Wednesday 11 January 2023

Video games for Christmas and represented at the local drugstore

Many years (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 ... 2022) I make an annual blog post about all the nutty and wild antique and near-contemporary video games and vintage computing kit I'm given for Christmas, but three Christmases into a pandemic (this one the most lethal of the three thus far!) my extended family of secondhand shoppers strangely still don't feel safe venturing out into their beloved flea markets, garage sales, thrift stores etc. as they did up through 2019.  So while the "here you go, 18 pairs of tube socks" portion of my Christmas haul remains constant, this fun, bloggable segment has been wildly diminishing.  (That's fine, I have more than enough games to last me through the rest of my natural lifespan (indeed, I made $400 over the holidays selling unwanted duplicates cluttering up my games shelf!), it's just a curious transition to observe, a thriving ecosystem dwindling to a blasted heath.)

As I  move through the world, when I see games I don't yet have at the right price point (mine is $5), I hoover them up, so I did well enough for myself even if I'm just filling gaps in the collection rather than scoring hotly-sought titles I've been wating years to try out.  So all of these pictured games (and the Singstar microphone, my youngest kid is into singing -- they actually received a dedicated karaoke station for Xmas, but this is more along those lines) I bought for myself.  So in the opening photo here all I was given over the holidays was the Pac-Man lamp and the 10-in-1 Atari TV game (these are all a little underwhelming, this one especially in light of the recent release of the Atari 50 collection, but it's a convenient way to play a little 2600 Adventure or Missile Command when you're in the mood!  I gather these kinds of Plug N Play TV Games are themselves becoming more collectable, so ... OK no, I'm not going to be actively seeking them out anytime soon.  But I won't snobbishly spurn them!)

You don't get a good look at the games in the opening photo and that's just fine, there's nothing there that would excite anybody.  But if you have kids in the house, having an unpretentious cooking simulator or horseback riding game at your disposal can be just the thing to give you a quiet afternoon!  (I'm pretty sure however that whoever paid $30 for that Miniclip game got a bad deal.  I think these were a quarter each if I bought ten of them, the hard part was finding a tenth game on the shelf that wasn't just an empty case, a plague of thrifters.  NHL 09 is I guess the middle ground between a wanted game and an empty case, it turns out.)

(I don't even want a quiet afternoon if we can ideally find a way to make games a family activity, something difficult to achieve when the games are played at the Teletubbies level.  I was hoping to get my kids through Monkey Island 2 over the holidays, freeing me up to go out and buy the recent sequel, knowing that we'd all be up to speed, but ... it's a long game!)

OK, I've had my N64 long enough, time for me to start winning its games!  I can't pass up these thrift store finds at thrift store prices.  There's a whole other blog post I could make about the literary niche carved out by Jeff Rovin in the '80s, writing encyclopedias about movie monsters and the first major manuals about how to defeat NES games.  Could he have had the best career in history?  (But then there was that weird episode where he appeared on TV character assassinating Hillary during the closing days of the Trump campaign, so maybe not.  BUT I digress...)

A friend stopped by over the holidays and bequeathed a small wrapped package to me.  I said "hm, about the size of an Atari 2600 cart, but I hear things moving around inside, it must be chocolates.  Thanks, here are some chocolates for you, too!"  Only later did I open it and find these NES cart-themed coasters -- for people who are still kids at heart, but old enough to not want water stains on their hardwood tables.  (Emphasis is on the distinctive NES "Black Box" art, intended to show buyers what they'd be seeing on the screen, as opposed to Atari 2600 box art which had to lean heavily on misleading "here's what you should be seeing in your imagination while you're playing, which will look like three squares on the screen" imagery.)  I think this was peak game gift this year, hats off!  Sorry for the cruddy photography -- the camera on my phone smashed its glass and basically I have smartphone astigmatism now.  But wait, he's already done tabulating his gift haul and yet there's still quite a bit more to the post yet to go, what's up here?

While I was attempting to source some unrelated goods at London Drugs, I like to amuse myself by sliding down the toy aisle and peep in on just how many of the toy lines of my youth are still staggering along on fumes today.  I also like to investigate just how completely video games are infiltrating even the lowest echelons of the toy biz, and the answer this year seems to be impressively a lot!

