPhone, Android, etc., and not for the PC?
All the best,
June 23, 2015 at 11:59 am
June 26, 2015 at 7:41 pm
Your articles are awesome. I can’t remember the last time I spent so much time reading articles on one site. It has been an amazing nostalgia trip – I started playing games with an Intellivision, then moved to a C64 and then a 128. Ultima, Bard’s Tale, Zork, Archon, and so many more are great memories of my childhood.
July 26, 2015 at 1:23 pm
Just discovered your blog from rock paper shotgun, enjoying it greatly!
August 26, 2015 at 10:59 pm
Great stuff here! Really enjoyed the Wizardry posts.
August 28, 2015 at 2:06 am
I was wondering about the origins of Sir-Tech because Wizardry was a game I loved growing up with computers as a kid. When I stumbled upon your site it was full of interesting history and information. How did you dig all of this up?! 10/10
September 8, 2015 at 5:18 pm
Fantastically written and with great background information. A permanent fixture in my Feedly. Keep up the great work!
September 19, 2015 at 1:47 am
The Digital Antiquarian is such a pleasure to read.
Most blogs I follow, I do so for somewhat utilitarian reasons; I skim, I skip, I rarely go back to read old entries (I went back and read everything). Yours is more a case of “ooh, new entry. Let’s sit down with a glass of wine and enjoy it”.
Your writing style is just wonderful, telling a story like very few people can. In many ways, I think you’re better than an Erik Larson, Tracy Kidder, or Mitchell Waldrop.
So, thank you!
November 12, 2015 at 10:50 pm
Just found your post on Activision and my role. I am very impressed that you got almost everything right and pleased that you understood my leadership role in the company and the industry. There is a bit more to the story of LCP, particularly in the packaging and marketing, that I would be glad to share. It was one of our most interesting and entertaining projects. And, yes, Crane is a genius and was the clear creative leader of the company in 1.0 and 2.0.
November 13, 2015 at 9:16 am
Thank you! It’s always great to hear from someone I write about, especially when I’ve gotten “almost everything right.” I have your email address now, and will keep your offer in mind.
December 8, 2015 at 2:22 am
Getting “almost everything right” is a major compliment, since so many writing about me and Activision’s history and role in the founding of the game software industry have gotten so much wrong. There’s a lot of mythology, rather than fact, in many histories.
December 17, 2015 at 9:09 pm
Hi Jimmy. Dave at Ulster University pointed me at your blog about Topologika’s Giant KIller text adventure which I developed, as you say, back in 1987 with its author the late Peter Killworth. Dave thought I might want to comment on it. I much enjoyed reading it and about myself! I’ve sent some edits to him to forward to you. Please get in touch direct if you wish – happy to help any time.
December 18, 2015 at 8:07 am
Thanks, Brian. I have been in touch from time to time with Dave, so will wait to hear from him with those edits. And will definitely keep your offer in mind going forward. Cheers!
January 21, 2016 at 11:12 pm
You and I had some email coms a few years ago on the history of AI, as I was an employee of the company from about 1984 to just a few weeks before they failed.
I recently came across the account on this page:
and realize that I can shed a fair amount of clarification to the events referenced here. If you send me your current email address, I’ll put together a narrative on some of the questions and events of this time.
All the best,
Ben P. Stein
February 3, 2016 at 12:30 pm
Thank you so very much for this website and for your excellently researched writing, thoughtful analysis, and great choices of topic.
When I visit this site, I have a feeling of abundance: there is an abundance of information that wasn’t available or impossibly inaccessible when these games came out; there is an abundance of resources and opportunity for playing games, all of which we couldn’t all afford when they came out; and most importantly, there is an abundance of insight and intelligence in what you write.
Thank you and keep up the great work!
April 15, 2016 at 2:02 pm
No new articles for a couple of weeks; I have alas taken for granted a regular output of these excellent posts. Hope all is well!
April 15, 2016 at 2:16 pm
Just took a bye week to sort through some things. New article coming… *very* soon. :)
April 15, 2016 at 7:17 pm
April 19, 2016 at 6:08 am
I would love to donate — put up a Bitcoin address in addition to Patreon!
May 12, 2016 at 8:03 am
I am the author of the 2008 IF competition entry ‘Berrost’s Challenge’.
