Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cover to Cover: Adventure International Spring 1981 Catalog (pp. 29-30)

We've been walking through the Spring 1981 Adventure International catalog, a few pages at a time, and the next few pages provide some insight into the structure of the home computing industry at the time.

Page 29 wraps up a two-page commercial interruption from another early software publisher, Acorn Software Products, who bought space to promote their own products to an appropriate audience, in the days when computer magazines had not yet gone mainstream:

There's no room for description of many of the products listed here -- we are briefly told what MUSIC, QUAD and ATERM are, but the language education programs and cryptically-named utilities are left to our imaginations (SBT? NUMB? EDAS?).  Everest Explorer was a simulation game that didn't directly compete with Adventure International's core product line, and Superscript was an enhancement patch for Radio Shack's popular SCRIPSIT word processing package, which I have previously written about in more detail here.

Page 30 is really unusual -- Scott Adams devoted a page of his own catalog to disavowal of an apparent endorsement in another company's magazine advertisement.  Apparently a disk drive vendor named Level IV Computing had changed hands since doing business with Adventure International once upon a time, and Mr. Adams was not pleased with the company's continued use of his name under its new management.  The industry was young, and everything was novel at the time; even advertising etiquette was sometimes a little off-the-cuff if not intentionally shady.

Tomorrow, we'll look at a few more pages -- I hope this series provides memories for some, and history for others.

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