10 Figures of Speech Illustrated by Monty Python: Paradiastole, Epanorthosis, Syncatabasis & More

Ah, the ancient art of rhetoric. There’s no escap­ing it. Var­i­ous­ly defined as “the art of argu­men­ta­tion and dis­course” or, by Aris­to­tle in his frag­ment­ed trea­tise, as “the means of per­sua­sion [that] could be found in the mat­ter itself; and then styl­is­tic arrange­ment,” rhetoric is com­pli­cat­ed. Aristotle’s def­i­n­i­tion fur­ther breaks down into three dis­tinct types, and he illus­trates each with lit­er­ary exam­ples. And if you’ve ever picked up a rhetor­i­cal guide—ancient, medieval, or mod­ern—you’ll be famil­iar with the lists of hun­dreds of unpro­nounce­able Greek or Latin terms, each one cor­re­spond­ing to some quirky fig­ure of speech.

Well, as usu­al, the inter­net pro­vides us with an eas­i­er way in the form of the video above of 10 fig­ures of speech “as illus­trat­ed by Mon­ty Python’s Fly­ing Cir­cus,” one of the most lit­er­ate of pop­u­lar arti­facts to ever appear on tele­vi­sion. There’s “para­di­as­tole,” the fan­cy term for euphemism, demon­strat­ed by John Cleese’s over­ly deco­rous news­cast­er. There’s “epanortho­sis,” or “imme­di­ate and emphat­ic self-cor­rec­tion, often fol­low­ing a slip of the tongue,” which Eric Idle over­does in splen­did fash­ion. Every pos­si­ble poet­ic fig­ure or gram­mat­i­cal tic seems to have been named and cat­a­logued by those philo­soph­i­cal­ly resource­ful Greeks and Romans. And it’s like­ly that the Pythons have uti­lized them all. I await a fol­low-up video in lieu of read­ing any more rhetor­i­cal text­books.

via Coudal

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Mon­ty Python’s “Sum­ma­rize Proust Com­pe­ti­tion” on the 100th Anniver­sary of Swann’s Way

The Mon­ty Python Phi­los­o­phy Foot­ball Match: The Greeks v. the Ger­mans

Clas­sic Mon­ty Python: Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw Engage in a Hilar­i­ous Bat­tle of Wits

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

Watch The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, the Influential German Expressionist Film (1920)

Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari

In ear­ly 1920, posters began appear­ing all over Berlin with a hyp­not­ic spi­ral and the mys­te­ri­ous com­mand Du musst Cali­gari wer­den — “You must become Cali­gari.”

The posters were part of an inno­v­a­tive adver­tis­ing cam­paign for an upcom­ing movie by Robert Wiene called The Cab­i­net of Dr. Cali­gari. When the film appeared, audi­ences were mes­mer­ized by Wiene’s sur­re­al tale of mys­tery and hor­ror. Almost a cen­tu­ry lat­er, The Cab­i­net of Dr. Cali­gari is still cel­e­brat­ed for its rare blend­ing of low­brow enter­tain­ment and avant-garde art. It is fre­quent­ly cit­ed as the quin­tes­sen­tial cin­e­mat­ic exam­ple of Ger­man Expres­sion­ism, with its dis­tort­ed per­spec­tives and per­va­sive sense of dread.

Like many night­mares, Cali­gari had its ori­gin in real-life events. Screen­writer Hans Janowitz had been walk­ing late one night through a fair in Ham­burg’s red-light dis­trict when he heard laugh­ter. Turn­ing, he saw an attrac­tive young woman dis­ap­pear behind some bush­es in a park. A short time lat­er a man emerged from the shad­ows and walked away. The next morn­ing, Janowitz read in the news­pa­pers that a young woman match­ing the descrip­tion of the one he had seen had been mur­dered overnight at that very loca­tion.

Haunt­ed by the inci­dent, Janowitz told the sto­ry to fel­low writer Carl May­er. Togeth­er they set to work writ­ing a screen­play based on the inci­dent, draw­ing also on May­er’s unset­tling expe­ri­ence with a psy­chi­a­trist. They imag­ined a strange, bespec­ta­cled man named Dr. Cali­gari who arrives in a small town to demon­strate his pow­ers of hyp­no­tism over Cesare, a sleep walk­er, at the local fair. A series of mys­te­ri­ous mur­ders fol­lows.