I appreciate your review and comments about my game. If anything, you were too generous. Not too long after the competition ended, I worked closely with Emily Boegheim to revise, improve, and update my game. I added new features, such as an automap feature, and an achievement system, which encouraged multiple approaches to solving the puzzles. I implemented a great many behaviors based on Emily’s multiple play-throughs.
I also corrected all grammatical errors that Emily or myself found, and listened to feedback from all reviews and tried to make the game friendlier and more accessible, while retaining it’s roots as an Infocom homage.
Unfortunately, I never quite finished the project, and never released the new version, although it’s still on my list of projects to complete.
Reading your review has put the project in my mind again, and I may revisit it very soon.
Just wanted to thank you for a fair review, and express my appreciation for not being too harsh on my little game. If and when I complete v2 of the game, I will be sure and send it to you.
June 27, 2016 at 9:07 pm
This site is fantastic and great to see these topics covered with such a high degree of eloquence. Will continue to enjoy these articles.
July 2, 2016 at 6:27 am
just discovered your book “The Future Was Here: The Commodore Amiga”. Loved the excerpt and so had to order the hard cover. Great work and detail!
July 9, 2016 at 11:48 pm
I just fired up Tops10 in a box.
Thanks so much for making this painless. I am a former Dec 10 field engineer (oh so long ago) , and have been wanting to get back to those roots for some time now. As I get closer to closing down my business, I want to spend more time back there. I have some hardware and software projects in mind, but this is a completely painless way to start!
As I think of it now, I understand you are interested in gaming. At one point in the late seventies, I had written a multiplayer blackjack program that could be played on several terminals and had many options, in order to simulate different real world casino situations. It had card counting strategies built in and could feedback the player on correct or errors in play.
There was a compute bound mode wherein I could run many hands of blackjack through a strategy and ‘brute force’ check the claimed effectiveness.
There was one summer where I was quite glad I didn’t have to pay for that time as the cooperative customer on whose system I ran it at night showed me the effective bill for more than I would earn for many years.
Anyway, all of this well before Electronics Arts was a gleam in anyone’s eye. I never thought to market it or really get it out in the world… Maybe I’ll re-create it now.
thanks again for helping me start
October 11, 2016 at 3:22 pm
I am very impressed by your blog. Can you please give me your e-mail address or contact me on the e-mail address I gave you? I have a question regarding donations.
Thank you kindly and I hope to hear from you soon.
October 11, 2016 at 3:30 pm
You can reach me at email@example.com.
February 5, 2017 at 3:13 am
I try not to find compelling bloggers as my reading time is limited, and my dance card quite full with reading I have to do for *my* blog.
However, your series on Trinity has hooked me, and now I must bookmark you for frequent returning.
Darn you. Darn you to heck.
As penance, please check out my blog — I suspect it will be somewhat concordant with your interests. :)
March 17, 2017 at 9:31 pm
I’m reading the ebook compilation in chronological order and it’s been amazing so far. Reading this is sending me in a trip through my childhood (even if what you have accounted so far goes way before my first computer, a C64 my parents bought to me around 1988, a novelty here in Argentina…).
Are you considering in publishing a book about gaming history? Even if most content is the same I’d love to have a physical copy of this information for reference.
March 18, 2017 at 7:37 am
That may be the end game of all this work. But I’d want to do it right, and right now I’m more excited about continuing this journey through history we’re on.
April 20, 2017 at 3:35 am
“Jim Levy and Activision article – “Exactly these sorts of external pressures had undone Atari licensed games like Pac-Man and E.T.”
Tod Frye was under no pressure to make VCS Pac-Man. This is an old rumor w/o any known source attached to it. Tod either spent 3 months coding this (as stated in “Once Upon Atari”) or 5 months (as quoted in the April 1998 issue of Next Generation pg. 41), not 6 weeks as rumored.
June 2, 2017 at 6:57 pm
Are you aware that since a week or so your website opens new tabs with advertisements when clicking on an article? Just now I got a tab with an advertisement for “Bwin Live Betting: Football & Champions League”. Reproduced that twice, on an iPad with Safari in Incognito mode. I already got these some days ago, on my PC, and because I couldn’t see the cause, I was worried whether my system had caught a virus. If you implemented these intentionally, please reconsider.
