After Dark (software)

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The Flying Toasters screensaver in After Dark 2.0

After Dark is a series of computer screensaver software introduced in 1989 by Berkeley Systems for the Apple Macintosh, and for Microsoft Windows in 1991.[1][2]

Following the original, new editions were introduced including More After Dark and Before Dark, as well as editions themed around licensed properties such as Star Trek, The Simpsons, Looney Tunes and Walt Disney Company characters.[2] The screensaver modules were often noted for their intertextuality, such as the flying toasters appearing in the Fish screensaver, and the cat from Boris screensaver appearing in the Bad Dog screensaver.

As well as the included animated screensavers, it allowed the development and use of third-party modules, of which many hundreds were created by the height of After Dark's popularity.[3]

Flying Toasters[edit]

Of the screensaver modules included, the most famous is the iconic Flying Toasters which featured 1940s-style chrome toasters sporting bird-like wings, flying across the screen with pieces of toast. A slider enabled users to adjust the toast's darkness and an updated Flying Toasters Pro module added a choice of music -- Richard Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries or a flying toaster anthem with optional karaoke lyrics.[4] Yet another version called Flying Toasters! added bagels and pastries, baby toasters, and more elaborate toaster animation. The Flying Toasters were one of the key reasons why After Dark became popular, and Berkeley began to produce other merchandising products such as T-Shirts, with the Flying Toaster image and slogans such as "The 51st Flying Toaster Squadron: On a mission to save your screen!"

The toasters were the subject of two lawsuits, the first in 1993, Berkeley Systems vs Delrina Corporation, over a module of Delrina's Opus 'N Bill screensaver in which Opus the penguin shoots down the toasters. Delrina later changed the wings of the toasters to propellers in order to avoid infringing the trademark. The second case was brought in 1994 by 1960s rock group Jefferson Airplane who claimed that the toasters were a copy of the winged toasters featured on the cover of their 1973 album Thirty Seconds Over Winterland. The case was dismissed because the cover art had not been registered as a trademark by the group prior to Berkeley Systems' release of the screensaver.[5]

A 3D version of the toasters featuring swarms of toasters with airplane wings, rather than bird wings, is available for XScreenSaver.

After Dark Games and onward[edit]

An After Dark CD-ROM

Sierra Interactive and Berkeley Systems released After Dark Games for the Macintosh and Windows platforms, which contained several games modeled after their previously released screensavers. These games included Mowin' Maniac (a Pac-Man clone based on the "Mowin' Man"/"Mowin' Boris" modules), Roof Rats (similar to SameGame and variants), "Solitaire" (After Dark themed), Toaster Run (a 3D adventure game featuring several After Dark Characters, more notably the Flying Toaster), Zapper (a trivia game), Hula Girl (another 3D adventure game based on the "Hula Twins" module from After Dark 4.0), two word scramble games — Bad Dog 911 (based on the "Bad Dog" modules) and Fish Shtix (based on the "Fish" modules, mainly "Fish World"), Foggy Boxes (a connect the boxes type game based on the "Messages 4.0" module), MooShu tiles (a Mahjong-like game featuring many After Dark characters throughout the years), and Rodger Dodger.[6] "Rodger Dodger" had been a module several years earlier, but also a playable game inside the module. Not much was changed from the module, except some of the music and most of the level set-ups. Many[who?] fans liked the games, but some[who?] felt it lacked games based on more fitting modules, such as "Daredevil Dan", "Lunatic Fringe" (which was a game inside its module, like "Rodger Dodger"), and the After Dark re-working of "Rock, Paper Scissors" (also a game inside its module).

In 1997, Berkeley Systems was acquired by the Sierra On-Line division of CUC International.[7] Joan Blades and Wes Boyd, the founders of Berkeley Systems, went on to create MoveOn.org.

Fans have made modern versions of several of the screensavers in the years since. An official version of After Dark was released for Mac OS X by Infinisys Ltd (of Japan) in May 2003.[8] It has yet to be converted to Universal binary, so at the current moment it can only be run on PowerPC computers with OS X.

