PixelPlex - Motion Graphics, Visual Effects, and 3D Animation in San Diego

Apple II Plus to Dell Precision T7910

San Diego, CA

I just purchased a shiny new workstation – the Dell Precision T7910. I also recently found and purchased my first childhood computer, the Apple II Plus.


I thought it would be fun to take a side-by-side photo of these two machines, separated by 30+ years of technological development (not to mention the great Apple / PC divide). It’s obvious why I bought the Dell workstation. I need it to expand my capabilities and increase my throughput as a motion graphics designer, visual effects artist, and 3D animator. But why did I buy the Apple II Plus?

A couple of years ago, as I contemplated switching careers from electrical engineering to motion graphics, I thought about the time my Dad brought home our first computer when I was about six years old. I reminisced about how my Mom thought it would be a good idea for me to spend my summers as a child learning how to program in BASIC at the local adult learning center (nerd alert!). In the early 1980s, the movies Tron and War Games came out. I thought it was awesome that computer geeks were the heroes in these films, which really fueled my interest in computers. So much so that I even wrote a BASIC program to mimic the graphics in War Games. In this program, you have to log in as FALKEN using the password JOSHUA, at which point you can play GLOBAL THERMONUCLEAR WAR (if you don’t get these references, you’ll just have to watch War Games). You can then choose to be either the USA or the Soviet Union and select target cities for a nuclear strike. Next the program draws maps and animates missile trajectories and explosions just like in the movie (admittedly a little morbid in retrospect, but they were just pixels to me). I spent countless hours developing this program, and no one ever saw it except me. I did it for the sheer joy of seeing something visually exciting come out of my hard work. Without realizing it, I had created my first motion graphics as a child on the Apple II Plus.

Fast forward about 30 years: I’m now channeling that same passion for graphics into a second career with PixelPlex. When I saw the opportunity to purchase my childhood computer on eBay, I did it mostly out of nostalgia, but also because I’ve convinced myself that I’ve saved my old 5.25″ floppy disks somewhere, and I hope to one day resurrect my War Games masterpiece. The search continues at my house and my parents’ house for my precious floppies. Stay tuned for a future post where I will hopefully be able to share my War Games motion graphics for the first time, 30 years after I created them.

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