Watch: How "oldschool" computer graphics worked back in the eighties

YouTube personality TheiBookGuy produced an easy-to-watch, easy-to-understand explainer piece on how computer graphics worked in the 1980s.

In part one of a multi-part video series, he digs into the limitations of color on eighties-era computers and early game consoles like the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and the Commodore 64.

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  1. I'm old, I know, but it is really, really weird to consider the NES an "early game console". Have the Atari 2600/Odyssey2/ColecoVision/Intellivision been completely forgotten at this point? They had come and gone before the NES even was released.

  2. I remember playing a game called "Digger" that was written in pure Assembly for the 4.77Mhz XT, (you had to turn off the turbo or it ran too fast). It had no OS, just a bootable floppy that went straight to the game and it played a lot of tricks to get decent full motion color graphics on a CGA display, including disabling all interrupts, even the clock.

    One day a friend called me over to check out the brand new 386 his office had just gotten - their first computer! It had one of the fancy new "Vee Gee Ay" displays and I was curious what the Digger screens would look like on it so I brought a disk with me and asked if I could try it.

    The first screen the CRT painted was the scrolling credits at the end - in the time it took for the monitor to change modes all the character lives had been spent and the game was over!

  3. Well it's relative isn't it - unless you're commenting from the 90's then the NES is still an early console, it's just not the earliest.

    I mean look at the Nintendo home console lineup:

    • NES
    • SNES
    • N64
    • GameCube
    • Wii
    • Wii U

    NES looks pretty early to me smile

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