Sierra released a Flying Toaster video game for cell phones in 2006.[9]

Modules[edit]

Module NameDescription
Starry NightThe original After Dark screen saver, featuring a pixelated city skyline under a night sky
Aquatic RealmUnderwater world of fish with a black background
ArtistA digital artist applies artistic touches to images in a slow manner so one can see the artist work
Bad DogPopular module featuring a white dog with a black ring around one of his eyes, causing trouble on the desktop
BogglinsGreen slime creatures are formed and make obnoxious noises
BorisThe opposite of Bad Dog, a good cat plays on the desktop and chases butterflies
BugsDigital bugs crawl across the screen
BulgeExpands portions of the screen, making the screen appear to have a "bulge"
Bungee RouletteVarious characters bungee-jump from the top of the screen, but occasionally the bungee cord breaks
Can of Worms"Worms" emerge from the screen and crawl around
ChameleonChameleons walk across the screen, changing colors and eating icons
ClocksDifferent objects appear as a clock and move around
Coming Soon!A salesperson pitches fictitious "products"
Confetti FactoryConfetti falls from the top of the screen and onto conveyor belts below
Daredevil DanA daredevil motorcyclist attempts dangerous jumps over school buses, flames, and piranha tanks
DominoesA game of dominoes is played on the screen
DOS ShellA mock DOS shell is run on the screen, reliving earlier days of computing
DotsA game of "dots" is played on the screen
Down the DrainThe desktop appears to spiral down a drain
EinsteinComplex mathematical and scientific equations are performed on the screen
Fade AwayThe desktop fades away in different ways
Fish ProFish module similar to Aquatic Realm
Floating Suns **Displays the Phoenix Suns basketball team's logos floating around the screen
FlocksDisplays flocks of various creatures on the screen
Flying ToastersClassic module featuring flying toasters
Flying Toasters ProUpdated version that allows one to select more than flying toasters and also has music
Flying ToiletsLike Flying Toasters, but with toilets
Fractal ForestA forest of trees is generated on the screen
FrankenScreenA digital Frankenstein creates creatures out of various parts
Frost and FireProduces patterns similar to splattering paint on paper
GeoBounceA geometrical figure bounces around the screen
GlobeTakes an image and wraps it around a sphere, then spins like a globe
Graph StatDraws scientific and mathematical graphs on the screen
GravityCircles bounce around the screen
GutsGravity simulation
Hall of MirrorsReflects parts of the screen in an infinite mirror style
HallucinationsThe computer "hallucinates"
Hard RainRain falls onto the desktop
LasersLasers create patterns on the screen
LogoUser-supplied image moves randomly on screen
Lunatic FringeA playable space shooter game within a module
MagicCreates soothing patterns
MandelbrotGenerates a mathematically created Mandelbrot set
MarblesMarbles bounce around the screen
MeadowA computer-generated meadow
Message MayhemA figure on the screen scrawls out a message
MessagesDisplays a crawling marquee message on the screen with selectable font and text colors
Mike's So-called LifeFeatures a man named Mike, living in his apartment and doing nothing exciting
Mime HuntA playable module that features a mime and cross-hairs
Modern ArtModern Art displayed on the screen
MondrianInverts parts of the screen
MosaicCreates a mosaic of the screen
MountainsGenerates 3-D mountains
Mowin' BorisMowin' Man mows a field with Boris the cat around. When Mowin' Man runs over Boris, blood and guts appear
Mowin' ManA man mows a constantly growing field
NirvanaGenerates colorful textures
NocturnesShows the eyes of various nocturnal creatures, such as bats
NonsenseNonsensical phrases are displayed on the screen
Om AppliancesVarious appliances do weird things on the screen
OrigamiComputer-generated origami appears on the screen
PatternAnimated patterns appear on the screen
PearlAn optical effect featuring squares
PenrosePenrose tiling effect