Janowitz and May­er sold their screen­play to Erich Pom­mer at Decla-Film. Pom­mer at first want­ed Fritz Lang to direct the film, but Lang was busy with anoth­er project, so he gave the job to Wiene. One of the most crit­i­cal deci­sions Pom­mer made was to hire Expres­sion­ist art direc­tor Her­mann Warm to design the pro­duc­tion, along with painters Wal­ter Reimann and Wal­ter Röhrig. As R. Bar­ton Palmer writes at Film Ref­er­ence:

The prin­ci­ple of War­m’s con­cep­tion is the Expres­sion­ist notion of Bal­lung, that crys­tal­liza­tion of the inner real­i­ty of objects, con­cepts, and peo­ple through an artis­tic expres­sion that cuts through and dis­cards a false exte­ri­or. War­m’s sets for the film cor­re­spond­ing­ly evoke the twists and turn­ings of a small Ger­man medieval town, but in a patent­ly unre­al­is­tic fash­ion (e.g., streets cut across one anoth­er at impos­si­ble angles and paths are impos­si­bly steep). The roofs that Cesare the som­nam­bu­list cross­es dur­ing his night­time depre­da­tions rise at unlike­ly angles to one anoth­er, yet still afford him pas­sage so that he can reach his vic­tims. In oth­er words, the world of Cali­gari remains “real” in the sense that it is not offered as an alter­na­tive one to what actu­al­ly exists. On the con­trary, War­m’s design is meant to evoke the essence of Ger­man social life, offer­ing a pen­e­trat­ing cri­tique of semi­of­fi­cial author­i­ty (the psy­chi­a­trist) that is soft­ened by the addi­tion of a fram­ing sto­ry. As a prac­tic­ing artist with a deep com­mit­ment to the polit­i­cal and intel­lec­tu­al pro­gram of Expres­sion­ism, Warm was the ide­al tech­ni­cian to do the art design for the film, which bears out War­m’s famous man­i­festo that “the cin­e­ma image must become an engrav­ing.”

The screen­writ­ers were dis­ap­point­ed with Wiene’s deci­sion to frame the sto­ry as a flash­back told by a patient in a psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal. Janowitz, in par­tic­u­lar, had meant Cali­gari to be an indict­ment of the Ger­man gov­ern­ment that had recent­ly sent mil­lions of men to kill or be killed in the trench­es of World War I. “While the orig­i­nal sto­ry exposed author­i­ty,” writes Siegfried Kra­cauer in From Cali­gari to Hitler: A Psy­cho­log­i­cal His­to­ry of the Ger­man Film, “Wiene’s Cali­gari glo­ri­fied author­i­ty and con­vict­ed its antag­o­nist of mad­ness. A rev­o­lu­tion­ary film was thus turned into a con­formist one — fol­low­ing the much-used pat­tern of declar­ing some nor­mal but trou­ble­some indi­vid­ual insane and send­ing him to a lunatic asy­lum.”

In a pure­ly cin­e­mat­ic sense, of course, The Cab­i­net of Dr. Cali­gari remains a rev­o­lu­tion­ary work. You can watch the com­plete film above. Or find it list­ed in our col­lec­tion, 4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More.

Relat­ed con­tent:

Fritz Lang’s M: Watch the Restored Ver­sion of the Clas­sic 1931 Film

Metrop­o­lis Restored: Watch a New Ver­sion of Fritz Lang’s Mas­ter­piece

Watch the Quin­tes­sen­tial Vam­pire Film Nos­fer­atu

A Terrifying Reading of the Sweet Children’s Story Goodnight Moon

percy less red

Is this wrong? Ben­jamin Per­cy (author of the were­wolf thriller Red Moon) takes the sweet chil­dren’s bed­time sto­ry, Good­night Moon by Mar­garet Wise Brown, and turns it into a sto­ry that will keep kids (and maybe adults) awake for days on end — per­haps leav­ing par­ents no choice but to have the real Wern­er Her­zog read Go the F**k to Sleep. This record­ing comes cour­tesy of Gray­wolf Press, and don’t for­get to look under your bed.