June 2, 2017 at 10:02 pm
No, it certainly wasn’t intentional. Weirdly, I could only reproduce this on my iPad, and then only twice in several dozen tries. But it was definitely there nevertheless. I found the file that had been tampered with, fixed it, and took some steps to lock things down better for the future. Unfortunately, these things in WordPress are something of a game of whack-a-mole.
Thank you so much for letting me know. I’m reasonably confident that it’s fixed for now, but if you see anything like this happen again, please speak up once again. Unless something changes radically with my business model, you should never see advertisements or unwanted popups of any sort on this site. ;)
June 26, 2017 at 5:11 am
The sickening part about Peter Favaro is that he is a SAG carrying actor who taken his “Alter Ego” mysoginst real self into the family court system in New York where he helps rich white men like himself take away children from their mothers by utilizing personality tests namely the racist MMPI-2 test. He masks his true self by giving speeches in support of domestic violence but says nothing about the new form of domestic violence againsg women, hacking which employees from Mr. Favarros 4 technology companies have done to me, including the bullshit Github con artist Julie Ann Horvath. I am currently engaged in a divorce with a NPD alcoholic and Mr. Favarro was hired by my ex husband to paint me as bipolar when truth is they intentionally set me up with a romantic con man and when he abruptly abandoned me they closed in on my pain, hacking my electronics, dismanteling my email accounts, social media accounts, erasing all my family photos, breaking into my home stealing divorce documents, jewlery, clothes , food, everything in attempt to unravel me and take my special needs son from me to place him in a home which is why I left my husband in the first place. i blog about this vile crime on Facebook at “Michele Guadalupe”. I am desperate for any help you might be able to provide. Please do. (917-826-2014)
July 1, 2017 at 5:00 pm
(I couldn’t find a different way to contact you, at least on mobile)
Just in case you haven’t seen it yet,
October 17, 2017 at 5:38 am
Do you like Retro Adventures aswell?
I just released my retro indie Adventure “Space Geekz – The Crunchy Flakes Conspiracy”:
Best regards from Germany
January 9, 2018 at 2:53 pm
I have to say, your coverage of me and my work is riddled with errors, bad assumptions, and ignorance dressed up as authority. I’m sure there is some value somewhere in here, but pretty much everything is suspect given the shoddy work I’ve read.
Just one example from your noodlings about my own work. You write that the TRANS Fiction Systems IF system was not as good as, much less better than Infocom’s, and that we somehow got the Star Trek:Promethean Prophecy contract due to our NYC location and book publishing contacts, as if the beneficiaries of some kind of insider publishing hobnobbing.
In fact, Marc Blank of Infocom had joined Simon & Schuster, agreed that we had developed a system with both a very high quality natural language processing and great richness in world modeling, and it was he offered us the project.
You see? Your uninformed, snarky rendition is dead wrong on both counts.
And by the way, readers of The Promethean Prophecy have rated it a fine and faithful work of interactive fiction set in the Star Trek universe. Heartbreaking that it has not lived up to your lofty standards.
(By the way, have you ever actually created anything in the field? Or do you only shine by the reflected light of your braver, more creative betters, like a dull moon?)
For another, you write up Rendezvous with Rama as if it was my aesthetic vision, with I as auteur. Consequently, you lay the failings of that pioneering work at my door. Wrong again, amateur historian. I was hired onto a project in motion, had no input into the creation of the world and game system, which was truly dreadful in my experience (yes, I’m talking about actual lived experience, not uninformed surmises). If anyone was the auteur here it was Byron Preiss. Sadly, he was more the foreman of a product factory than any kind of committed artist, and so the product was more one of efficient manufacturing than of considered aesthetic development.
My advice? Less preening, my friend. A bit of humility. More actual scholarship, or at a minimum, reporting. Talk to people, do some actual research before writing up your half-formed imaginings as useful history.
I am certain a great deal if not most of your scribblings are afflicted in a manner similar to these two quick examples. In writing this, I wanted to go on record and make sure, assuming you approve this comment, that trusting readers arriving here understand how devoid of rigor your scholarship, critical judgment, and writing truly is.
