Digital Foundry: This is fascinating! Not only has Nvidia RTX tech been brought to bear on Quake 2, but the entire renderer has been rewritten with full path-tracing. In short, not just reflections, shadows or lighting – but EVERYTHING is rendered here with ray tracing. So how well does it run and how does it look? Join John and Alex for a detailed discussion.
Released in 1997, this laptop was a multimedia powerhouse packed full of the latest tech.
Background music by Metal Jesus Rocks and Ethan Meixsell
ENGLISH Video Transcription:
– Hey guys, Metal Jesus here. Now today we’re gonna take a look at the Compaq Presario 1611 laptop. Back in 1997, this thing would’ve set you back about $2800 or $4300 in today’s dollars. This thing was packed with features. So today we’re gonna take a look at what’s included with the laptop, some of its quirks, and we’re gonna play some games. Let’s take a look. We’re gonna start by taking a look at the outside of the laptop and some of its quirks. And right off the bat I have to say it’s actually not an ugly laptop. I mean, yes, it’s 20 years old, but it’s not obscenely large, at least in my eyes. Although the dimensions for it are 12 inches by 10 inches. Now it is thick, it is almost two inches thick. And it’s funny because we’ve come such a long way with portable devices. I mean, it’s funny because the screen is actually almost double the thickness of a modern-day iPad. Isn’t that crazy how far we’ve come? I mean, when you see the iPad next to this machine, it’s like wow, I mean, it’s pretty incredible. Looking at the top of the laptop I was immediately struck by these buttons on the spine here, these multimedia buttons with that little display. This is something that I don’t think was really common back in the day, at least I don’t remember it. And you definitely don’t see it today. At first, I didn’t quite know what this was for. And well, it turns out this is actually designed to allow you to play music without having to power on the laptop. So what you do is hit this little button here, it says DisqPlay and that provides power to the drive as well as this display here and also your speakers. And then you can pop in your favorite audio CD and you can use it as a CD player. And I have to say, I’m really impressed with the sound from this laptop. I mean, it sounds great. Another feature of this that I had completely forgotten about were these latches here on the top of the lid. These were designed to secure the screen and lid onto the laptop, which again, by today’s standards seems kind of weird. I don’t know why they needed to do this at the time, but I guess it was just designed to be more secure. Either way, it’s kind of weird because you can’t just use one hand to open the laptop, you actually have to use two of them. Not annoying but it’s a little bit of a quirk.
Now let’s move to the right side of the laptop and you see three holes right there. Again, another little quirk of this is that it really is a multimedia laptop, because you have a headphone jack, but you also have a line out, so you could actually send this to your home stereo if you wanted to or say, external speakers. And then you also have a line in, so again, you could record your voice, you could record audio. It was all built right into the side of this device. And of course, you have a proper optical drive. For this particular laptop here we have a CD drive. Now it was optional to get a DVD drive at the time, although, I suspect that that would add, probably $50 to $100 to the price, I’m guessing. To the right there is something you definitely don’t see very much anymore. But back in the day it was used quite a bit on laptops. And that is a PC card slot. So this particular laptop actually can take two of them, which is very cool. And this is where you would expand the ability of what your laptop could do. So for instance, you could get a Compaq flashcard reader or you could get a network adapter or maybe a firewire adapter. Later on you would get wifi cards. And then you would slide them in here and if you had the drivers for it, your laptop could do that. And I always thought that the way that these things work were just kind of weird, because you would assume you could just like push on it and it would spring out. But that’s not how this works. You actually have these little tabs and you have to use your fingernail and dig them out and then you can push it in and that pops the card out. It’s, I mean it’s very sturdy, but it’s also really weird.