H/T Sheer­ly

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Stephen Fry Reads Oscar Wilde’s Children’s Sto­ry “The Hap­py Prince”

Alfred Hitch­cock Presents Ghost Sto­ries for Young Peo­ple (1962)

James Gan­dolfi­ni Reads from Mau­rice Sendak’s Children’s Sto­ry “In The Night Kitchen”

Hear the Clas­sic Win­nie-the-Pooh Read by Author A.A. Milne in 1929

550 Free Audio Books: Down­load Great Books for Free

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American Filmmakers in Japanese Ads: Quentin Tarantino Sells Cell Phones, Orson Welles Hawks Whisky

Amer­i­can movie stars have long found work across the pacif­ic in Japan­ese tele­vi­sion com­mer­cials: Nico­las Cage, Paul New­man, Den­nis Hop­per, Har­ri­son Ford, Jodie Fos­ter — the list goes on. If their spots aired state­side, we’d prob­a­bly buy what they sell too, but celebri­ties in their image-pro­tec­tive league have thus far shown a reluc­tance to endorse prod­ucts in their own coun­try. Japan’s ad indus­try has­n’t only sought the par­tic­i­pa­tion of Amer­i­ca’s big-name actors, though; it’s also gone after the direc­tors. At the top, you’ll see one fea­tur­ing a film­mak­er nev­er afraid of expo­sure: Pulp Fic­tion auteur Quentin Taran­ti­no tak­ing a turn in local cos­tume (and along­side a talk­ing dog) in a com­mer­cial for Japan­ese cell phone ser­vice provider Soft­bank. Just below, we have Orson Welles, he of Cit­i­zen Kane and British frozen-peas nar­ra­tion alike, in a spot for G&G Whisky.

“I direct films and act in them,” Welles says by way of intro­duc­tion. “What we’re always try­ing for is per­fec­tion, but of course, that’s only a hope. But with G&G, you can rely on it.” It may put you in the mind of Sofia Cop­po­la’s Lost in Trans­la­tion, where­in Bill Mur­ray’s char­ac­ter famous­ly turns up in Japan to shoot a whisky com­mer­cial of his own. Mak­ers of that bev­er­age have shown quite an inter­est in the impri­matur of cin­e­ma’s lumi­nar­ies, East­ern as well as West­ern.

We’ve pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured a Sun­to­ry com­mer­cial includ­ing not just The Gofa­ther and Apoc­a­lypse Now direc­tor Fran­cis Ford Cop­po­la, but Aki­ra Kuro­sawa, the mak­er of Rashomon and Sev­en Samu­rai, known in his home­land as “the Emper­or.” It makes you won­der: do we in Amer­i­ca know our direc­tors well enough that they could sell us things? Then again, the Japan­ese did enjoy all those old Woody Allen Seibu spots when most of them still had­n’t a clue about the beloved film­mak­er’s iden­ti­ty.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Nico­las Cage, Paul New­man & Den­nis Hop­per Bring Their Amer­i­can Style to Japan­ese Com­mer­cials

Aki­ra Kuro­sawa & Fran­cis Ford Cop­po­la Star in Japan­ese Whisky Com­mer­cials (1980)

Woody Allen Lives the “Deli­cious Life” in Ear­ly-80s Japan­ese Com­mer­cials

The Best Japan­ese Com­mer­cial Ever? James Brown Sells Miso Soup

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on lit­er­a­ture, film, cities, Asia, and aes­thet­ics. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­lesA Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

Mark Twain Writes a “Gushing,” “Self-Deprecating” Wedding Announcement to His Family (1869)


I am of the rather uncon­tro­ver­sial opin­ion that any mar­riage is what any two peo­ple make of it them­selves. I’m also of the opin­ion that no mat­ter how many peo­ple may pub­licly dis­agree with that idea, in pri­vate, peo­ple make their own rules. Nonethe­less, the less out­spo­ken among us often respond to moral­ists and scolds in our lives with the live-and-let live atti­tude expressed by a char­ac­ter in E.M. Forster’s Where Angels Fear to Tread: “Let Philip say what he likes, and he will let us do what we like.”

