CGA can output 16 digital RGBI colors, and there's a well-known standard palette which translates them to (s)RGB values - but that palette isn't a very good approximation of the colors you actually get on IBM's original CGA monitor. Why is that, and can we do better?
Another old riddle bites the dust: why did some 16-bit ISA PS/2 machines have an extra set of four alternate fonts tucked away in their firmware? What on earth were those fonts good for? And what's one thing you should never do when you're a PC developer 35 years ago?
Believe it or not, it's possible to transport ancient CRTs across continents, even with today's shipping services pulling out all the stops on incompetence. Here's how an IBM Color Display was packed, shipped, and lived to tell the tale.
A fully-equipped IBM 5160 braves the rigors of international shipping and gets here in one piece (just barely). As will be pictorially demonstrated, 30+ years after leaving the factory, this steel warrior is still one tough SOB.
My present: 'Sorry Ass' - a 512-byte boot sector version of Bill Gates' DONKEY, the infamous demonstration game included with DOS and BASIC 1.0.
Historical exhibit: a set of 25 floppy disks documenting IBM's creation of an in-house bitmap typeface for the RT PC project (code-named Olympiad). Contains the original material as received, plus TTF and PNG conversions of the fonts and images.
An archeological riddle: these very early public domain games all have similar title screens, which say "IBM" although they were clearly homebrew creations. Where do they come from, who made them, and what is that cryptic "mystery code" all about?
IBM officially discouraged PC programmers from exploiting hardware-specific tricks, since that came at the expense of compatibility. Then, they went and released a game that did just that. Here's why it was (artificially) prevented from running on color systems.
Back in 1981, this was part of the original set of software available for the IBM PC on launch. As it turns out, its roots go even earlier than that - and there's also the easily-bypassed copy protection, and a mysterious check for a BASIC error code that isn't documented anywhere.
The lowdown on why this game can be so frustrating to play with the keyboard - in the wrong circumstances.
Mapping out all four levels and 127 rooms of this maze shooter - specifically, the IBM PC version. As proof of cartographic accuracy, you also get a playthrough video.