This specimen above seems like a misstep on a few levels.  You can tell yourself that everything of a certain vintage is necessarily classic and in demand and children of all ages will thrill to it, but with the exception of Nintendo and a couple of other companies with deep histories and long memories (maybe Capcom and Konami?) I think most video game properties of the early '80s vintage are just old and played-out, unlikely to delight any child receiving its mascot in stuffed form in their stocking  Yes, Namco, Pac-Man has "got it".  But if you genuinely think that Galaga's Gyaraga has it too, you've drunk the Kool-Aid.  (I prodded in vain trying to determine what kinds of noises the "Talking Plush"es made, presumably some classic sound fx.)

Sonic the Hedgehog is of course evergreen, and probably would be appreciated by people young enough to know him primarily as a movie star, who might never have been alive when a Sonic game worth playing was on store shelves!  (Just kidding, that's an old Sega curse that I understand dissipated at last with the release of Sonic Mania six years ago.  OK, I suppose many of those youths actually have spent their entire lives in a world without that curse remaining in effect.  Time marches on!)

Pokemon also is one of those concerns that just gets more and more valuable over the years, making even some rather dry stationary supplies worth stocking in the toy aisle.  (no, Einstein, that must be a binder specifically for storing your Pokemon trading cards in for the IRL card game based on the video game series!)

Feels like Minecraft merch will be with us always, returning on Microsoft's investment of billions, but let this be a cautionary tale to you to not succumb to hubris: it doesn't feel like that long ago that Angry Birds was in that boat too, but today despite their, uh, slingshotting to the big screen, their assorted angry avian mascots go entirely unrepresented in today's toy aisle.  

Now this is where the action's at!  I don't know if Fortnite is the happening-est, most in-demand brand for Christmas presents this year, but definitely it's the one the store was keenest to shove the widest variety of merchandise down your throat about.  (That's a very special sentence structure there, Rowan!)

The Wall Of Fortnite, the single game most represented here, reminds me of a very special One Minute Play in one of my early visits to the ArtsWells Festival, where different members of the Victoria Poetry Slam community conducted a brief but enthusiastic conversation consisting entirely of the word "Facebook" in different inflections.  Truly these shelves are prepared to vend a Fortnite tie-in for every season.  It's a wild culmination of the company I still mentally file as the ZZT / Jill of the Jungle / Jazz Jackrabbit concern.  First impressions are tenacious!

I don't even know what these are -- handholds you attach to your phone to make it feel more like a game controller? -- but I briefly saw the word "Fortnite" on the packaging and lumped it in here.

I must confess I was not expecting to see Five Nights At Freddy's served up to kids for Christmas but then perhaps the little ones today are made of sterner stuff than I was.

And of course, the unavoidable GOAT OG triumphant video game mascots, now and forever, who proceed to do a victory lap of sorts.

Fortnite may be hot stuff today, but you don't see them effortlessly achieving synergy with the world's biggest toy brand.  Me, I'm not sold on the Super Mario Lego, but I can report that it excites a lot of people!

Here's a closer look at the pouches.  Does this one bag really contain everything needed to make all of those characters?  29 pieces, 10 characters, averaging ... 2.9 pieces per character?  Some of the little guys are variations on a theme, perhaps the sum of the pieces provided allows you to reproduce all configurations depicted here, but not all of them simultaneously?  My cynical first impression was that this was a gatcha pouch that would include only one of the enemies (or, er, penguins) pictured, but I can't see anything here that would require the 29 included pieces indicated on the packaging.

Look out, Sonic, Mario is coming for your crown in the "blue action figures sold at London Drugs" category.

Are these just playsets or does the "Link System" denote greater gameplay possibilities?  (If so, I suspect the possibility is on the "this set clicks together with other sets" end of the spectrum rather than the Amiibo end.  (Ok, I did the heavy lifting and Googled it.  Seems that the extent of the Link System is that the pieces are compatible with the different sets?)

More of the same, but it does raise the question of what effect Mario's position has on Boo's ability to approach when pointed at 90 degrees away from him, still able to surveil the ghost out of one eye.  (This question has almost certainly been addressed since sometime back in the N64 days, but darned if my tired noggin retains anything anymore.)

More of these Link System playsets, these ones on the grander side.  The breathless descriptors hint at some actual gameplay with these ones!  But this wraps up our extended trip to the Mushroom Kingdom in the toy aisle.  Thank you, Mario, but our princess is in another castle!

One more callback to one of the most classic titles of electronic gaming -- I wasn't able to confirm for certain, but the sense my brain is making of what my eyes are telling it is that this is a new, unlicensed form factor for Ralph Baer's 1978 memory game Simon!

