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Hello 1994 – it’s good to have you here

Hello Retro Giants,

As some of you have seen on twitter, we’ve been hard at work getting the Store and Blog accessible from ye-old-web, via browsers like iCab, Netscape, Internet Explorer and even Mac Web. While it’s not 100% compatible (I dearly recommend disabling JavaScript), at the very least it is accessible from them and heck, even images should load from now (we have to switch to jpegs from this point onwards).

Why are we doing this?

The reason for this change is because I plan on releasing quite a few games for retro platforms, and I want to make them available as Shareware. Starting with our first summer retro release we want to make the [retro] game available as shareware so people can upload it to BBS’s (yes they still exist), their own websites and ftp servers for others to download. And I want to offer the good ol’ 1994 experience to all, from start to finish (if you don’t know what shareware is, check out this link for a blast from the past).

A second reason is that I’m completely tired of the modern web. My daily driver phone is a Blackberry Classic from 2014 which, up till December 2020, managed to surf the web quite fine and dandy without issues. Starting with that date, it cannot access any “modern website” since it cannot handle twitter, facebook and youtube’s “advertising” properly. And the same goes for retro platforms, their access to the web is barred because they lack the capabilities for tracking and advertising, not content viewing and browsing (what the web was designed for).

Think youtube is too complex to work on an old browser? Think again, youtube could be viewable on a Macintosh from 1988 still – the video content can be compressed to the same 144p without any issues but it’s poor specs cannot handle the ads and banners and pre-loaded advertising content. You don’t believe me? I wrote a proxy for youtube that downloads the video, encodes it and returns it back to the browser. Video streaming works well enough on a 16Mhz cpu.

Is there an “audience for this”?

Sean [Action Retro] seems to think so. He got web searching working and even google news available for retro platforms. There are modern wifi enabled modems for old hardware and there’s a reason a lot of vintage hardware’s prices skyrocketed lately on ebay. There’s an audience and there are passionate fans that can’t quite use their devices because they are not advertiser friendly.

And even if the audience doesn’t exist, I find myself using my retro hardware quite often in recent times and browsing “the old web”? It’s an amazing experience. My SE/30 is connected to the internet via a LocalTalk connection. I won’t go into details but usually I can access the internet from it as a blazing fast 35 KB/s on average. You would think it takes forever to load a page on it but once you push it through frogfind’s parser – in less than 2 seconds almost it’s loaded and the experience is even better than most modern websites.

No pop-ups, no banners, no tracking, no auto-playing content, no un-mutable videos. It’s just you and the content on that page – the way it was supposed to be. So if I can do anything in my power to fight against the “modern” bloated web, I will. Or better said, if I can do anything to help a retro hardware enthusiast get more enjoyment out of his hardware – I will.

A work in progress

The website is still pretty much a work in progress. We’ve did some changes to make it easier to access it but there are still many things left to do. For one, all the images previously uploaded are in a png format which – doesn’t play well with old browsers. Some links default to HTTPS and we’re going to fix them in time. If you have any comments or suggestions for browsing the Bearded Giant Store from old hardware, send me an e-mail (retro at beardedgiant dot games). I have an address specifically for this and the client is always open on my SE/30.

So hello 1994 and welcome to Bearded Giant Games. Sorry we never got to appreciate you properly.

P.s. I’ll probably disable purchasing from the store from old platforms, just to be “safe”. But all retro game releases will be available form a http link to be downloaded and shared.