Looking at the back of the laptop, again, I’m blown away by how many options you have back here. It’s almost like a full-blown PC. To start off with, you can plug in an external keyboard and mouse. To the right of that is the printer port. And then you have the port replicator connector. So this is where you could go to Compaq and get a docking station for this. And it was really designed for people who traveled a lot. So let’s say you’re on the road, you have your laptop and then you bring it back and you have what’s comfortable sitting on your desk. So you would have an external keyboard, mouse, maybe even speakers, definitely monitor, a printer, all that stuff, setup on this dock and you just simply slide your laptop in there and just have instant access to it. To the right of it is the fan. Then you have the serial port as well as a VGA outport, which we’re gonna take a look at in a bit. You also have a couple USB ports. There is the power and at the very end there is the security slot. Moving around to the left side you see a modem out, which is really nice. Again, this is a fully-featured laptop, so at that time, you would definitely want to be doing dial-up to say AOL or CompuServe. And then, check that out! That’s a port you don’t see very often, well, anymore. That is a 3.5 inch floppy drive. So yes, this laptop had support for both CDs and floppy drives, which was very typical of the late nineties because everything was switching over. And then to the right of that you have the battery, which is sadly, long since dead. But what’s interesting about this is that the door is actually built onto the battery. So it doesn’t actually come off. You push your fingers down and then slide the battery out and then you would pop in a new one, if you had it. And then, notice that hole there at the front, and it’s actually on both sides. Well, that is the bass port for the speaker. So unlike a lot of laptops where sound and audio quality is kind of like, something that they just don’t care about, this one, they do care about that. So that’s there to basically make the bass sound even better.
Flipping it over to its bottom, you see that it has these two little feet here, which I always thought was kind of weird, because you’re supposed to be able to flip these out and then get a little bit of height on the back of the laptop, but that never really felt ergonomic to me. And I don’t know if laptops today still have them, mine don’t. But it was definitely a thing that they did back then. And then here’s where you gain access to the RAM or memory expansion, as it’s printed there. And this particular laptop came with 32 megs of RAM, which, I think at the time, was a fairly decent amount. Although this one, as you see here, can be expanded to 96 megabytes, which is something I should probably consider if I’m gonna use this going forward. Because as you see when we get into Windows, it could probably use it. All right, enough of the outside. Let’s go ahead and fire this sucker up. And as you see here, it comes with Windows 98. The classic Windows 98. And it is hilarious how slow this thing boots up. So as you see here, I timed it with my phone and it takes a full one minute and 55 seconds from a cold boot, to get into Windows and the start menu. It is shockingly long. Now I know that two minutes may not seem like a long time to boot up, but trust me, when you’re sitting there waiting, oh man, it feels like forever.
Like I mentioned, this is a pretty decently powered laptop for the time. So here are some of its specs. Here we have a 12.1 inch display that runs at 800 by 600 resolution but it can go higher, if you attach a external VGA monitor. This has a 200 megahertz Intel Pentium Processor with MMX technology. Now MMX technology didn’t last for a long time but basically that was Intel’s multimedia extensions that they originally added to their processors. So we’re gonna test some of that with games in a bit. Now the hard drive is actually pretty beefy, at least in my opinion, for a laptop of its day. This one here has a 2.1 gigabyte hard drive in there. Although it’s pretty funny, because when I first booted it up, it had like seven megabytes free. Yeah, it was packed full so I had to delete some stuff. Now the graphics chip in here, I was not familiar with. So this thing is called the Neomagic MagicGraph 128XD. And I did a bit of research and what I could find is that it’s a 128-bit graphics chip with only two megabytes of video memory, which, you know, isn’t great by today’s standards, but it does support 2D playback and also 3D graphics, probably used in the Intel MMX technology a little bit there as well as supports full motion playback via MPEG. Let’s go ahead and run some stuff. Now, right off the bat though, this display is not great. I suspect, at the time, it was probably the best you could do, but as you can see, the ghosting on this and the refresh rate is just uh. It’s not great. I mean, you can use it, for sure, butman it’s blurry and painful to look at.
And I’m kind of curious how games are gonna look on this. So let’s go ahead and pop in Doom 2 on floppy disk, just because I can. I just thought that was so cool. So let’s go ahead and install Doom 2, we configure it. Seems like it’s detecting the sound card, but as you can see here, when we run it, oh man, it’s dark, it’s so dark, so blurry. Now I am able to mess with the contrast and the brightness to at least make this playable. But as you can see, it’s not great. The other thing I noticed immediately is that for some reason, I wasn’t getting any digital audio. So there’s no shotgun sounds for some reason. And I actually went into settings a couple times to figure out what the issue is. For those of you that are old-school gamers like me, you know that this is almost always an IRQ conflict. And I tried choosing two, five, and seven. It’s supposed to be on five, but for whatever reason it just could never work. And then I got to thinking, I’m like, oh, well, you know you forget that in Windows 95 you can actually go to DOS mode, like pure DOS mode. So that’s what I did. I exit out of Windows, went into DOS mode, and look, it works perfectly. So as far as sound card support in Windows 98, there may be a driver update that I need to get and I’ll look into that in the future. Next I want to check out a pure Windows game and see how that performs on this machine.
