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Old Apr 10, 2012, 12:27 PM   #1
bob bobato
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How were home PCs used in 1996?

Let's say its 1996, you're 40 years old and have 3 kids. You just bought a state of the art windows 95 machine which doesn't have internet access. The kids use it to play game and write school papers. But how do you use it? (let's assume your job doesn't require you to work at home).
I'm wondering this after seeing a Simpsons episode from 1996 where someone comments that Homer "doesn't even have a computer". Well, why would he evenneed one? From my own experience, I remember that my father used to use the home PC to fill out tax forms and to use Microsoft Word and Excel for work (he was a consular worker), but I don't think that was typical for the time.
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Old Apr 10, 2012, 06:14 PM   #2
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I had internet then. And Civ
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Old Apr 11, 2012, 05:20 AM   #3
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Games.
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Old Apr 11, 2012, 10:53 AM   #4
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Back then I was playing games on my PC, drawing ANSI art, and calling BBS's.

In fact, I even ran a couple BBS' - Mystic Fork, Premature Ejac, Warpig's Lair

I wasn't 40 back then though
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Old Apr 11, 2012, 01:09 PM   #5
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There was a large online community back then, relatively speaking to what preceded it. (Tiny compared to now, obviously). Prodigy, Compuserve, AOL, BBS systems. Relative to the time, that was a pretty big leap from, say, late 80s or early 90s connectivity.

Why would a 40 year old not play games?
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Old Apr 11, 2012, 01:17 PM   #6
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I got the internet in 1997, when I was 12. AOL. I used it to have cybersex with girls.
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Old Apr 11, 2012, 01:18 PM   #7
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I used it for Sim City, KidPix, Oregon Trail, Yukon Trail, Capture the Flag, and a bunch of other games. My dad used it for typing and printing. I don't remember when we got internet, but we definitely had it by the time we got a Win98 computer.
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Old Apr 11, 2012, 04:12 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Mise View Post
I got the internet in 1997, when I was 12. AOL. I used it to have cybersex with girls.
You thought it was girls, anyway. Girls didn't get into internets until shoes&realitytv.com came online.
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Old Apr 12, 2012, 03:17 AM   #9
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I started chatting to one of them once, and it slowly became apparent that she went to my school, in my year, and in some of my lessons as well. She was one of the popular/attractive girls, too...
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Old Apr 12, 2012, 11:32 AM   #10
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I got the internet in 1997, when I was 12. AOL. I used it to have cybersex with girls.
I played in the Compuserve Doom I & II ladders and argued in the Compuserve and Prodigy forums about politics and religion....

When I google my name some of my Doom maps and mods still come up
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Old Apr 13, 2012, 01:16 PM   #11
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I had internet back then but didn't use it much for that. Mostly used it for games, photoshop and office apps. My dad used his for office apps and CAD work but he didn't have internet.

edit: I was 33 in 1996.

Last edited by Furiey; May 06, 2012 at 05:06 PM.
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Old Apr 13, 2012, 03:41 PM   #12
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Whilst computers back then had incredibly low amounts of processing power and memory even compared to Android and Nokia smartphones today, they were still useful.

For starters, why right off games? Adults can play games too, even if it was less common then.

Being able to write/print letters would be useful. There were plenty of creative uses. In 1996 I used my Amiga do all of these things.

Not to mention that home Internet access (or non-Internet dial-up systems) existed in 1996 too.

Of course for a lot of people who don't play games, and don't want to doing any work, and don't want to use computers creatively, the Internet is the one significant thing that's made almost every household get one (it's the reason my parents finally got their first computer a few years ago). So yes, I wouldn't sneer at someone in 1996 for not having a computer. But then The Simpsons probably isn't meant to be serious
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Old Apr 16, 2012, 07:44 PM   #13
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I was over 40 in 1996, and that's when my wife bought our first Windows computer. We'd had home computers for about 16 years by then.

We used it to play games, write letters, kept a recipe database, and maintain records for the junior bowling leagues we ran.
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Old Apr 16, 2012, 10:03 PM   #14
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This would be a better question for my dad than me. I mostly used it for games and occasionally writing things in Lotus Notes, as well as drawing in Microsoft Paint. The funny thing about the Paint drawings is they're almost all stored as .bmp files. I don't seem to have any of those documents today, but I'm sure they're still on the small hard drives we had, or the floppies we backed them up on.

