Arc Symphony is a Playstation game that never existed. Or did it?

Arc Symphony is a text-only game about being a fan of an elaborate Japanese Playstation RPG in the 1990s. Designed to evoke an old-timey USENET group and the ancient DOS PC used to connect to it, it's a perfect and mysterious capturing of a long-gone moment. To promote it, the creators commissioned designed jewel cases, complete with glossy booklet (no disk, of course), in perfect imitiation of a PSX game that never existed.

At shows, people spot the clever mockup and say, hey, I remember that game.

People tell them they remember playing it.

People insist they remember. There are fansites.

Arc Symphony works because of Park and Evan’s marketing of it—it becomes easier to pretend to be a fan of the game when they’ve managed to slip a little nostalgia for it into your drink. Both Park and Evans were very surprised by the success of their campaign, and how quickly it got away from them.

“It’s actually really unsettling when it stops just being indie game devs having fun with each other,” Park said, “and starts being, well, rewriting cultural memory…”

Previously: Nomen Ludi, the game you can't quite remember. Read the rest

Defunct 19A0s Computer Company Name Generator

This generates names of Defunct Computer Companies That You're Sure You Can Remember From the 19A0s

Who is the Lord of Synth?

Three legendary synth musicians -- Morgio Zoroger, Xangelix and Carla Wendos -- competed in 1986 for the right to be anointed Lord of Synth. Read the rest

How the hell did they get 1024 colors out of a 1981 PC?

If technical descriptions of how they achieved the amazing graphical feat flew over your head, this pictorial explanation makes clearer just how insane this thing is.

The idea that such multi-color trickery was possible came to me some time ago, as I was looking at reenigne's code for patching up composite CGA emulation in DOSBox; messing with that patch during development gave me a much better picture of composite CGA's inner workings. When I had ironed out the basic concept for this hack, I divulged it to reenigne for 'peer review' and for testing on real hardware. Soon enough, we had an improved recipe:

Take two familiar (though officially undocumented) tweaks. Blend to an even mixture producing a new effect. Add one crucial new trick – an ingredient of reenigne's devising. Test and calibrate until blue in the face.

It's also a great look at the workings of CGA for the interested but nontechnical layman.

Released at the Revision 2015 demo party, 8088 MPH is a vision of previously undiscovered possibility (a perfect entrypoint to the 19A0s!)—there's even MOD music, including digital samples, at 6:40m, like it's just no big deal at all to do that with 1981 hardware Read the rest

Too Many Cooks

"It takes a lot to make a stew". Read the rest

Experimental 60s music sounds like a 80s video arcade

Enjoy 'Mixed Paganini,' by the Studio Di Fonologia Musicale Di Firenze. Published in 1967, it sounds like a weird, hectic video game from 15 years later. The songs were programmed by Pietro Grossi; the 7" disk was "distributed as a Christmas and new year gift by the Olivetti company." [via] Read the rest

Chinatown, the new video from Starcadian [EXCLUSIVE]

Los Angeles. The Future. 1995.

A string of disappearances throughout the underground night club circuit has driven law enforcement to initiate a manhunt for the elusive figure they call Starcadian.

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If Google were a 1980s BBS

It's completely functional; better than the real thing, even. Read the rest

Starcadian, HE^RT

Starcadian's album is available on Bandcamp, with plenty more cuts on Soundcloud. Video Link [YouTube] Read the rest

Glitché

Glitché is the evil twin of all those old-film, toy-lens, Instagram-style apps. Pick a photo, then glitch it all to Hell with broken NTSC emulation, weird 3D pixelation and heightmap extrusion effects, and delicious MPEG-style compression errors. For a $1 upgrade, the free app lets you save animated GIFs, too. [via Joel Johnson, below] Read the rest

Faux 1980s trippy TV commercial for new Jacob 2-2 LP

I dig this hallucinatory faux 19A0s TV commercial for Jacob 2-2's new album "Herbivore," from King Deluxe Records. Video designed and animated by Jacob 2-2 and Samuel Rhodes with photography by Miguel Drake-McLaughlin. Read the rest

Jaws, the text adventure

"You swim slowly through the night, contemplating the solitary brutality of your existence as an apex predator."

Jaws, the text adventure, is fantastic in three ways: as a game; in its adherence to the ZX Spectrum's palette and limitations; and its location firmly in the 19A0s. Read the rest

Behold the grim future of a 1980s boombox ad

The city of the future is imprisoned by feathered mullets, dry ice, and the synthesized orchestral hits that result when anyone opens their eyes. [↚ @joeljohnson] Read the rest

Memorex, a 50-minute odyssey through the VHS generation

Distilled from forty hours of 80s commercials, pulled from VHS tapes, Memorex is the sequel to Smash TV's Skinemax.

19A0s collection on Pinterest

Kurt Wurk has collected a number of images from the lost decade. [Pinterest] Read the rest

Alex Balk's unrealized novel

The Awl founder muses on his idea for the ultimate pomo literary novel: "the book would be told solely through reviews written by its protagonist. There would never be a line of dialogue". But he forgets his achievements; this won the Booker Prize in 199A. Read the rest

The Mixtape Lost at Antikythera


The student of history who devotes his attention only to the most notable events and personae of the Hellenic tradition would imperfectly comprehend its true character. Though its Di Majores offers the pre-eminent claim upon the follower of the divine, it is always from mortal psychedelic machine music that surprises emerge.

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