Here's an overtime bonus: goods found in the toy section that are not licensed or cloned from classic video games, but whose brands could not exist in their specific forms without ... Internet culture, broadly speaking.  Measuring the sprawl of Internet culture into the mainstream culture, if you will.  Imagine a child raised in a home without a computer, trying to make sense of the invisible realm of cyberspace from these brief and contextless glimpses through the veil.  In this case I have learned that "LOL" does not stand here for "Laughing Out Loud" (or even "Lots of Love") but rather "Lil Outrageous Littles", a line of gatcha dolls.  What do they have to do with headphones?  (Probably about as much as Dr. Dre does.)

OK, what's an Oh! my GIF?  (I'm of a very narrow demographic segement whose mind always goes to the Unisys patent fiasco where GIFs are concerned, but surely they were not involved here.)  So, if I have this right, an Oh! my GIF is a little ... toy... that includes a code that you can scan with your phone, allowing you to use a digital version of the toy in your personal correspondence.  Would you pay $15 for three of them when there are plenty of emoji you aren't using for free?  Unclear.

FGTeeV?  WTF?  It seems the toy aisle here is being infected by the world of influencers, judging from the logo ones involved in the games sphere: it turns out the abbreviation is short for The Family Gaming Team, a popular YouTube games review channel.  How you get dozens of characters and three "season"s out of game review videos is a question I would have to do a lot of watching to achieve a better understanding of, but you know what... I'm good with what I have already learned, thanks.

Hey, I'm a Digi-Dood!  But on first glance I'm sure I already know this guy, surely it's just an unlicensed Tamagotchi clone, a throwback to that toy's 1996 launch, now styled as a "virtual reality pet".

Pinkfong is selling Baby Shark toys?  Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.  Tragically, this song remains the number one YouTube video by a wide margin (even if it were toppled, #2 is "Despacito", so out of the frying pan, into the fire), so we are likely to be stuck with it for years yet to come.

University games: "WTF" does not stand for "What The Fish".  WTF!  Such a weird footing to make the basis for your game.

Ok, that's it for this year's holiday roundup post!  And, who knows, that may the only post this blog sees all year, we'll see how it goes.  (I know you were all curious to see how the Pac-Man lamp held up in the dark.  Not too shabby, but I instinctively bristle at devices that only run off of batteries -- though with LEDs, probably it lasts for a good long while.  If they'd really been committed to the bit, this lamp would reverse the situation when flipped around, turning into a power pill'd Pac-Man chasing three frightened blue ghosts, but then it probably would have cost a couple dollars more.)

Tuesday 22 March 2022

winter gift giving, the expansion of collections and the future of games parties

Greetings, everyone!  This blog is basically on life support save for annual Christmas present reviews, only... I took photos but failed to actually make a post this time around.  Unveiling small piles of video game related goods is really an entirely different creature following years of pandemic precautions putting the screws to freewheeling summers of secondhand shopping, compounded by well-compensated tech workers doubling down on expanding their collections in a time when other collectors' incomes are curtailed by pandemic restrictions and they find themselves selling at any price, but to the highest bidder.  There are many sales, but where are the deals?  Even if this phenomenon interferes with the obscene inflation of my own collection's size, at least every game I own seems to be skyrocketing up in value.  But I digress.  Still it seems there is some game stuff out there for the taking, so let us continue the look back.  First off, thanks to my brother- and sister-in-law for the stylin' t-shirt, undoubtedly the piece of game swag I will get the most use out of this 2022!
Here's the birds'-eye-view of The Goods: not only swag, but also some games.  (Spoiler warning: the mound of games was fortified by some Facebook Marketplace listings I took advantage of in order to ensure some winners among this holiday season's influx of all game goods not nailed down.) I have never touched a PSP, but it's a nice stuffie!
This is handy!  Nintendo DS games in a carrying case!  You could store a thousand of the things in a shoebox, but finding any given game using that filing system would be a real needle in a haystack scenario.  This allows you to sequester a decent subset of your collection for regular play -- I believe it may store up to 16 of them, which is enough for any respectable road trip back seat.  And let me just say, Pac-Man mugs are evergreen.  Nothing says "I was technically alive in 1980" quite like that yellow dot with the slice taken out.
Let's get a close look at those delicious 8-bit micro chocs.  Almost every year I receive "old video games"-themed candies and snacks and treats and never, ever eat them.  You'd think I'd have an entire cupboard of them at this point, but no... I suspect there is a fifth column in my home misallocating these confections.  In the background there is the box for the Mario Checkers game, which is ... just checkers.  (Did You Know: I never learned how to play checkers?)  Mario Chess is an incredible set of toys for use as chess pieces, but Mario Checkers is just checkers.  (There's a joke here somewhere about Nintendo playing cards, but I've got to keep moving!)
Then we start getting a little further afield in regards to this theme.  This is just about the easiest theme to pursue if you ever wanted to make a paint-by-numbers set.  Surely after I get warmed up with this book my ANSI art will be whippin' the llama's ass in no time!
Cross stitch! One more pixelart predecessor (mostly textile in nature, but see also mosaics) in the world of arts and crafts.  I really dig the demonstration art on the front cover!
This is a special set: the Time-Life series of "Understanding Computers" books, circa 1987.  (I thought it was a complete set, but apparently there were some 24 of them!)  The diagrams are amazing and it really nails the moment in home computing.  Here's an infomercial for the books:

and finally... this is just a portion of my regular games collection I hauled out for the first time since moving in here, trying to get my holdings, new additions etc. sorted out a bit.  Usually I would get the opportunity to freshen things up and reconcile matters every six months, when I pull out all my games and set my vintage systems up for an old video games party on my birthday (and my anti-birthday), but since the pandemic began I haven't been holding these social functions and the fun goods have been languishing in my uninsulated garage attic, alternately freezing and melting through the long years, unseen and untouched by human hands.  Because the one party is always framed as my video games birthday party I like to joke that since I've gone two years without them, I'm still in a holding pattern of age 40, where I've stayed for the past two years.

Around Christmas I finally owned the trifecta of an Xbox 360, an Xbox Kinect AND some Kinect games all at the same time, and my eldest had been going nuts waiting for these factors to align so she'd have a chance to try out the Harry Potter Kinect game she saw I'd picked up... we'd finally hit on a TV stand solution we liked enough to commit to, after carving ventilation holes in the backs of several temporary attempts we ultimately moved on from, so I had a place where I could set up three systems on a semipermanent basis (WiiU, PS3 and Xbox 360 -- at least, until I can find an Xbox One) and store games for them... out of sight when not in use.  Not as easy as it sounds!  Ultimately we determined that our rumpus room is sliiiiiightly too narrow for the Kinect to reliably interpret your movements, but for a little while there we were living in the wild future of 2010.  We discovered that my youngest has an incredible affinity for Dance Central!  (I can't wait for May 4th to inflict the Star Wars variant on her!)

Anyhow, I'm burying the lede here on my blog that no one will ever see, but in a refusal to settle for an endemic new normal I'm now being a bit more creative about the brass tacks of putting on one of these vintage video games parties.  Can I get all my friends stuffed into my house, in which we have been residing for a year and a half, which none of them have seen the inside of?  Probably not safely.  All right then, what can be done to keep them safe?  Social distancing and good ventilation.  OK then: outdoor video games party it is!  We've got extension cords, we've got lawn chairs, and in the event of inclement weather, we've got tarps and canopies and even a gas-powered fire pit.  Everyone do some hand hygiene between gamepad swaps (fortunately I don't have any mouth controls for any of my systems) and who knows, perhaps this can even be the opportunity to rig up a console to my old projector and play Katamari 30 feet high on the side of my house that I always dreamed of.  Tentative date is Apr 2nd, check in with me that Friday to confirm!

Tuesday 20 July 2021

1981-82 BCIT Computer Systems yearbook

Covid-19 restrictions are rolling back (possibly temporarily) for the summer, and a vast wave of yard sales that have been held back from their traditional seasonal opening in May is being unleashed upon the world.  My wife is always cruising for surprise luxury secondhand goods with good resale value, but as she is well aware of my interests and proclivities, will sometimes snag me materials pertaining to old technology if and when she stumbles across them.  
So here we have the "Computer Systems 81-82" book.  (I love the cover art, which dates to the era of "art made ABOUT computers, not made with the assistance of computers."  If you wanted to make art for a computer book in 1982, you needed a straight edge to draw lots of perspective lines, and some ziptone to apply for shaded texture.  Don't forget your binary digits for flavour!)  Apparently people were studying computers locally back at that early date, and just what we might learn about them and their field at that time depends a lot on just what kind of book this is.  Is it a syllabus?  It is not.  Instead... it is a yearbook!  Lots of photos of people with unfashionable haircuts being young!  I would be very interested in the nuts and bolts of the curriculum, but if, as it seems, I'll be learning about this class as a social history, that's OK also!