I know my dad occasionally wrote documents and kept spreadsheets on the 1996 computer, and designed model railroads. I don't know if he ever actually programmed on that computer or not, though he had some software for it. Maybe I should ask this question for real.
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Old Apr 17, 2012, 01:35 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mise View Post
Games.
this

I bought my first PC in 1995 (although in the late 80's I had a Commodore 64). Although I got internet access (if you can call a very slow dial up access) several months later.

Some of my first games were X-com, Master of Magic, and Civilization 2.
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Old Apr 30, 2012, 04:07 PM   #16
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1996 was a golden year for PC gaming. It wasn't surpassed in my book until last year. I played a lot of Daggerfall (Elder Scrolls 2), Tomb Raider 1 and Grand Theft Auto 1 back in -96/-97. I had a state-of-the-art machine, a 133 MhZ Pentium. That machine lived for ten years.

I had internet too, actually, although I live on the Siberian tundra. Whenever I wanted to "surf online", as we called it back then, I had to call through the modem and it made a terrible noise. It was slow. Downloading the demo of Grand Theft Auto took me over an hour. It was 5 mb's large. Yes, five megabytes. The phone bills were also astronomical because of this.

I discovered a file format called MP3. Up until then, most sound files found online were either .wav or .mid. Midi was terrible. MP3 ruled and I downloaded songs and enjoyed them and played them to my friends. I couldn't for the world understand why so few knew about this file format. I was probably one of the very first people in my town/area to make use of MP3 files. Yeah! I was a pioneer back in the late nineties.

I chatted a lot. With people in America. Once I even met a Norwegian woman, but it sadly didn't lead to anything. I was too messed up at the time. I created a homepage on something called Geocities and it looked absolutely terrible, but I was really proud of it. It was an early form of MySpace/Facebook and everyone's pages looked crappy. I also frequented historical forums, like the one on the Napoleon Series, and learned that there were other people out there who enjoyed reading about Napoleon, and that I was not alone. Wonderful.

I met so many memorable characters online and I loved them all! I met a Canadian gentleman who thought he was Jesus, and I met a Communist from the United States and a Catholic schoolgirl from the US East Coast who was named "Satan" on the chat. IRC was the in-thing back in -96, by the way.

It was Clinton and Yeltsin, X-Files and Spicegirls. What a great time it was!
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Old May 03, 2012, 11:36 PM   #17
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Games, ofc.

What did you think computers were for
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Old May 05, 2012, 07:19 PM   #18
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Mainly used for PC games.
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Old May 06, 2012, 09:23 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Disgustipated View Post
Some of my first games were X-com, Master of Magic, and Civilization 2.
Great games, all of those.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Sage View Post
1996 was a golden year for PC gaming. It wasn't surpassed in my book until last year. I played a lot of Daggerfall (Elder Scrolls 2), Tomb Raider 1 and Grand Theft Auto 1 back in -96/-97. I had a state-of-the-art machine, a 133 MhZ Pentium. That machine lived for ten years.

I had internet too, actually, although I live on the Siberian tundra. Whenever I wanted to "surf online", as we called it back then, I had to call through the modem and it made a terrible noise. It was slow. Downloading the demo of Grand Theft Auto took me over an hour. It was 5 mb's large. Yes, five megabytes. The phone bills were also astronomical because of this.

I discovered a file format called MP3. Up until then, most sound files found online were either .wav or .mid. Midi was terrible. MP3 ruled and I downloaded songs and enjoyed them and played them to my friends. I couldn't for the world understand why so few knew about this file format. I was probably one of the very first people in my town/area to make use of MP3 files. Yeah! I was a pioneer back in the late nineties.

I chatted a lot. With people in America. Once I even met a Norwegian woman, but it sadly didn't lead to anything. I was too messed up at the time. I created a homepage on something called Geocities and it looked absolutely terrible, but I was really proud of it. It was an early form of MySpace/Facebook and everyone's pages looked crappy. I also frequented historical forums, like the one on the Napoleon Series, and learned that there were other people out there who enjoyed reading about Napoleon, and that I was not alone. Wonderful.

I met so many memorable characters online and I loved them all! I met a Canadian gentleman who thought he was Jesus, and I met a Communist from the United States and a Catholic schoolgirl from the US East Coast who was named "Satan" on the chat. IRC was the in-thing back in -96, by the way.
IRC, the last days of the newsgroups, and the first of the web forums... oh, damn you both, not I'm getting all nostalgic and feeling old!
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Old May 10, 2012, 05:23 PM   #20
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Newsgroups are still going strong, mostly for piracy.
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