January 9, 2018 at 3:20 pm
I did ask Jason Scott to put you in touch with me well before I wrote the articles in question. You did indeed reply in August of 2013, saying it was a “busy time” for you in San Francisco, but that you’d make time to write or talk soon. You never replied to a follow-up email I sent several weeks later, so I was forced to go with what information I already had, which included your full interview for the Get Lamp documentary.
But I’m happy that you’ve chosen to get in touch now. While I’m not interested in revisiting my critical opinion of your works at this time, I’m always happy to correct the factual record. Feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can either correspond via email or set up a Skype call.
If you really do wish to play a work of interactive fiction written by me, you may wish to check out The King of Shreds and Patches: http://maher.filfre.net/King.
January 12, 2018 at 9:17 pm
Thanks for your reply. I don’t recall any follow up email. Just a note from Jason back then letting me know you’d published. I wondered if you were miffed because I couldn’t talk on your schedule. I saw your flawed article back then but had other fish to fry. This past week I had some time to kill, so I thought I’d close the loop on this minor but nagging annoyance.
To be clear, I don’t think there’s any particular value in having your criticism under any circumstances.
Anyone who can emit criticism of an individual and a work based upon incorrect premises (e.g. I was the auteur of Rama) ensuring that the resulting criticism is foundationally flawed, and then say, as you have, that they’re not interested in revisiting that criticism when informed of the actual creative roles and process, well, that makes my point about the slipshod nature of your thought processes and work. To my mind, it’s all suspect. Garbage in, garbage out, as they say.
You say hou’re happy to correct the facts. But the point is, correcting the facts in this case, as I have already done here, invalidates the criticism. Do you see?
I’ll check out your interactive fiction effort and let you know what I think.
In the meantime, really, do better.
January 13, 2018 at 1:01 pm
Well… no, I don’t see. I don’t understand how knowing that Rama was masterminded by a committee closely monitored by Byron Preiss instead of by Ron Martinez should affect my opinion of the merits and flaws of the final work. You’re of course free to disagree with that opinion — believe me, people do that around here all the time, and such counter-arguments are always welcome and respected as long as they’re made civilly — and to judge my overall worth as a critic as you will, but that’s rather a separate issue. (Having said that, I will note that in my experience it seldom adds much to the discussion when a creator chooses to argue with a reviewer’s opinion. As Bob Bates once put it to me when I gave some of his games a less than stellar review, “The critic’s hat is an important one to wear, and it should be pulled down over the ears so as to block out the wounded cries of the people one writes about, if cries there be.” But by all means, do as you think best…)
What background facts can do is situate the work in history and explain to a large extent *why* it is the way it is — and, yes, assign credit (blame?) where it’s due. I’ve asked you three separate times if you’d like to discuss that background — not as a couple of tossed-off gotchas in the midst of a long screed, but in a careful, orderly way. I’ll go ahead and ask you a fourth time now. If you choose not to accept once again, fair enough. I too have bigger fish to fry.
January 14, 2018 at 11:42 pm
Just wanted to take a moment to commend you for the gracious way you’ve responded to Ron’s hostility and condescension. It takes a proper grown up to address only the substance of such messages, overlooking their tone, and your responses here are an example to us all.
Keep up the great work on this site, by the way. I suppose Ron is as entitled to his opinion on your work as you are to your opinion on his; but for what it’s worth. I disagree wholeheartedly with the cavalier dismissal of what you’re doing here — which is the most carefully researched and scholarly such history I have ever seen.
May 26, 2022 at 11:59 am
Also you gotta wonder about anyone who calls himself “auteur.”
May 12, 2018 at 9:54 pm
Loved your post about AMNESIA. I knew you at UTDallas. My husband is John Barber, whom I believed taught you. We live in Vancouver, WA now and I run a digital media program at WSU Vancouver. I am writing about Amnesia and used your essay.
Question: James Terry credits himself for creating the King Edward authoring system, but you mention Kreitzberg as the developer. Do you know if Terry came in after the project had started?
May 13, 2018 at 7:17 am
Lots of water has passed under the old bridge since those days, but I remember you both well and fondly. You were incredibly kind to me when I was easing into writing about these subjects. A belated thank you for that. I hope you’re thriving together in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
James Terry would indeed appear to have been the primary architect of the King Edward system. Pat Reilly, another Cognetics employee, says as much in the comments to the article in question, crediting Kreitzberg only with assisting. My only inside voice when writing the article was Kevin Bentley, who I’m willing to assume, what with us now having two nods now toward Terry, was mis-remembering exactly who did what. I’ve updated the text of the article to reflect this.