Such pas­sive-aggres­sive arrange­ments can be alien­at­ing, an opin­ion Mark Twain seemed to hold when he announced to his fam­i­ly the upcom­ing nup­tials to his future wife of 34 years, Olivia Lang­don. In a dis­play of what Book­tryst calls “the sort of sen­ti­ment deeply appre­ci­at­ed by a prospec­tive spouse,” Twain wrote his fam­i­ly in 1869 to tell them the news, and he tried to win them over. His announce­ment is a “gush­ing, self-dep­re­cat­ing dec­la­ra­tion of intent.” One, more­over, that pre­sumes his audience’s con­trari­ness. The then 34-year-old Twain antic­i­pates and address­es what seems his family’s pri­ma­ry objec­tion to his mar­riage in gen­er­al: he details his finan­cial plans and express­es his inten­tion to pro­ceed “unaid­ed.”

Twain then mounts his best per­sua­sive case to sway his readers—Mother & Broth­er & Sis­ters & Nephew & Niece, & Margaret—in Langdon’s favor. He says that every­one who knows her “nat­u­ral­ly” loves her. He also goes so far as to say that Lang­don “set her­self the task of mak­ing a Chris­t­ian of me” and that “she would suc­ceed.” Any­one who knows Twain’s atti­tudes toward reli­gion, and Chris­tian­i­ty in par­tic­u­lar, may see some hyper­bole, or even disin­gen­u­ous­ness, here, but per­haps it’s a sin­cere expres­sion of how far he was will­ing to go for the woman who stood by his side as he lost his for­tune and hers in scheme after failed get-rich-quick scheme. As Book­tryst nice­ly puts it, “Aside from pen & paper, the only invest­ment that ever paid off for him was his effort to win the heart of Olivia Lang­don.”

Read a full tran­script of the let­ter below.

My dear Moth­er & Broth­er & Sis­ters & Nephew & Niece, & Mar­garet: 
This is to inform you that on yes­ter­day, the 4th of Feb­ru­ary, I was duly & solemn­ly & irrev­o­ca­bly engaged to be mar­ried to Miss Olivia L. Lang­don, of Elmi­ra, New York. Amen. She is the best girl in all the world, & the most sen­si­ble, & I am just as proud of her as I can be.

It may be a good while before we are mar­ried, for I am not rich enough to give her a com­fort­able home right away, & I don’t want any­body’s help. I can get an eighth of the Cleve­land Her­ald for $25,000, & have it so arranged that I can pay for it as I earn the mon­ey with my unaid­ed hands. I shall look around a lit­tle more, & if I can do no bet­ter else­where, I shall take it.
I am not wor­ry­ing about whether you will love my future wife or not—if you know her twen­ty-four hours & then don’t love her, you will accom­plish what nobody else has ever suc­ceed­ed in doing since she was born. She just nat­u­ral­ly drops into every­body’s affec­tions that comes across her. My prophe­cy was cor­rect. She said she nev­er could or would love me—but she set her­self the task of mak­ing a Chris­t­ian of me. I said she would suc­ceed, but that in the mean­time she would unwit­ting­ly dig a mat­ri­mo­ni­al pit & end up tum­bling into it—& lo! the prophe­cy is ful­filled. She was in New York a day or two ago, & George Wiley & his wife Clara know her now. Pump them, if you want to. You shall see her before very long. 
Love to all. Affec­t’­ly 
P.S. Shall be here a week.

via Book­tryst

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Mark Twain Drafts the Ulti­mate Let­ter of Com­plaint (1905)

Mark Twain Wrote the First Book Ever Writ­ten With a Type­writer

Mark Twain Shirt­less in 1883 Pho­to

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

What Ancient Greek Music Sounded Like: Hear a Reconstruction That is ‘100% Accurate’


Between 750 BC and 400 BC, the Ancient Greeks com­posed songs meant to be accom­pa­nied by the lyre, reed-pipes, and var­i­ous per­cus­sion instru­ments. More than 2,000 years lat­er, mod­ern schol­ars have final­ly fig­ured out how to recon­struct and per­form these songs with (it’s claimed) 100% accu­ra­cy.

Writ­ing on the BBC web site, Armand D’An­gour,  a musi­cian and tutor in clas­sics at Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty, notes:

[Ancient Greek] instru­ments are known from descrip­tions, paint­ings and archae­o­log­i­cal remains, which allow us to estab­lish the tim­bres and range of pitch­es they pro­duced.