Phlegm BoyAn obnoxious slimy creature is disgusting and displays bad habits
PhotonComputer-generated particles of light are emitted from the darkness
PlasmaPlasma-like image generated
Punch OutRound holes appear to be punched out of the desktop
PuzzleThe desktop becomes a sliding puzzle
RainColorful raindrops fall on the desktop
RainstormLike the Rain module, but with wind and lightning
Rainy Day **Rain drops on your screen. User can select how fast they fall and how strong the wind is.
Rat RaceA race featuring three rats with names, mindlessly wandering around the track until there is a winner
ReboundBalls rebound around the screen
RoseMathematical pattern based on trigonometry
SatoriColor animated light show
Say What?Displays humorous phrases
Scrubbing Bubbles **Displays multiple Scrubbing Bubbles (Dow Brands) floating around the screen
Scrubbing Bubbles II **Displays multiple Scrubbing Bubbles (Dow Brands) "scrubbing" the screen and going down the drain
ShapesFills the screen with colorful, geometric shapes
Shock ClocksScary creatures are turned into clocks
Shooting Spree **The desktop appears to be shot up by a gun. User can select which gun to use.
Sinkhole **The desktop appears to fall into sinkholes
Slide ShowA basic slide show of user-supplied images
SnakeA pixelated snake tries to find its way through a maze
SpheresA number of spheres fill the screen
Spin BrushSmears points on the screen like wet paper
Spiral GyroVector module that twists lines
SpotlightThe desktop becomes black and parts are "illuminated" by a randomly moving light spot
SquigwigGenerates mathematical circles
Stained GlassProduces quilt-like patterns
Steam Rollin' **Displays a guy driving around squishing toys, snakes and babies. (A take-off on the Mowin' Man module.)
Stormy NightRandom lightning bolts, with thunderclap sounds
Strange AttractorComputer-generated color image
String TheoryMoire patterns
SunburstColor pattern that appears to come from the Sun
Swan LakeSwans swim around the desktop
This Ol' House **Someone appears to be working on the desktop from the other side with power saws
Toxic SwampLike Aquatic Realm, but in a toxic polluted swamp with mutated fish and a mob boss
TunnelMakes the screen appear to be a tunnel
Use Your Own! **Displays multiple images of the users choice moving around the screen
VertigoColorful spirals drawn on the screen
VoyeurOne appears to be spying on an apartment complex with a big city skyline in the background
WarpOne appears to be traveling among stars at high speed
Window Blinds **Desktop is separated into columns and then each one turns like a window blind
Wrap AroundDraws three-dimensional loops
Wrecking Ball **A wrecking ball appears to demolish the desktop
You Bet Your HeadPlayable quiz game featuring three colored "heads" that are smashed by a hammer if one supplies the wrong answer to a question
Zoom!Creates colorful triangular tubes
ZotAttempts to generate lightning

References[edit]

  1. ^ Greg Shultz (April 14, 2011). "Flying Toasters - A look back at After Dark for Windows 1.0". TechRepublic. 
  2. ^ a b "Aggressively Stupid: The Story Behind After Dark". Lowendmac.com. Archived from the original on 11 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  3. ^ "On Mighty Toaster Wings: More After Dark History". Lowendmac.com. Archived from the original on 11 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  4. ^ "AfterDark Deluxe — Review". Mymac.com. Archived from the original on 2010-01-07. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  5. ^ Another Poppin' Fresh Lawsuit By Lance Rose, Issue 2.10 (Oct 1994)wired.com
  6. ^ After Dark Games MobyGames
  7. ^ Berkeley Systems Acquired by CUC Wired.com
  8. ^ "Press Release : Infinisys Releases After Dark X+Fish for Mac OS X". En.infinisys.co.jp. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  9. ^ GameSpot (2006-05-19). "Vivendi Universal Games Mobile Announces Six New Titles". Gamespot.com. Retrieved 2010-03-18. [dead link]

Further reading[edit]

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