For the past five years, every Monday, Vintage Computing & Gaming‘s Benj Edwards has posted a new “Retro Scan of the Week,” archiving—quite beautifully—classic ads for video games, computers and electronics, much of it antiquated technology like floppy drives and modems that now seems quaint.
They show the earliest days of Nintendo coming to America, with families playing Super Mario Bros. together. They preserve silly ads for Sega hardware, designed to titillate. Sometimes Edwards scans in other curiosities, like Game Boy bubble gum or the face of a Nintendo Entertainment System.
Edwards, a freelance writer, has done so for the past decade with great humor. Reading Retro Scan of the Week is often as laugh out loud funny as the quirky ads for Game Boy games, 16-bit consoles and classic PC software he preserves online. They’re plucked from old video games magazines, newspapers, books and catalogs.
Sometimes they show a nation in the grips of Pac-Man Fever, as in the case of this scan from a 1982 issue of Popular Computing.
Other times, they help us remember personal computer pitchman like Isaac Asimov and Bill Cosby, who shilled for Radioshack and Texas Instruments, respectively.
“I’ve been collecting computer and video game magazines since I first received them as a kid in the 1980s,” Edwards says. “I don’t think I ever threw a single one away.”
“In late 2006, I started a concerted effort to buy up collections of vintage computer and game magazines, books, and catalogs so I’d have material for scans and primary source material for articles on computer and game history. Around that time I also received some sizable donations of magazines from readers. That lay the foundation of the continuation of RSOTW through the years.”
Earlier this week, Edwards wrote a reflection on his efforts with “Retro Scan of the Week,” talking about its genesis, how we narrowly avoided seeing each scan plastered with watermarks and touching on some of the site’s most popular scans. This is one of them.
Do you remember the Coleco Super Action Controller?
Edwards offers a handy list of all 263 Retro Scan of the Week scans at a five year wrap-up below.
One Scan Per Week for Five Years [Vintage Computing & Gaming]