August 6, 2018 at 8:28 am
On your windows history piece, I wanted to tell you, I was there for all of it. ALL. I have used almost every piece of software mentioned, every.
Your historical narrative is, as far as I can tell, very well researched, and as such, extremely accurate, and also provides a lot of insight that for decades I only guessed at.
Thanks. Great read.
September 17, 2018 at 9:27 pm
Please get in touch. You can look up my profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/alanmboyd/
I enjoy reading your blogs – particularly about my days in Baltimore where I was the “silent” part of MUSE software. I was one of the few that Silas Warner respected as a peer. He and I had a dialogue I’ve never spoke about before. Happy to lay it all on you. Silas inspired me. I later went on to be one of the earliest managers at a tiny little software company in Seattle that went on to bigger things.
You have my contact details. There’s a GREAT story to come out here. You already have the tip of the iceberg.
May 23, 2019 at 4:37 pm
Long ago I posted comments here. Now i cant get into the site with my BB. Got the ebooks 11 and 12. But 13 onwards gives errors. Due to work requirements (also a bad experience when I was in a hostage situation at work) I am only now able to read your ebooks as my internet is aldo limited now. At no 4 noiw. I think that due to my BlackBerry’s restrictions i cant access your site. Keep up the good work. I will drop in as when I am able.
July 19, 2019 at 10:08 pm
Thoroughly enjoying your work!
August 1, 2019 at 2:47 pm
Came to your site after searching for something C64 related, and got hooked reading several other articles also. Very interesting and detailed. Thank you. :)
August 19, 2019 at 4:35 pm
I’m a huge fan of what you’re doing here. The amount of detail and care that goes into these articles is breathtaking and has been a big inspiration to me (so much so that I started my own video game blog). Please keep it up — there is still far too little serious study devoted to video games compared to other art forms.
December 17, 2019 at 6:03 pm
This whole blog has been hugely important to me for the last six years. It helped me through some rough times in life, a terrible divorce, sole custody of two young children with no spousal support, from an ex later diagnosed with a terrible brain disease. Life outside the digital realm has been rough, and I wish I had the money to be be a patron. As things get better, and they are, I won’t forget the blog and its author and the generosity of spirit, knowledge, and decency reflected by it. Thanks Jimmy Maher and your family for this gift. Your work has meant more to me than words can express.
December 18, 2019 at 10:19 am
Thank you! I’m so glad things are going in the right direction for you, and wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season.
April 14, 2020 at 7:27 am
Wow! I am stunned. Just stumbled across your site through a Google search and read your piece on the early days of the Miller brothers (pre-Myst). Fantastic! So I poked around a little more and discovered gems everywhere I looked. I am in awe of what you are creating here. (I am old enough to have lived through those times and remember them well.) Congratulations on your accomplishments to date; I look forward to catching up here in week four of lockdown. For what it’s worth, you’ve got another fan!
April 14, 2020 at 7:43 am
I’m glad to have you! Welcome, and thank you so much for your Patreon support!
April 17, 2020 at 3:10 pm
One passage along the millions of words here captures the spirit of this blog more than any other:
“For the record, every time I answer the questions Compassion trumps everything else, and thus I end up a bard starting just outside Lord British’s castle. I don’t know whether this necessarily represents the person I always am, but it’s certainly a good approximation of the person I’d most like to be. So, at least for me, the system does indeed seem to work pretty well.”
The Digital Antiquarian is the answer I give to the now more frequently asked “Does anyone know of a blog actually worth reading?” What Jimmy Maher is accomplishing here will enshrine so many deserving art works in perpetuity.
May 22, 2020 at 5:58 am
I am currently working myself through your vast backlog of great and insightful articles. I am truely happy to have found this blog (came here via doomworld.com where it was posted due to your article talking about “the id boys”) which will hopefully provide me with many more articles of that calibre.
I am trying to send a donation your way as soon as it is possible for me to do so. Until then, keep up the great work and thank you very much.
