The Gadgets Page

June 8, 2012

Computer Virus Reporting Circa 1988

Filed under: Retro Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 6:08 am

Just a quick retro distraction today with a YouTube video showing a TV news report about a computer virus in 1988.

I find it incredibly funny that they used video footage of the game, ET, to demonstrate how a virus might eat up your data and spread.

ET Atari videogameThis is a description of the game according to Wikipedia: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (video game)

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (also referred to simply as E.T.) is a notorious 1982 adventure video game developed and published by Atari, Inc. for the Atari 2600 video game console. It is based on the film of the same name, and was designed by Howard Scott Warshaw. The objective of the game is to guide the eponymous character through various screens to collect three pieces of an interplanetary telephone that will allow him to contact his home planet. [It] is often cited as one of the worst video games released and was one of the biggest commercial failures in video gaming history.

Stacey and I loved the video game and played it on our Atari constantly. It wasn’t as much of a favorite as Adventure or Journey Escape, but we loved it.

I find it interesting that something that we deal with on a regular basis was such a novelty less than 25 years ago. I like to think that people who write computer viruses, email spam and comment spam have a special hell that they will enjoy in the afterlife. They will constantly find themselves in a desperate situation: a loved one is injured, they are trapped in a hole, or they are irrevocably lost. When they try to call on the cell phone, they can’t because it rings constantly with calls from telemarketers. When they hang up on the intrusive calls and try to call out, they are blocked because the towers are so jammed full of telemarketing calls. Their torture continues as their situation gets worse and worse, with no hope of help in sight and the constant interruption of telemarketers.

We’ve come a long way from that news program that describes a hacker as a “dark genius” and a “good A student,” to the nearly epic proportions of attack we have on our computers every day. The financial economies of entire third world nations have been built on attacking our computers, email and comments sections. And I imagine a special hell for each and every one of them.


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