I happen to have a copy of Sierra’s 3D Ultra Pinball, installed that and it worked flawlessly out of the gate. Sound works, everything works fine, although, not really surprised, because again, this is not the most complicated game. And as you can see, it’s still kind of blurry, but it’s definitely playable. And then just for giggles, to test out the 3D aspect of this laptop, I thought I’d pop in the original Half-Life. This is the original version, the original release of Half-Life, no patches, no nothing. Installed it on here hoping that it would work and I was getting sound and probably, what, one frame per second. Maybe five frames per second. I even tried switching over to direct 3D and that was just worse. Again, not a total surprise for a laptop of this day, but yeah, not gonna be playing that anytime soon. Now let’s go ahead and check out some games, running with the video out.
Here is the original Quake and look at that. I’m always blown away by just how well Quake runs in software mode. It’s amazing. I mean, yes, there’s a couple little hiccups here and there, but man, I mean, this is running great. Here is the original Fallout and no surprise, it’s also running really well too. And that’s to be expected, because Fallout is not a 3D game, it only has 2D sprites and there is a little bit of screen tearing here and there but this is definitely playable. Here is Shadow Warrior. You no mess with Lo Wang. So this is using the Duke 3D engine and as you can see here, not running as good as Quake but still pretty decent. And then here’s a game called Firefight from EA. Somewhat of a hidden gem, kind of forgotten shooter game back in the day. Definitely one of my favorites. And it’s running okay on this laptop, but as you can see, it’s struggling. I think there’s a little bit too much screen tear here, but it’s still playable.
All right guys, well that’s a quick look at the Compaq Presario 1611 laptop. I wanna give a quick shout out to my buddy Drunken Master Paul, who donated this to my channel. Thank you very much man. Also too, I know that there’s not a lot of nostalgia for these type of devices, however, I do think that there is something about going back in the past and taking a look at the evolution of the PC. So much was changing so fast, especially with laptops. And so I would love to know if you guys liked this video. Please post a comment down below. Also, if there are other devices back in the past, either PC or Mac or whatever, let me know if you’d like me to cover them on my YouTube channel because I think that would be pretty cool. All right guys, thank you very much for watching, thank you for subscribing, and take care. Also at the end here, I want to do a huge shout out to fellow YouTuber Doug Demuro. He is a guy who does videos about quirks on old exotic sports cars and I’ve been a huge fan of his channel for a long time now and I thought it would be kind of fun to apply that to old PCs and computers. So if you haven’t seen his channel, definitely check it out, it’s a great, great channel. All right guys, thank you so much for watching. Have an awesome day.
A behind the scenes tour of RE-PC in Tukwila, Wa (south Seattle) which specializes in recycled computers & peripherals…but also secretly has a warehouse of extremely rare & uncommon gems!
** DISCLAIMER : This was NOT a sponsored video. I just think this store is cool and if you come to the Seattle area, check out their two locations **
BUY Al Lowe’s SIERRA collection: https://www.ebay.com/usr/al_lowe – He’ll be posting more unique items in the coming days and weeks!
We went through so many boxes, uncovering games I’ve only seen online, he showed us hint books he has written, accolades and awards he’s received and so much more.
