Friday, March 22, 2019

Glossy Time Capsules #6: Compute!'s Gazette - January, 1986

Glossy Time Capsules #6

Compute!'s Gazette
January, 1986
Price: $2.95

In the 80s, my family had a VIC-20 and later a Commodore 64. Like most kids, my brother and I played games on these consoles and had us some good times. I've written about some of these games on this blog, including Donald Duck's Playground, Radar Rat Race, Movie Monster, Winter Games, and Clowns. Other games, like the Great Giana Sisters, KinderComp, and Pirate's Cove, got lots of play time as well.

Then one day my dad started bringing home copies of Compute's Gazette. He showed my brother and me how to program using Basic. As I recall, this involved typing out commands life IF ANS=BLAHDEBLAH then THISSHOULDHAPPEN, etc. I spent a few weeks/months making "games," and then was like kwhateverbye. My brother went on to become an actual programmer. 

So until this evening, the main thing I remembered about Compute's Gazette, the magazine for all things Commodore, is the pages of code in the back. Codes you could type out, and, twenty hours later, have some kind of program do something on the screen in front of you. 

What I didn't remember is how many ads this magazine had. Like, they didn't just want to educate you. They wanted to sell you stuff. The nerve.

I also didn't remember (or... know?) that Compuserve was around in 1986. Freaking COMPUSERVE!

But we'll get to that.

On the very first page of this issue is an ad for the Commodore 128. It reads All you need to do this .... is this. And in between you get a glimpse of all the things that this computer could do. It could allow you to organize a database, improve your chess, dissect a frog, design a dream house, paint a picture, compose a song, AND MORE.

For a magazine whose tagline literally reads For COMMODORE Personal Computer Users, there sure are a lot of ads for... Commodore computers. Maybe they just really wanted people to upgrade.

There were dozens of ads for games...

...and other software...

And, of course, ads for glorious 80's computer hardware...

Nobody ever said computing was cheap.

Then there were ads for modems and software, to achieve online-ness. Not in the way we know it now, but... wait, is that a donut?



Electronic Mail!

MITEY MO, the mighty modem.

According to Wikipedia, Viewtron was discontinued in MARCH of 1986.

Compuserve would live on until at least the late 90s. 

Bless you, Compuserve, and your mid-90s Sci-Fi & Fantasy Forums.

So, okay, maybe only a tiny portion of the population was ready to go online in 1986. But it was a thing.

Apparently, smart homes were a thing, too...

Eat your heart out, Alexa!

I can't believe they had this stuff in the 80s. I mean, I'm sure Ferris Bueller had it, but regular folks?!? Whaaat?!?

This magazine also had pages of Q&As from readers...

CD Roms: The Ultimate Database.

Oh hey, here are some of the pages of code I mentioned earlier. I can't imagine the patience it took to actually sit and type all these out. 

Anyway, good times.

If reading Compute!'s Gazette cover to cover every month wasn't enough to satisfy your craving for all things "computer," you could attend the annual ComicCon Commodore Show...

It's fun to look back on these kinds of magazines and see what technology looked like 33 years ago. You could almost be tricked into thinking things haven't changed that much. After all, they had computer games in 1986, we have games now. They also had tax software, art programs, email, data storage... just like we have now...

And yet, not exactly like we have now...

Actually? Not even close.

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