6 Hilarious X-Rated Artifacts From Early Computers
Thanks to the internet, you're always only a couple of mouse clicks or screen taps away from your porniest desire, and ... we just lost half our readers by reminding you of that, didn't we? It's OK, we understand. After all, it was not that long ago that humanity had to resort to insanely elaborate or plain ridiculous methods just to do something as natural as looking at naked people on a computer screen. Methods like ...
(Oh, fair warning: It's probably best to assume that every link in this article is NSFW.)
Europe Was Broadcasting Pixel Porn Into TVs Way Before The Internet
Like Al Pacino, they're now caricatures of themselves. But back in the day, these colorful sex ads actually got people hot, bothered, and ready to spend lots of money:
They had something for all tastes -- young, old, fish mutant, etc.
It was called Teletext, and it was a product of the '70s and '80s (if the color scheme wasn't enough of an indicator). If you had the required decoder on your TV, you could receive text and text art over unused television spectrum -- it's how closed captioning works, basically. However, the most efficient use of this amazing technology was, of course, the advertising of boner-causing services. In Europe (especially Germany, as you may have guessed), Teletext ran shitloads of advertisements for phone sex hotlines apparently staffed by Sierra game characters. The flashing, colorful light pixels conjured up images of vaguely female sex partners while presumably killing every lonely epileptic in the continent.
And yes, they actually worked. Real people saw those things and said, "Holy crap, gotta get me some of that blocky action."
There were also non-sex-related messages, like these innocent shoe ads.
All of this was going on a full ten years before the World Wide Web became a thing, which is quite impressive. Even more interesting is the degree to which Teletext has not changed in the years since its birth. Although most major broadcasters have dropped the system, since it's not compatible with digital television, there are still people using it. And the sex ads look exactly as they did in 1983. So if you have any older European relatives who refuse to get rid of their archaic TVs, well, you may have now learned more about them than you ever wanted to.
Future Sex Was The Cyberpunk Playboy That No One Wanted
Before the internet trained us to become aroused by pixels, porn used to come in magazine form ... and it was awful, you guys. Aside from the obvious holding the magazine / touching your junk conundrum, the contents were often so seedy that buying an issue would usually net you a bountiful harvest of clinical-textbook-level vagina photographs. It was probably a relief to some, then, when the first issue of Future Sex was published in 1992. "At last," porn connoisseurs cried, "a magazine with some production values!"
"Wire-frame dildos?! Where do I sign?"
Aimed at the internet-savvy, Future Sex billed itself as your cool robotic aunt -- "creative, offbeat, kinky, goofy, pro-sex." In reality, however, the magazine was exactly as futuristically sexy as being ninja-starred in the junk by a DVD of The Lawnmower Man. Sandwiched between the unflattering boob and penis shots were painfully awkward thinkpieces ...
We now know, of course, that it's both.
... stories about dickin' in the future that make Fifty Shades Of Grey look like Lady Chatterley's Lover by comparison ...
Porn mag graphic or Nine Inch Nails booklet art?
... coverage of some guy whose dick has its own blog ...
"In the future, everyone's dick will be famous for 15 minutes."
... and the piece de resistance: a vision of what cybersex might look like one day, courtesy of some designers who have never seen genitals or experienced any kind of sexual arousal.
If there are any insights to be gained from this, it's that Oculus Rift could have been way more uncomfortable.
The magazine covers in general resemble the sort of manic hallucinations that Harlan Ellison might have experienced if he'd taken a tab of LSD right before watching Showtime After Dark.
Whatever their designer was being paid, it was either too much or too little.
If you're confused about why Future Sex wasn't able to last beyond a phenomenal seven issues before collapsing like a black hole made from floppy penises, what can we say? The advertisers obviously weren't bringing in the dough. However, it's debatable whether that's down to the magazine itself or the fact that the ad copy was nothing beyond the sort of cybersex puns that we all made in high school.
Those prices are appalling. They couldn't charge $10 less to include the number "69"?
