Lillian F. Schwartz Movies
May08

Lillian F. Schwartz Movies

Some extraordinary videos, mostly from the 1970s, showcasing innovative computer animations or filming techniques in artworks produced by Lillian F. Schwartz. From Lillian.com: Lillian Schwartz, resident artist and consultant at Bell Laboratories (New Jersey), 1969-2002. During the 70s and 80s Schwartz developed a catalogue of visionary techniques for the use of the computer system by artists. Her formal explorations in abstract animation involved the marriage of film, computers and music in collaboration with such luminaries as computer musicians Jean-Claude Risset, Max Mathews, Vladimir Ussachevsky, Milton Babbit, and Richard Moore. Many more of Lillian’s films can be found...

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The Space Gamer Artwork
Dec20

The Space Gamer Artwork

Available on the Internet Archive is a number of copies of The Space Gamer, a publication mainly aimed at science fiction role playing games started in the mid 1970s. There’s something very endearing about looking at some of the earlier issues with their very amateur, hobbyist-run looks and feel and I especially like the pen-drawn artwork that breaks up the print in the...

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Pulp Fiction Artwork: The Allure Of Armpits
Nov29

Pulp Fiction Artwork: The Allure Of Armpits

Take a look at any collection of pulp fiction novel covers and you’ll spot patterns. Understandable, of course; cheap, derivative stories only need cheap, derivative art, quite often bearing little if any connection to the contents of the pages within. Scantily-dressed women feature a lot, naturally, but you’ll also spot other trends too: the smoking gun pictures, the bound-and-gagged women pictures, the ravishing redheads, the sultry brunettes, the innocent-looking blondes. And armpit pictures. Yes, nothing sells a pulp fiction novel better than gratuitous armpittery. I imagine. Just what is the allure of armpits? The following cover images come via https://www.flickr.com/photos/56781833@N06/ but probably don’t really help to explain just why the imagery is so prevalent in the genre. The Emerald Bikini A story of a man’s escape from the drab routine of married life through a girl whom he possessed completely, and whose wanton sex appeal turned a southern town into a frenzy. There’s a reason they don’t make bikinis out of emeralds any longer and it’s not just because it triggers a frenzy of greed in a southern town probably suffering economically because, well, it’s a southern town; no, that reason is chafing. Chafing leads to stretching. Stretching leads to armpit-exposure. Armpit-exposure leads to temptation. Temptation leads to adultery. Also: emerald bikinis are prohibitively expensive. That’s another reason. Harling College A teaching degree was needed… and the subject was sex. Prexied by a beautiful tramp… Financed by tainted millions… Guided by an international boudoir expert… Staffed by a free-loving faculty… …The shocking story of a plush campus, where co-eds received a liveral education. An educational pulp fiction novel and not just because it’s set in an education facility. Let’s count the other ways: Do you know what the name for exposing your armpits to other people is? You do now. It’s harling, apparently. Where do you go to learn to harl? Harling college. How do you entice someone you’re attracted to? You harl like you’ve never harled before. Tramps prexy. Okay, I don’t know what that word means but it’s possibly explained in the book. And I’m hoping it’s the American definition of tramp and not the British one because we don’t have beautiful tramps over here. Our ones have matted beards and smell of wee. Oh, and I really hope that to prexy doesn’t mean to cause someone to wrinkle up their nose as you pass because you’re encased in a cloud of odours that only tramps – British definition – and maybe your gran if you haven’t checked in on her for a while have. It used to be possible to be an international boudoir expert. I...

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Rare Atari Game – Starwombat
Oct24

Rare Atari Game – Starwombat

Starwombat was released for the Atari 2600 in March 1978 but was withdrawn very soon afterwards owing to two mistakes with its production run. The first issue was that the back story to the game – that of the fictional history of the titular Starwombat, its role in future space warfare, and the honour and responsibility of the people tasked with caring for these magnificent creatures from birth to death – was sadly missing; the story, originally written in Japan, was shipped across to America for translation but lost at sea (along with several thousand cartridges of the game) when the ship it was sent on disappeared. When those games that had already been distributed to America and Europe were released anyway without much in the way of explanation as to what to do the result was a confusing experience for everyone. The second issue was the now infamous Game 18, the Starwombat Vaccination game, the purpose of which was to administer a series of vaccinations through the creature’s thick pelt. Sadly, without an adequate description the game more closely resembled an early porn game as one player tried to ram a long spike into the opening of the creature controlled by player two. This led to a raft of complaints and a rapid withdrawal of the game from circulation. The Atari 2600 video game cartridge Starwombat is highly sought after by fans of the console. In 2011 a cartridge sold on eBay for over...

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Aliens On Vacation: 1960s
Oct11

Aliens On Vacation: 1960s

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Compute! Full Page Adverts
Sep01

Compute! Full Page Adverts

I never collected Compute! magazine – there were computer magazines better suited to my Sinclair ZX Spectrum – but happening upon the Compute! Magazine Archive online brought back warm memories of listings, technical talk (some of which is still beyond my understanding and I’ve worked in the industry for decades), and wonderful adverts. It’s probably because I’ve not been as interested in other subjects in quite the same way I’ve been interested in computers (although, again, decades of working in the industry does take some of that shine off it all) but computer magazine adverts hold a fascination that adverts today don’t. If marketing people could take a piece of that charm from old adverts and inject them into modern attempts to track us and get us buying stuff we don’t need I might even consider whitelisting some of the sites. Probably not. Anyway, here’s a selection of full page adverts, some good, some less so, all just lovely anyway. An office at United Microware’s game division headquarters: “Gentlemen, it’s time to market our games. It’s time to market the hell out of them!” “Which games are these again, Jeff?” “It’s mostly our exceptional science fiction games, Ted. Meteor Run, Alien Blitz, and so on.” “Gotcha! What’s our strategy?” “Ginger-haired female clown looking quite surprised that there’s a pile of computer games under her hand.” “Your wife’s a clown, isn’t she?” “What of it?” “She’s a redhead too, isn’t she?” “And? What are you trying to say?” “Nothing. Nothing. I’m completely on board with this marketing approach.” Great, colourful artwork, a sci-fi theme, and a subtle message, easily missed completely, that this game might – only might, mind you – contain hyperspikes. Hyperspikes! Fair play to Small Systems Engineering for grabbing my attention and getting me excited for… a BASIC compiler! You can sort things at lightning speed! That’s the power of bald, grumpy-looking aliens who’ve been working out and can squeeze into their power armour. A great piece of advertising here evoking thoughts of a thrilling cinema experience in what you know is probably a disappointing 2D block graphics lump of misery. Still, there’s all the thrill of the nighttime game mode where your car has to avoid the ghosts. I guess they can clog up the demister or something. Then it’s blurry viewing and a traffic stop for driving without due care and attention. And ghosticide, which is a real crime. An office at Mimic System Inc’s software division headquarters: “People want to emulate an Apple II+ on their Commodore 64 and now, thanks to us, they can!” “Hoorah!” “Next step! Advertising. And I think you’ll like...

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