The 1990s, the decade that never ended

In 2013, the New Museum in New York presented an exhibition titled NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star (named after an album by Sonic Youth). It curated art from the year of Bill Clinton’s inauguration. Soon after, New Jersey’s Montclair Art Museum featured Come As You Are: Art of the 1990s (named after a song by Nirvana). Jason Farago, writing about these shows for the BBC, posited that “this wave of 1990s shows marks a welcome effort to impose historical rigour on a period we still sometimes call ‘contemporary,’” but, “they reveal that the gap between then…

Merger 3D

Merger 3D combines the best and worst of 90s shareware

Nostalgia for the 1990s seems to have become the stock in trade for videogames over the past few years. I’m thinking of the tongue-in-cheek revisit to MS-DOS’s glory days of Vlambeer’s GUN GODZ (2012) and the brutal, tasteful modern reconfiguration of the 90s shooter in this year’s Devil Daggers. But these are exceptions, as drawing from that well is typically an exercise in diminishing returns. A new shooter, Merger 3D, is testament to this, as it showcases the best and worst of the 90s shareware aesthetic. The title weighs in at a svelte 10 MB, and supposedly will run on every Windows OS…

The Malware Museum

The beautiful destruction of old-school malware

Malware. Blech! We hate malware. And so we should—deleting files, maliciously clogging up our desktops, turning our browsers into never-ending adverts. But it’s so boring and irritating these days. At least back in the 1980s and 1990s you could take a step back and admire both the technical and artistic achievement of malware before it ate your computer. If you’re not familiar with the malware of yesteryear then, fret not, you needn’t miss out. The internet archivists at archive.org have teamed up with self-professed “malware adventurer” Mikko Hypponnen to provide The Malware Museum. It’s a collection of malware programs that…


Screensaver jam results in a colorful throwback to the ’90s

You don’t really see screensavers all that often anymore. I know that when my computer enters sleep mode, I just have it set to display a black screen. It’s the same thing for all my friends as well as most offices I’ve visited since turning 13-years-old. Maybe it’s a consequence of our modern habit of leaving our computers on at all times, since if your computer is constantly sitting asleep in the background, having it display a bright or showy screensaver is just distracting. Or maybe it’s because we don’t need screensavers to protect our displays from burn-in images anymore,…


Get ready to experience terrible videogame history: Night Trap is coming to browsers

Ah, the elusive Night Trap Fan. You hear of them often, but actual sightings remain a rarity. The creators of the infamous 1992 FMV (which, in part, sparked the videogame backlash that lead to the ESRB ratings we hold dear today) spoke about their many legions of fans last year when the Kickstarter sent ripples through a decade-old fanbase. Yet, despite the enthusiasm of this super fan group, the desire to see their beloved classic revamped fell just $290,000 short of what the developers demanded. But fear not, for the devotion of the Night Trap fan knows no bounds and cannot…


Windows93 is the operating system that internet culture really wants

Sometimes the internet guffs out material so zany that I remember why I like it. This month it’s a new website titled WINDOWS93 that’s providing this service. It transports you back to the 1990s through a wormhole made of broken memories. Starting up as if it were Windows 95—albeit with the nostalgia-stroking PlayStation One introduction chime (I still get chills)—it seems a convincing if off-color recreation. But don’t you dare stop there. You bet your ass you’re going to start double clicking your way into those desktop icons that are arranged as a wonky pyramid for some reason. It won’t take long…


Celebrate the clunkiness of 90s electronics with these adorable gifs

The ’90s was truly the last analog decade. When the new millennium rolled around we all made the switch over to digital as if it were commanded by time itself. It was a gradual process: the first 3G networks appeared in 1998 to pave the way for the ubiquity of all-purpose mobile phones; Apple introduced its iPod in 2001; peer-to-peer technology really took off as people discovered services like Napster from ’99; and social networking was embedded in our lives with the launch of MySpace in 2003 and Facebook in 2004. As we melted into our comfier digital lives, what…


A road-trip game about the fiddly art of vehicle maintenance

Hac (pronounced “Hajj”) is a videogame about the worst parts of driving. Washing the mud out of the grill; changing the battery; losing the keys in the space between the door and your seat; packing suitcases and sleeping bags into a trunk that’s way too small. More than anything else, it’s concerned with simulating all the laborious tasks that take place around and inform the actual activity at hand. The funny thing is this: performing all of these micro-processes is wholly satisfying. as much of an antithesis to Formula One racing games as you can get  The game’s solo creator, Greg Pryjmachuk,…