– – Hey you guys, Metal Jesus here and I’m back again with Drunken Master Paul. – And I’m so excited to be here today, because, and I really can’t believe I’m saying this, we’re at Al Lowe’s house, yes, that Al Lowe, my favorite designer from our Sierra days, Al Lowe and we’re gonna go through some of his stuff, he’s gonna show us some things he’s had in his collection for 800,000 years and not only that, rumor has it, he’s selling some of this stuff, yes, that’s right, some of Al Lowe’s prized possessions are going up on auction for you guys, I’m so excited. – I know, this is gonna be amazing, let’s take a look. – Hi, I’m Al Lowe and for 16 years, I designed and wrote and programmed and coded music and various other things for Sierra On-Line back in the 1980s and ’90s, so I started in 1982, I was employee number 20 and by the time I left, Sierra had about 1,200 employees. I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane, while I walk through my attic and find some things that nobody has seen, including me in 30 years. –
[Metal Jesus] Now while we were primarily there to help document the cool stuff in Al’s collection, he also wanted us to help him gauge just what memorabilia he had, that would be of interest to collectors like us. – This is my box full of archival copies of the source code and the original artwork and everything from the Larry games, this is one and two, you can see it got much bigger for Larry three and I even got Larry five to fit in two boxes and the VGA version of Larry one, which came out at the same time as these. So this is all the original stuff and I backed everything up, because I knew that Sierra didn’t and I thought if something happened in the future and I needed to go back and refer to the original code, so everything is in these disks, I believe to make a game, if you had the right tools. A lot of the stuff, a lot of the things that we wrote were in regular text files, so they’re certainly readable nowadays. Here’s what I’ve got in here and it says, oh, there’s a, oh, look at that, I could zip then, this is a later version, than I stuck in here, ’cause that zip wasn’t around back in those days and that’s the latest version, so that’s the one we, I think that’s the master disk, I would suspect. Oh, yeah, Ship Master, that would be the shipping master, so this is the one that I built the game on, this is the master and here’s the source code and what’s that say? – Words and objects. – [Al] Words and objects, yeah and Views was our name for animation, why we called it Views, I have no idea, but you’ve got to remember, we were inventing vocabulary as we invented the games, nobody knew what you call, like our background art was always, instead of a screen or background, it was called a Pic, so you had Pic and you had Views and there’s the Pics and the Sounds and the Sound source code and that’s clearly dated, look at that, June of ’87. –
[Metal Jesus] As we were going through some of his disks, I was kind of surprised to see King’s Quest three there. It says King’s Quest three. – Yeah, it’s the source code. – [Metal Jesus] This is the source code for King’s Quest three? – Yeah, the original source code. – [Metal Jesus] Okay, so my guess is, that this might be of value. – It’s the only copy on Earth. – Yeah. – I guarantee it. – Okay, so– – That, ’cause nobody at Sierra ever bothered to keep track of anything. – [Metal Jesus] What’s BC? – Black Cauldron. – [Metal Jesus] Oh, the Disney game. – The Al Lowe game. – [Metal Jesus] Okay, so and then, do you think this is Police Quest here? – Disney didn’t have anything to do with it, other than– – Well, I– – I used their backdrops. – [Metal Jesus] It was a licensed Disney game, right? – Yes. – Yeah. – [Metal Jesus] I love the fact that you put Al Lowe above Disney, as it should be. – Yeah, I’m not– – It’s an Al Lowe game and Disney kind of– – Yeah, it really was. –
[Metal Jesus] I always forget that Al Lowe programmed and created one of the very first Winnie The Pooh games. – Oh, here. – [Metal Jesus] Okay, so you actually– – You may not be able to read these, I think this was done, does it say what it is there? – [Metal Jesus] Yeah, it does, I mean, it looks like you’ve labeled all the disks, so latest versions, but then you have, so you’ve broken the game out into a bunch of different like– – And I saved it onto Disney disks, because we had too many of them, I guess. – [Metal Jesus] And here was a mystery box he wasn’t 100% sure what exactly was in here, he hadn’t opened it in three decades. – Oh, no, this is all the utilities it takes to make it. Oh, my gosh, look at that, oh, there’s a game disk, latest version and right protected. – Yeah. – Yeah, that’s the master, I guess, I would think that’s the master. Here’s the pictures that we used on ’em, this is the OrcaM was the compiler that I used, so there were objects and text and Apple PicDraw was a program, that Sierra used to draw graphics on the screen and I made my game pictures fit that, because it already existed, I didn’t have to rewrite that. – [Metal Jesus] I’ve never seen this before, this is, it says Sierra On-Line on it. – This is the cult classic, Troll’s Tale. – [Metal Jesus]Okay. – For the Apple two, I think and it was the third game I wrote, it used the same engine, this is how geek I was, man, when I started, I thought, well, I’m gonna do more than one adventure game like this, so I’ll create an engine and a database manager, so I can just type in multiple games and have them write themselves. – [Metal Jesus] Oh, interesting. – So I actually created the tools first and then wrote the games with the tools. –