Usenet Really Made You Work For Your Porn
These days, you could be looking for mashed potatoes recipes on Google and somehow come across three pairs of boobs and a vulva. No one predicted this, because in the early days of computing, people had to jump through insane hoops to get their hands on free porn, without even knowing what they were going to get.
This is either a Deep Throat still or a ram running next to a tree. Either way, sexy stuff.
Back in the '80s and early '90s, when only military types and major poindexters had access to the internet, everyday mortals had to settle for Usenet -- essentially a giant email thread of user-posted articles that could be accessed from any dial-up location. Usenet was for sharing text only, and even then, it only allowed 7-bit ASCII characters (so no fancy symbols or anti-American letters with squiggly lines for you). Pictures weren't allowed ... but porn always finds a way. Usenet users figured out they could share smut anyway by painstakingly encoding image files into the extremely limited set of ASCII characters, then posting them to a Usenet group in dozens of small parts. Then the poor sucker looking for something to masturbate to on the other end had to download each part and put the file back together, only to inevitably realize that "hairy_dwarf_eating_pussy.jpg" was actually a photo of ALF.
It was especially painful to get something you didn't like when people started repeating this process with video files. You could literally spend weeks downloading a single pornographic clip, so it was devastating when you opened it and it didn't suit your sensibilities.
"Wait, this is the trailer for Space Jam. Finally!"
If this sounded like too much of a hassle (or more likely, you were too dumb to make it work), you could always settle for the vast sea of erotic stories at your disposal. A good chunk of Usenet was devoted to simple .txt files about everything from vanilla husband-wife sex to lesbian urination adventures. You can still visit "alt.sex.stories" today and enter search terms to look at, for example, the first pioneers to write online pony erotica.
"We didn't know. Dear God, we didn't know."
Softporn Adventure Was An Awful Text-Only Seduction Simulator
In the '80s, porn video games came in two flavors: pixelated people-shaped splodges bumping into each other whilst screaming climax-esque synthesizer noises, or nothing else. Actually, that's not true. We also had Softporn Adventure, a text-based romp that did for interactive sexy times what Dungeons & Dragons did for players' social standing in high school. That is, not very much, and if anything, probably set it back an entire decade.
The advertising was still more accurate than that of No Man's Sky.
Retailing at $29.95 (or $82 with inflation), Softporn Adventure placed you in the shoes of an average guy trawling bars, casinos, and strip clubs in the hope of finding somewhere to stick it before succumbing to his obvious mental illness. Presumably because they expected players to have whacked themselves into a near-unconscious delirium by the opening screen, the game is ridiculously easy to play, even by the standards of a genre in which the most complicated task you'll ever endure is dropping an ax. In fact, the most mentally challenging aspect of Softporn Adventure is customizing the color, flavor, and ribbed-ness of your condom loadout.
Not a joke.
There's no pictures, but that's where this game comes into its own. It's such a powerfully erotic script that you don't need graphics, what with all the vivid imagery bukkaking in your mind's eye.
For instance, take this saucy scene, wherein you're spying on someone through a peephole:
"Dammit, I wanted to see if she was gonna make a hot dog."
Or the scene in which you hate-fuck a sex doll into oblivion:
Usually we're the ones rushing out of the room after farting.
Like we said, it's powerfully erotic material. That feeling of griminess is just ... a side effect. If you're an action fan, this doesn't mean that there's nothing for you. After all, there's the adrenaline-fueled sequence in which you get robbed by a hooker and face the choice of starvation or 48 Hours-ing yourself out of a bondage rope.
Weird way to reveal the character is an anthropomorphic turkey.
Thankfully, the game doesn't end by forcing you to write an existential despair-filled suicide note. In what must be the most controversial video game ending that isn't Mass Effect 3's, your character manages to romance someone into sharing whatever lifetime he has left after his undiagnosed venereal diseases kick into action.
Can't "keep it up" because you never got it there.
