ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

Screenshots Forever and Ever Until You Can’t Stand it —

The Screen Shotgun, as mentioned before, is continuing its never-ending quest to play tens of thousands of games and programs, take screenshots, and upload them into the Internet Archive.

Like any of these tinker-y projects, I’ve written a bunch of additional support, error checking, and what have you to the process, so that it can handle weird situations while being left alone for days on end. There’s still the occasional mess-up but the whole thing can be viewed later and I can pinpoint mistakes and re-do them with little effort. It’s a win all around.

There’s now a routine called BOUNDARYISSUES that looks at any emulated program and figures out where the edges are – it’s no big deal and the routine is probably hugely inefficient but it’s nice to keep my hands on the programming side of things, even a little. Thanks to BOUNDARYISSUES some machines that have less than two dozen known software packages are getting screenshots, since the program will do the cropping work and it’s not reliant on my procrastination or free time.

And how many winners there are!


There won’t be an endgame to this anytime soon – I’m now ingesting hundreds of floppies, thousands of already-ingested floppies, and whatever else I can find online. The Screen Shotgun has work cut out for it for some time to come.

So thanks to the industrialization of the screenshot, it’s giveaway time!

I’ve decided to throw some galleries of these screenshots on Flickr, because what the hell, I have an unlimited account and I love finding what the definition of “unlimited” is. So, enjoy:

Feel free to use these any way you want, for whatever you want. Watermark them and I’ll track you down and humiliate you like a hole in your pants. Make art! Do criticism! Set up retro slideshows in your raver club! This art represents hundreds of thousands of work by thousands of people – it’s worth browsing through. (ZX and Atari 800 are my favorites at the moment.) I’ll be adding more sets soon.

So yeah, I’m writing this one in the ‘success” column. This is years of work, done in a month. But so much more to do!

Get going, shotgun.

00_coverscreenshot (1) 00_coverscreenshot (2) 00_coverscreenshot (3) 00_coverscreenshot (5) 00_coverscreenshot (6) 00_coverscreenshot (7)

Categorised as: computer history | Internet Archive | jason his own self

Comments are disabled on this post


  1. Rubes says:

    Love this. Great work.

  2. Bodhisattva says:

    Where’s the 1991 European Sega Mega Drive version of the video game Zero Wing?

  3. fimdomeio says:

    Jason. Thank you, this is awsome. I think I’ll make a nostalgic bot to spread this around 🙂

  4. Vomitorium says:

    Now, looking back and remembering, i can imagine why our parents tried to prevent us from playing games back in the old days – the graphics was so awful, that one could get eye cancer 😀 😀

  5. tudor says:

    Vital work, cultural heritage stuff, awesome, well done 🙂

  6. keith says:

    This is amazing and awesome. Good work 🙂

  7. viley says:

    Since I’m seeing Apple II screenshots here, and since this post (and blog!) concerns itself with *preserving* the experience of past computing… I gotta say this.

    It irks me that none of the widely-used Apple II emulators out there really bother to simulate NTSC video, even to a “passable” degree. Most of them seem to rely on some hackish scheme of generating 1:1 RGB pixels and recoloring alternate ones on a case-by-case basis so that it “kinda-sorta” looks right.

    As a result, the net is full of images that look like this:
    …when they should really look more like this:

    Or, another comparison: = bad = good

    AppleWin-NTSC is the only one I’ve seen that bothers to try and get it right, but it isn’t cross-platform and the code hasn’t even made it to mainline AppleWin.