Re: [midatlanticretro] Computer presentation/games
I was surprised your question did not get any replies. Of course there
is no obvious answer and thus some thought is required. :-)
Games - especially simple games that can be played without practice -
are the obvious demo for the PDP. Even today games continue to be the
come-on used at the gypsy computer shows today.
I never had a chance to sit down to really see what you had running this
year so I have no idea what games or programs you had running this year.
I think terminal-friendly text games like Wumpus and Trek would be
better than Adventure. I played both on VM/CMS and TSO using a Silent
700 thermal printing terminal. The effect can't be much different from
your teletype on the PDP.
For those who don't or can't relate to the games, a text editor/word
processor would be a good introduction to using a terminal for "serious
purposes" on a "limited" system. To you have something with the
capabilities of *early* WordStar? Sit someone down and open a file for
them to edit. Give them a cheat sheet of commands and ask them to
edit/enter some text. This would give people a taste of using such a
system in a business setting.
David Gesswein wrote:
> We have had several people commenting on using games for demonstrating
> computers. When working on my displays I've tried to figure out how to make
> a presentation that gives a reasonable view of the machine and
> I've found it hard to not fall back on games. This year with the TU10
> restoration being much more complex that originally expected I ran out of
> time for display preparation so games and copying files between the tapes
> was it.
> Games are something that most of the public can identify with, can be shown
> quickly and are readily available for just about any system. The other
> easy one is pretty "pictures" on displays like the kaleidoscope
> program I had running on the point plot last year. Good for getting
> At least for the systems I'm demonstrating they definitely existed (and
> even DEC used them as easy examples in the manuals) they are a small portion
> of how the machines were used.
> I can't really think of any way to make a reasonable demo of say how
> software development would have been done that would be understandable
> or of interest to very many people. The PDP-8/E's I have were used for
> school administration but I don't think people are going to get excited
> about watching it reconcile the general ledger accounts. Numeric control
> industrial applications would make a cool appropriate demo but I don't have
> that milling machine peripheral.
> I know its sort of system specific but do people have ideas on how to convey
> other usage of machines in a way that will work with people who don't
> really understand old computers?
> I've also wondered how much of what I say in trying to describe the machine
> has meaning to people.