Okay, so– – This is extremely rare, this is a game nobody’s seen. – Let me tell you that– – Have you seen it? – [Metal Jesus] No, there’s a bit of a debate, ’cause I took a picture of this, shared it on Facebook and people are like, no, no, no, that’s The Dark Crystal, I’m like– – No, no, it uses the same graphics as The Dark Crystal, we didn’t have to redraw their pictures, but I made the game using that interpreter, that I was telling you about, that I built, so that it was multiple choice questions for little kids. But here, look at the pictures on the back, see. – [Metal Jesus] Yeah, this is extremely rare, Gelfling Adventure, yeah. – Yeah, the characters in The Dark Crystal were gelflings, but see, we shipped it with a map. –
This is the first game you ever did ever? – This is the first game – Ever, ever, ever? – I ever did and this is the packaging that we used, this is a genuine plastic baggy from the Bradley Bag Company of Los Angeles, we had to order those. – Wow! – Ah-huh, and that’s a piece of index card stock, that we folded in half and it just was made to fit right inside it and we also had pre-print postcards inside there, – Amazing. – and the floppy disk, that we copied ourselves on my neighbor’s pool table. – So this is– – We set up an Apple two, opened the lid of it, blew an electric fan at it and put in five disk drive cards and pairs of disk drives, so as fast as we could move the disks into the drives, – Wow! – the first one was copied and we took ’em out, so we ended up producing hundreds of games in one evening – Wow. – on my friend’s table. – So this is the original packaging? You didn’t just build, the stapling. – It’s the original package sheen. – Wow, can I take it out? – I don’t know, you’ll let out the factory air. – Oh, no. I’m full of factory air, trust me on that, I’d be happy to put some back in. – Yeah, no, we sold these out of our house and in fact I think my home address is on there, yeah, see down here? 5815, is that it? Yeah, East Parkside Drive. – Wow, this is stunning, I mean, these are the very first games, that Al Lowe ever programmed and you’re letting these go, right? – These are pre-Sierra. – Pre-Sierra games. – Yeah. Actually when Ken – Amazing. – and Roberta saw these games at a trade show, that’s when my relationship with Sierra started was we were selling these little bags, but yeah, these two are from Sunnyside Soft, – Wow. – that was our company in Sunnyside, Fresno. – Amazing.
This is Sierra On-Line Incorporated Softporn and when I think of soft porn, I think of Al Lowe, so– – What? – Yeah, we all have our fantasies. So tell me about Softporn. – I think of Showtime usually or Cinemax. – I don’t pay attention. – [Al] But this was a game that Chuck Benton wrote, so somebody said, well, we need a cover shot, Ken’s got a hot tub, well, let’s pose in the hot tub, – Okay. – and so we’ll get some good looking women, – Okay. – [Al] and get ’em in the hot tub and we’ll get the guy, who’s the waiter down at the local restaurant, ’cause he had a tuxedo, well, that didn’t hurt sales at all. – No. – Yeah, ah-huh, and legend has it that one of those women was Roberta Williams, who later went on to great fame and fortune as a game designer and we’ll always swear, that nobody got a picture, that showed anything. – Oh, that’s fantastic. – Yeah, the funny part of the game is that there’s not really much dirty in it, other than the goal, I mean, the goal is you’re a virgin and you’re trying to lose your virginity. –
[Metal Jesus] We went through so many boxes uncovering games I’ve only seen online, he showed me hint books that he’s written, accolades and awards he’s received and so much more and then towards the end of the day, the collector and fanboy in me, he just came out and I ended up buying all the Larry games, that I was missing from my collection and then I got him to sign ’em. – And now my son, go in peace. – He completes my Larry collection. – I make you complete. – More than you know, thank you so much, man. – Oh, you’re welcome. – This was so much fun. – This was a great afternoon, what a way to spend an afternoon. – I know, I know, so cool.
Alright, guys, that’s a quick look at Al Lowe’s amazing collection. – That was so cool, I can’t believe some of the things that man still has around, that’s awesome. – I know, thank you very much, Al for inviting us into your home and showing us your cool stuff. – Really appreciate that and we’re gonna put a link to his auctions in the Comments and it’s not just this stuff, that we showed you, actually he’s going through his entire attic, – Oh, yeah. – his entire collection, – It’s amazing. – and he’s just kind of clearing some things out and would really like it to go to a good home, so by all means, check that out and go get some of this stuff, you’ll never find it anywhere else and it’s Al Lowe! – I know, so cool, right. Right, love to know what you guys think down in the comments below, please let us know if you’d like to see more of these, ’cause there are more Sierra developers in the area. – Yeah, they’re lurking around and we know where to find ’em. – That’s right, alright, guys, thank you very much for watching, thank you for subscribing and take care.
This is a video I’ve been wanting to do for a while now, because these discs were more than just a compilation of game demos, but they were an actual experience!
PC Gamer magazine really took the time to make each one special and an experience. Plus…Coconut Monkey!!