And now, new rev­e­la­tions about ancient Greek music have emerged from a few dozen ancient doc­u­ments inscribed with a vocal nota­tion devised around 450 BC, con­sist­ing of alpha­bet­ic let­ters and signs placed above the vow­els of the Greek words.

The Greeks had worked out the math­e­mat­i­cal ratios of musi­cal inter­vals — an octave is 2:1, a fifth 3:2, a fourth 4:3, and so on.

The nota­tion gives an accu­rate indi­ca­tion of rel­a­tive pitch.

So what did Greek music sound like? Below you can lis­ten to David Creese, a clas­si­cist from the Uni­ver­si­ty of New­cas­tle, play­ing “an ancient Greek song tak­en from stone inscrip­tions con­struct­ed on an eight-string ‘canon’ (a zither-like instru­ment) with mov­able bridges. “The tune is cred­it­ed to Seik­i­los,” says Archae­ol­o­gy Mag­a­zine.

For more infor­ma­tion on all of this, read D’An­gour’s arti­cle over at the BBC.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Hear Homer’s Ili­ad Read in the Orig­i­nal Ancient Greek

Hear The Epic of Gil­gamesh Read in the Orig­i­nal Akka­di­an, the Lan­guage of Mesopotamia

Mod­ern Artists Show How the Ancient Greeks & Romans Made Coins, Vas­es & Arti­sanal Glass

The His­to­ry of West­ern Archi­tec­ture: From Ancient Greece to Roco­co (A Free Online Course)

What Shake­speare Sound­ed Like to Shake­speare: Recon­struct­ing the Bard’s Orig­i­nal Pro­nun­ci­a­tion

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Hear Orson Welles’ Iconic War of the Worlds Broadcast (1938)

orson welles broadcast

Image by Carl Van Vecht­en, via Wiki­me­dia Com­mons

One night in Octo­ber of 1938, lis­ten­ers tuned into CBS radio to hear a piece of radio the­ater (lis­ten below) so fright­en­ing and, for its time, real­is­tic, that peo­ple across New Eng­land and east­ern Cana­da fled their homes to escape dan­ger. Or so the leg­end goes. With Orson Welles read­ing the part of an astro­naut and pro­fes­sor, the Mer­cury The­atre on the Air’s broad­cast of War of the Worlds hit a frayed nerve in the Amer­i­can pub­lic.

The show aired dur­ing the tense years lead­ing up to World War II, when fas­cism was on the rise in Europe. Many took the “news” of an alien inva­sion for truth.  It would have been easy to be fooled: the sto­ry, adapt­ed from H.G. Wells’ ear­ly sci-fi nov­el, was writ­ten as a sim­u­lat­ed news broad­cast. It opened with an intro­duc­tion from the nov­el and a note that the adap­ta­tion was set a year ahead (1939). For those who missed that dis­claimer, the remain­der of the show was unset­tling to say the least.

A reporter read a weath­er report. Then came dance music played by a fic­ti­tious band (“Ramon Raque­l­lo and his Orches­tra”) that was inter­rupt­ed by news of bizarre explo­sions on the sur­face of Mars. Soon Orson Welles made his appear­ance, inter­viewed as an expert who denied the pos­si­bil­i­ty of any life on the red plan­et. But then came the news of a cylin­dri­cal mete­orite land­ing in north­ern New Jer­sey. A crowd gath­ered and a “reporter” came on the scene to watch the cylin­der unscrew itself and reveal a rock­et­ship inside.

Chaos ensued, fol­lowed by a Mar­t­ian inva­sion of New York City, where peo­ple ran into the East Riv­er “like rats.”

Welles offered anoth­er dis­claimer at the end of the sto­ry (when the aliens suc­cumbed to Earth’s pathogens) to remind lis­ten­ers that the broad­cast was fic­tion.

Too lit­tle, too late? Or just great the­ater?

The next day, Welles held a bril­liant news con­fer­ence where he apol­o­gized for putting a fright into lis­ten­ers. (It’s anoth­er great piece of the­ater.) Mean­while the broad­cast estab­lished the Mer­cury The­atre on the Air—already an acclaimed stage pro­duc­tion company—as one of Amer­i­ca’s top-rat­ed radio pro­grams. Until then the show had lan­guished in rel­a­tive obscu­ri­ty. After send­ing thou­sands of peo­ple into a pan­ic, the show earned adver­tis­ing spon­sor­ship from Campbell’s Soup.

