A Blast From the Past: Nostalgic programs from 2012 and prior

Accessibility, Technology
Shane from Supersense
3 minutes reading time
December 13, 2020

One of the first things people realize about me is that I’m pretty old school for a young guy. I use Microsoft Office 2007, I have an iPhone 7, and I am not subscribed to a single streaming service. I am modernizing as time passes, but some old software will forever stick in my memory and some programs still stick in my hard drive. If you are feeling nostalgic and looking for a trip down memory lane where old school computer games and legacy software reside, here are some of my favorites.

an old computer in front of a white wall
Photo by Federica Galli on Unsplash

Q9 Action Game

One of the vintage games, because I’m a huge gamer, is the Q9 Action Game. Q9 is an audio game, meaning the interface is completely based on sound, and it was one of the hottest releases in 2009. Developed by Blastbay Studios, Q9 placed you in the role of an alien whose starship crashed on a mysterious world. You had to fight your way through 16 levels of hostile creatures, avoiding traps all the while, and I spent hundreds of hours behind my keyboard playing this game. Several people documented much of their time playing Q9; you can find plenty of playthrough series on Youtube if you are so inclined. Unfortunately, the game is no longer distributed by Blastbay Studios. According to their website, In 2015, Q9 was sold to the developer of the leasey system for the JAWS for Windows screen reader and is no longer available for direct purchase or download. However, if you are truly dedicated, you can obtain a copy of Q9 by purchasing the leasey package.

Three-D Velocity

If you’re interested in a classic game you can still play, I have recommendations for days, but far and away, one of my favorites is Three-D Velocity. The flagship project by BPC Programs, TDV, was a tremendously innovative and popular flight simulator for the blind. The game features a riveting storyline in which you play a fighter pilot on a suicide mission to bring down a cloning operation that threatens the entire world. You have to tangle with other aircraft, tanks on the ground, and a plethora of other defenses out for your blood. The game became open source a couple of years ago, meaning that it is free software now and is still playable. In fact, there is now a multiplayer version where you can put your combat skills to the test against your friends.

For a time, I worked as a beta tester for BPC Programs, and those were some of the most exciting months in my gaming life. We covered everything from the training mode to multiplayer deathmatch, and I particularly remember a testing session in which I fought the game’s developer head to head. Obviously, I won! If you want to find and play Three-D Velocity, you still can! Check out their GitHub page here.

Windows Notepad

Games are not the only nostalgic computer programs out there. Notepad is another piece legacy software, the classic text editor that is still in Windows, though it hasn’t needed active development for many years. Notepad is simple, fast, and perfect for what it does. I use Notepad regularly to keep my notes and scheduling information. No Google Calendar for me! I also know several people who use Notepad in favor of Microsoft Office, though I can’t say I’m on that level. If you’ve lost Notepad, you can take back your efficiency here by searching for Notepad on the Microsoft store or downloading the more powerful Notepad ++ here.

Honestly, this is just the beginning of the list of old school computer programs I still enjoy. You know they’re old school when they’re called programs instead of apps!

In a world where Adobe Flash has been discontinued, and support for apps like Notepad could be discontinued on later releases of Windows, it’s important to remember the incredible applications we used to have. The days of emailing the developers when things went wrong and sharing .exe files are starting to fall behind us, and if you’re like me and still hold a place in your heart for this kind of computer culture, maybe give yourself a bit of time during this holiday quarantine to break out some classic software and remember the glory days.

An illustration of a smartphone

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