Silver Geekiversary #6: Nintendo
Watch out, Bowser: Nintendo's celebrating its silver anniversary this year, and you'd better believe Mario is partying like it's 1985.
It was 25 years ago this October that the Nintendo Entertainment System launched in New York City. The console was a reworked version of the company's Famicom system, which had proven to be a big hit in Japan two years earlier.
It sounds crazy now, but American retailers were initially skeptical about the NES's potential for U.S.-based success. In the end, they looked as silly as a squashed Goomba: The Nintendo sold like hotcakes, reigniting the video game industry and giving countless kids something far more interesting to do than history homework.
Silver Geekiversary #7: Microsoft Windows
'Twas 25 years ago that Microsoft unveiled its first incarnation of Windows, bringing a newly graphical interface to our old pal DOS. Windows 1.0 launched on November 20, 1985. According to anecdotal evidence, the world's first Microsoft fanboy sprung up four days later.
All joking aside, though, Windows 1.0 introduced a slew of now-standard operating system features, most of which seemed cutting-edge for PC owners at the time. Some excerpts from Microsoft's original press release, as posted by Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie earlier this year:
"The Microsoft Windows environment allows users to integrate their applications. With Windows, users can run several applications at the same time. Users can start up and switch between standard applications such as Lotus 1-2-3, dBase II, and Microsoft Word without having to quit one program before going on to the next.
"Users can easily transfer information from their applications by copying portions of text or graphic information to the Windows Clipboard and then modifying or combining them in a Windows application.
"Windows provides a set of versatile desktop applications that offers increased productivity for the serious PC user. ... Included are a calendar, cardfile, notepad, calculator, clock, telecommunications program, and more. As a special introductory offer, Windows Write and Windows Paint will be included at no additional charge."
Also included at no extra charge: Microsoft's blue screen of death, which first greeted users in Windows 1.0. Yep -- the Windows BSOD is officially 25 years old, too. Happy birthday, you beastly ol' brute.