Kate Rix writes about dig­i­tal media and edu­ca­tion. Fol­low her on Twit­ter.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Orson Welles Meets H.G. Wells in 1940: The Leg­ends Dis­cuss War of the Worlds, Cit­i­zen Kane, and WWII

Aldous Hux­ley Reads Dra­ma­tized Ver­sion of Brave New World

Free: Isaac Asimov’s Epic Foun­da­tion Tril­o­gy Dra­ma­tized in Clas­sic Audio

Run Vintage Video Games (From Pac-Man to E.T.) and Software in Your Web Browser, Thanks to Archive.org


Note: If you’re hav­ing dif­fi­cul­ties get­ting this soft­ware run­ning in your brows­er give Fire­fox a try. It seems to work the best.

Movies, com­mer­cials, radio shows, even books: we’ve enjoyed the abil­i­ty to effort­less­ly pull up things we remem­ber from our child­hood on the inter­net just long enough that it feels strange and uncom­fort­able when we can’t. Up until now, though, we haven’t had an easy way to re-expe­ri­ence the com­put­er soft­ware we remem­ber using in decades past. In my case, of course — and like­ly in a fair few of yours as well — I spent most of my com­put­er time in decades past play­ing games and not, say, build­ing bal­ance sheets. But whichev­er you did, the Inter­net Archive’s new­ly opened His­tor­i­cal Soft­ware Archive makes it easy to re-live those old days at the key­board with­out hav­ing to buy a vin­tage com­put­er on eBay, track down its soft­ware, remem­ber all its required com­mands and key­strokes, and hope the flop­py discs — or, heav­en help us, cas­sette tapes — boot up cor­rect­ly. They’ve made these wealth of games, appli­ca­tions, and odd­i­ties freely avail­able with the devel­op­ment of JMESS, a Javascript-pow­ered ver­sion of the Mul­ti Emu­la­tor Super Sys­tem, “a mature and breath­tak­ing­ly flex­i­ble com­put­er and con­sole emu­la­tor that has been in devel­op­ment for over a decade and a half by hun­dreds of vol­un­teers.”


They say a bit more about the tech­nol­o­gy behind all this on the Inter­net Archive Blog, and the His­tor­i­cal Soft­ware Archive’s front page offers rec­om­men­da­tions for which “ground-break­ing and his­tor­i­cal­ly impor­tant soft­ware prod­ucts” to try first, includ­ing 1.) Jor­dan Mech­n­er’s Karate­ka (top), a hot game in 1980 and the most pop­u­lar item in the archive today; 2) Sier­ra On-Line’s Mys­tery House (above), which gave rise more or less by itself to a vast genre of graph­ic adven­tures; 3) three adap­ta­tions of Nam­co’s Pac-Man (one for the Atari 2600, one remade for that same con­sole, one law­suit-induc­ing knock­off for the less­er-known Odyssey2); 4) E.T. the Extra-Ter­res­tri­al, a “1982 adven­ture video game devel­oped and pub­lished by Atari, Inc. for the Atari 2600 video game con­sole;” and 5) Dan Brick­lin and Bob Frankston’s Visi-Calc (below), the grand­dad­dy of all spread­sheet pro­grams, and arguably the sin­gle appli­ca­tion that turned com­put­ing from hob­by into neces­si­ty. Or how about 6) Word­Star, the ear­ly word pro­cess­ing pro­gram? Just click on the “Run an in-brows­er emu­la­tion of the pro­gram” link to fire up any of these and, if you’re under about 30, expe­ri­ence just what com­put­er users of the late sev­en­ties and ear­ly eight­ies had to deal with — and how much fun they had.


Relat­ed Con­tent:

How Indie Video Game Mak­ers Are Chang­ing the Game

The Great Gats­by and Wait­ing for Godot: The Video Game Edi­tions

Ancient Greek Pun­ish­ments: The Retro Video Game

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on lit­er­a­ture, film, cities, Asia, and aes­thet­ics. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­lesA Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

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