Screen Saver Series – Part 1: Duke Nukem 3D Atomic Edition

“I came here to save screens and kicking as, and I’m all out of kicking ass!” – Something Duke should have said.

One of the later versions of Duke Nukem 3D didn’t only offer additional episodes, maps, and other goodies on the CD-ROM, but also fun stuff that games of today seem to lack such as wallpapers, screen savers, icons, and the theme music. The Atomic Edition of Duke Nukem 3D offered all this and oh was it great fun! One of my all time favorite screen savers came from this version.

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Screensaver Series Introduction

Long, long ago – at the very dawn of time – screens had the ability to see the supernatural. Yes, ghosts of windows past could be etched into your computer screens forever and always leave a trail, yes indeed – a ghost for every viewer that would view that screen after you. It was a annoying and it looked terrible when you came to your grandma’s house and discovered that she was indeed the victim of a haunting. Once haunted, the screen would forever be lost to the dark souls of the window ghosts.

Fortunately preventative exorcist John Socha came up with a solution. In 1983 he created the first screensaver simply called, uuh… screensaver, or scrnsave for the original IBM PC. He also coined the term screen saver, making him the first preventative exorcist linguist in the world. Scrnsave simply blacked out the screen after three minutes of idle usage. This time could only be changed if recompiling the entire program.

Technically screensavers in computers existed as far back as 1977 with the Atari VCS/2600. It would simply change the color palette of the game every so often so that the screen would not leave a mark on your dad’s expensive TV set. These were not really screensavers as they did not depend of idle usage of the computer but was merely a part of the programming and intended usage. If counting calculators as a form of computer then the 1976 Texas Instruments TI-30 contained a screensaver that filled the matrix with dots after 30 seconds. This was merely a part of its intended function though as this was a battery saving feature due to the screen’s LED display.

Today screensavers are more an echo of the past. People like them and I don’t blame them for doing so because screensavers are awesome! Today’s screens are constructed with modern LED technology and therefore the screen cannot burn the same way as the old CRT monitors did.

Screensavers are imaginative, inventive, and fun! Therefore I’ve devoted a series of PixelTopics about screensavers. There will be cool ones, there will be nostalgic ones, some classics, some favorites, and some just awful ones. So sit back and enjoy the new PixelTopics SS… uuh, Screen Saver series.