May 22, 2020 at 6:59 am
Welcome! Glad to have you…
June 13, 2020 at 8:34 am
Dorte be blessed. :D
October 28, 2020 at 1:12 pm
Hi Jimmy! I just discovered your awesome blog. As a child of the 1980s I grew up surrounded by friends and family that owned C64s, PCs and Apple IIs. Eventually I could afford my very own computer, an Amiga 500, and have been hooked on computers ever since. Thanks for all the great and nostaligic articles on the golden area of computer gaming. While games today are greater than I could ever dream of as a youngster playing Zaxxon with CGA graphics, I rarely play them. There’s just something about the graphics and playability of games from 1985-95 that you can’t beat!
Best regards from Arctic Norway,
February 4, 2021 at 6:13 pm
Hi Mr. Digital Antiquarian!
A number of us at the Classic Gamers Guild have thoroughly appreciated your work on old computer games and someone pointed out that you haven’t been invited yet. Lori and Corey Cole (Quest for Glory) and several other Sierra alums hang out with us there all the time. We thought you deserved an invitation at least.
Cheers to you,
February 4, 2021 at 7:27 pm
I do appreciate it, but I’m afraid I’m not a Facebook guy.
March 24, 2021 at 3:11 am
It’s wonderful to find long form writing on the internet, especially intellectual gaming content.
March 28, 2021 at 5:14 pm
Hi Jim! I adore this blog, your writing here prompted me to create a patreon account. As I grow older I find myself missing more and more the naïve optimism of the early computer industry and the infectious enthusiasm of those drawn to it back then. For me personally, the “Immersive Sim” captures more than most that spirit, I was super excited to see you reach System Shock and can’t wait to see your writing cover the late 90s. It would be fascinating to see how Ion Storm/Valve et al fit into the story you have told so far with Sierra/Id etc, which I imagine one day we will see covered here. Just wanted to say thankyou for your efforts!
March 28, 2021 at 8:59 pm
Thank you for your support!
July 14, 2021 at 9:42 pm
Fantastic work, your site is a must have!!!
We need an article about CrackDotCom Game “abuse” and DarkAngael and GenocydeRemix spiritual sucesors , please !!!
August 21, 2021 at 2:12 pm
Thank you for your work. Found it because somebody is trying to translate it to Russian, went here.
Downloaded mobi’s (thanks for making books out of blog, this is great), reading. Best book of the month.
Thank you once more.
September 1, 2021 at 3:43 am
Hi, Jimmy. I am a new fan of your blog. Like so many, you have become a personal favorite. I see easily how your literary and aesthetic studies add a refinement of quality that many sites on the more commercial end of things don’t often have as much. I am playing a game right now called AMBER Journeys Beyond. There is an area with dialogue of bees that I cannot discern. How can I access an old game’s files that ran on the Macromedia Director to see a transcript?
September 1, 2021 at 6:27 am
Sorry, but I can’t answer your question. I’ve never played AMBER, much less attempted to hack it. ;)
December 8, 2021 at 4:49 pm
I may be able to answer this one since I had to deal (about a year ago) with a program that used Macromedia Director for our school.
When we went to 64 bit machines, this program would no longer work. With research, I was able to get into said program with Macromedia Director. This is how I did it:
1. First, I downloaded version 12 of the VMWARE Workstation Player (from their site) and installed it. I tried the Virtual Box version but it seemed to lack some things I needed that VMWARE had.
2. Next I found an .ISO of Windows 98 SE to install on said workstation.
3. After getting the install all cleaned up and installing the VMWARE tools, it was time to do some real digging.
4. After a lot of research and digging around the internet, I found an image (or more precisely, the images of the 13 disks required to install Macromedia Director version 4).
5. After installing said files on my virtual machine (VM), I got out the actual program disk/CD and loaded it up (or more specifically, the files) on my VM.
6. After that, fire up Macromedia Director and have at the files. I don’t know the program good enough to guide you but I figured it out enough to extract that graphics I needed and to convert the quicktime video files to PowerPoint so that I gave it an “update” so the students could use it.
I hope this helps you out. If you have an other questions, you can contact me at email@example.com although I probably can’t help with specific program help.
September 4, 2021 at 3:54 pm
Hi Jimmy. I just wanted to say a hugs thank you for the blog. I only discovered it earlier this year and I’ve managed to make it through to the end of 1982 (in blog time) so far.
Would you be interested in talking to me about your work on my podcast The Retro Asylum?