Minitel Rose And The Joy Of Cybersex Got Everyone Talking Dirty
If the stereotypes are to be believed, possessing even the faintest air of Frenchness is enough to cause nearby underwear to drop with the force of an atomic bomb. That's clearly bullshit. If it were true, the French wouldn't have needed Minitel Rose -- the closest thing that we had to Tinder in an age where propositioning people was still a thing that everyone did face-to-face.
The adult chatrooms called Minitel Rose made use of Minitel, an early precursor of the internet that was rolled out across France in the 1980s. In order to get as many people as possible using it, every user was issued with a free access terminal. It isn't a great surprise, then, that the adult chatrooms became the popular part of the service, especially in rural areas. The first question asked by early adopters is "How do I turn it on?" The second is always "How can it turn me on?"
"ASCII me like one of your French girls."
Truth be told, it was a pretty good system. It was expensive, thanks to the pay-by-the-minute charges, but there was no chance of anyone being phished or hacked or scammed ... unless you count the fact that most users (who were guys) were actually talking to the employees of Minitel (other guys), not some busty mademoiselle gazing wistfully out of her chateau window. But if anything, that confirms that it was ahead of its time.
And for the, like, cinq people left in France who didn't know what they were missing out on, the adverts sure as hell gave them a good idea:
Though this is France, so even toothpaste has ads like these.
Minitel was eventually withdrawn in 2012, after everyone realized that they could now climax at a speed higher than 0.1 Mbps. Still, that means that there would have been plenty of demand for The Joy Of Cybersex, an informative how-to guide that puts the "D" in "CD-ROM." When it was released in 1993, it quietly delighted frustrated fathers everywhere with its in-depth knowledge about adult bulletin boards, slang, sexy video games, and -- as they called it -- "future sex and teledildonics."
Above: the definition of cybersensual.
Frankly, we don't even know what the point of this fancy futuristic technology is if we can't dress up like Robocop's creepy uncle and pipe 1996's Playboy: Girls Of The Internet into our virtual reality headset.
MacPlaymate Made Everyone Insane With Lust (Or Just Insane) In The '80s
As of 1988, the most pirated game ever for Macintosh wasn't a platformer or a puzzle game -- it was something called MacPlaymate. Some consumers actually chose to buy Macs over IBM PCs simply because only Macs could play this game. The LA Times published debates over whether or not it was even a real game, because it was about nothing but using various sex toys on this one lady lying in front of you. It caused such a ruckus that the company that did the animation actually backed away from the finished product until it was decided that a portion of the profit from sales would be donated to the Chicago Abused Women Coalition.
But that's all secondary to the fact that this thing is completely, hilariously insane.
The "panic button" pulls up a fake work spreadsheet. An actual panic button would be more helpful, as we'll see.
Our first question upon seeing the game in action is whether or not there was a chestburster lurking inside this poor lady, because her breasts seem to pulse erratically in a way that no one who has ever seen a woman in real life would find natural. As you use a variety of sex toys on the female protagonist, she suddenly starts freaking the fuck out, twitching like a dying beetle. That's the kind of thing that kills a masturbation session faster than accidentally answering a FaceTime call from your mother, so we're not sure what it's doing in this game.
Are the holes in the ends of the "hands" for your dong to slip into? Does that mean you're squeezing her boobs with penis-hands?
Notice the "sex partners" menu? That's where things get really weird. You can pick three partners: a fellow lady called Lola, a slightly less lady-like version of Lola with a fetish ensemble, or "Melvin." Picking Melvin is, for all intents and purposes, the "Game Over" button, because if you do, this happens:
If you saw this coming, please turn yourself to the nearest mental hospital right now.
For reasons that can never be explained, Melvin is some sort of freakishly tiny man with an 8-ball for a head, and if you dare summon him, he comes flying onscreen like a freaking circus goblin and takes that vagina to church. Why? We're not even sure it matters at this point. Be thankful you live in the golden age of porn, and don't have to make do with the log cabin that is MacPlaymate.
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