Tag Archives | Nostalgia

Patentmania: The Golden Age of Electronic Games

The Golden Age of Electronic Games

The first three decades of digital gaming saw a flurry of concepts, technologies, and products that were groundbreaking in their era and still matter today. And the drawings their inventors used to document them in patent filings are a nostalgic, charming blast. Here are thirty-two of those sketches–including ones for some the most successful games ever and a few which I’m not sure ever made it to market at all.

As with my earlier patent galleries, I couldn’t have done this one without the wondrous research tool known as Google Patents. The filing dates that follow link to the full patent documents there.


Apple Patentmania: 31 Years of Big Ideas


Apple may be famously secretive, but there’s one guy the company has been confiding in for more than three decades now. That would be its Uncle Sam, in the form of the U.S. Patent Office. The company’s patent filings are a remarkable record of Apple’s brainstorms, from its biggest blockbusters to its most humbling flops to concepts that never got off the drawing board. The thirty-eight images that follow include multiple examples of all of the above. Click on the filing dates, and you’ll go to the patents where the drawings originated, mostly at the indispensable and addictive Google Patents.


The Mouse Turns Forty

mouse-teaser1Back in the 1960s, a genius named Douglas Engelbart was busy figuring out many of the things that define most of the computing user interfaces on this planet to this day. On December 9th, 1968, he gave the first public demonstration of a device for manipulating an on-screen cursor–and since the little gadget had a tail-like cord, he called it a mouse. In celebration of today’s anniversary of the mouse’s debut, we’ve assembled a little slideshow of significant mice (and a few oddballs) from the past four decades.

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The Mouse That Soared


On December 9th, 1968, Stanford Research Institute scientist Douglas Engelbart demonstrated his unique invention–the computer mouse–for the first time in public. It took another decade and a half for it to catch on, but once it did, computing was never the same. And today, it’s hard to imagine using a desktop or laptop computer without a mouse (or one of its latter-day substitutes such as the touchpad). In celebration of the anniversary, here’s a gallery of some of the mightiest mice of the last four decades.


Microsoft’s Fashion Statement

gatesmugIn a move that somehow seems simultaneously inevitable and unnecessary, Microsoft has released a line of T-shirts–which, of course, it’s calling Softwear. They feature 1980s-era graphics with the old-school Microsoft logo which nobody has given any thought to in the past 15 years, were designed in collaboration with rapper Common, and show up in stores on December 15th. (No word yet on whether Microsoft will patch ’em for you if they’re discovered to have any holes.)  In celebration of this milestone for American casualwear, we’ve assembled a slideshow of the shirts.

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Microsoft’s Latest Innovation…T-Shirts!

Softwear by Microsoft

A billion people may use Microsoft products, but until now, just about nobody has worn them. All that changes–maybe–starting December 15th, when the company’s retro-themed Softwear by Microsoft T-shirts hit the market. Including some designs by rapper Common, the line celebrates the much-missed era when floppy disks were actually floppy and 640KB did indeed feel like all the memory anybody would ever need. Here’s a little fashion show of the initial shirts, which come in four sizes: Basic, Home, Business, and Ultimate. (Kidding!)