September 5, 2021 at 10:38 am
I’m sure we can work something out. My email address is here on the site at the bottom of the right-hand gutter.
October 24, 2021 at 6:41 pm
Thank you so much for remembering the late gamedesigner Bill Williams. His games and his music will live on forever. I was so saddened when I heard that he had passed away in 1998 at the age of 38. All of his games were among my absolute favorites. – Would it be possible for you to obtain better quality photos of him? – Best regards..
October 24, 2021 at 7:29 pm
Sorry, I’m afraid that’s all I have on-hand.
February 8, 2022 at 2:17 pm
Hi Jimmy, I am currently working an exhibition about the videogame sector i n Guildford and am starting with Peter Molyneuex and Bullfrog. Could I ask if you know where you found the photographs you used in your article ‘Kingdom in a box’? Or if you have high res copies of the images? We’d love to use the group photograph of the Bullfrog team on a graphic panel.
February 8, 2022 at 2:28 pm
I’m afraid I don’t have image-by-image attributions for you, but you can find them by going through the list of sources at the bottom of the article. All of the magazines listed should be available in the Internet Archive’s collection: https://archive.org/details/computermagazines?tab=about.
February 9, 2022 at 11:43 am
Thanks so much Jimmy. I have managed to find the Bullfrog group shot via the link :)
August 6, 2022 at 4:49 pm
Really love the great story of the first GUI and initial versions of Windows on the PC. Would love to see you write about the same birth and development of Win NT in the future. Thanks for a great site and the historically important work you do in computer software and games!
September 2, 2022 at 2:31 pm
I enjoy your blogs. It is really a treat to read something written by someone whom actually knows what he is talking about.
I found your site while looking for information about AGT, and you being a professional was hoping you could help me with something.
Every time I try to compile the PA3 files (COMPILE.PAS being the main file) I always run into an INTERNAL STACK OVERFLOW error message. I have the AGT source codes. The file causing the problem is the COMMAND.PA3 file, and it looks as if there is just a little “too much.”
So far I have worked around this by excluding certain meta-commands I don’t usually use.
I am using TPWDB (Turbo PASCAL with DOSBox) v 7.3.5 by Luu Nguyen Thien Hau.
I am assuming that David Malmberg and Mark Walch were able to compile their own codes, so what did they use and how? I’ve tried altering settings in the source code, the DOSBox being used, and the compiler itself but nothing has had any effect. I cannot find any configuration file to boost memory for stack.
Can you help? Thanks in advance!
September 2, 2022 at 5:42 pm
I’m afraid I just don’t know. If you were working on real vintage hardware, I’d recommend increasing the STACK setting in MS-DOS’s config.sys file, but it’s my understanding that DOSBox implements its stack in a different way and doesn’t have any such setting.
So, I’d first of all look up a description of the error message in a Turbo Pascal reference manual; it may be simply a matter of changing a command-line switch. If you can’t find a solution there, you could look into DOSBox-X, which is a more complete emulation of a DOS environment than ordinary DOSBox (at a considerable cost in performance). You can even use it to boot a “real” copy of MS-DOS or PC-DOS if necessary.
September 30, 2022 at 4:58 pm
I hope this finds you well. My name’s Pandora Monnas, I’m an assistant producer at a documentary production company called Rogan Productions.
We’re currently making a three-part documentary series for Channel 4’s 40th anniversary, for which we’ve interviewed Peter Molyneux.
I noticed you have a few pictures of Peter on your site and I wondered if you’re the rights holder to those photos and, if so, if you would mind sending us through some copies to use in the documentary? We’d love to have some old stills of Peter to feature alongside his story.
My mobile is 07595950461 if I can give you any more details.
Thanks very much!
All the best,
October 3, 2022 at 4:40 am
You’ll find a list of sources at the bottom of each of the two articles here about Molyneux. The pictures of him and his colleagues are all drawn from old, long-defunct magazines that are listed there. All of these should be available as scanned PDF files on archive.org. I have no special rights to the images, but have taken advantage of the fact that no one really cares decades after the magazines that featured them went out of business. I do understand that you may have to play by different rules. Good luck!
Ponce Die Alone
March 28, 2023 at 2:42 pm
I just finished reading all your wonderfully written articles up to the current one; fantastic stuff.