(I can't imagine trying to sell a yearbook -- a printed volume only of any interest or value to those in it, who already have a copy of it -- at a yard sale and expecting anyone to pay even one dollar for it, but I guess I'm the exception that proves the rule.)
There it is, the office of the BCIT Computer Systems Department Head.  You can't tell from the angle, but I rather suspect that he (I would say "they", but in 1982, as computing wages had risen and pushed out the rooms full of math whiz ladies formerly known as computers, I think we could quite safely assume that this department head was a "he" ... despite which, you can see the pendulum temporarily swinging the other way, with lots of women appearing in the student body documented here!) doesn't even have anything we would recognize as a computer in his office!
Please excuse the image quality -- not only are my scans weak, it's not like my source images are the original negatives... these were developed into photo prints, then adapted for paper print.  (Then, as with this photo, laid out directly adjacent to the book's gutter, the black hole in the middle of the book where the pages are bound together.  The only way to get a good scan there would be to undo the binding, and even if I could overcome the shock at book destruction sacrilege (because let's face it, this is a book that no one, even myself, is ever going to want to read again) ... it's a bit too much like work, isn't it?  (Anyhow, this is a solved problem.  Clearly I should just send this book to the Internet Archive to be processed there.)
I admittedly don't have a great deal to offer with this post.  I don't know anything about the people in the pictures and I don't know anything about the machines seen populating the background here.  I don't know if they are word processors, terminals, or stand-alone microcomputers, but despite radiating nostalgia, they sure as heck don't look at all familiar.  Nonetheless I've included every photo from the yearbook -- conspicuously few, all things considered -- including any of the computer technology these students were working on 40 years ago, and if anyone is able to identify any pieces of it, so much the better!  Sometimes all I have to offer is the raw data, and we need to crowdsource the expertise.
That awkward photo splice isn't of hardware, but I suspect it is a locker stuffed with crumpled up wads of either paper punch cards or tractor-feed dot matrix printer paper.  Either way, a righteous sign of the times -- and a hilarious alternative to shredding or a more secure filing system.
No people or hardware in this photo, but those have got to be some variation on paper punch cards, right?  At least, strongly reminiscent of the Scantron forms of my school days.  Also, I appreciate the caffeine pills for period flavour.  It seems that "crunch time" has been with this industry since its early days!
I had a chilling "middle-aged" moment receiving this book, because Jen reported that when she bought this book the sale had a distinct "estate sale" ambiance to it.  This book dates back to when I was newly born, and my entire lifespan thus far has turned out to be the remainder of someone else's natural lifespan.  Were I to enrol in today's equivalent of this course, and it to yield a similar yearbook, by the time my analogue got around to stumbling across and documenting the volume, I would almost most likely be deceased.  (This is a problem, because I can't die, as I have far too many more blog posts to write that no one else is going to get around to.  Also, it would be a source of great sadness to my family.)

Anyhow, by cross-referencing the friendly dedications written inside the front covers of this book, I was able to positively identify it as belonging to Mark Hujanen, pictured above.  With that information, I was able to confirm our grim hypothesis -- he didn't leave a huge online footprint (eg. a Twitter account with no posts, likes or follows), but he did leave in his wake the following tribute from his longtime employers at the BC Supreme Court:
The Court would also like to acknowledge the passing of Mark Hujanen,
service delivery manager for the Superior Courts Judiciary’s IT department,
in December 2020. Mr. Hujanen provided his expertise to the Court for more
than 20 years, developing and supporting the creation of many systems that
have become crucial to the Court’s day-to-day operations.

As a millennial who struggled for decades in finding even the most meagre employment (pro tip: if you stop looking, it won't find you), I briefly boggled at the perceived generational injustice of this guy taking one computer class in 1981 and getting set on the gravy train until he died, working in his field the entire time.  Of course, I have no real reason to believe things went so smoothly for him -- his life is a timeline to me that only reveals an early point and an end point, leaving me to extrapolate everything that elapsed in between.  I see that he only worked for the BC Supreme Court for >20 years, leaving nearly another couple of decades during which he could have been lost in the wilderness as I was, or at least taking other computer classes and picking up unrelated side gigs.  That boggling isn't informed by realtiy at all, but my own career PTSD.  Anyway, Mark, this post is dedicated to you!  I hope you're refactoring your legacy code in that great mainframe up in the sky! 
Do you mind?  I'm trying to keypunch this payroll algorithm here, but I can't focus with this camera in my face!
You'll never need to wait in line with a box full of your program -- this state of the art school ensures prompt student access to punch card machines by having rooms full of them.
What's he working on there?  Who knows, but check out the obscured swag behind him in the Control Data Corporation box in the corner!  "[O]ne of the nine major United States computer companies through most of the 1960s", where Seymour Cray cut his teeth before, for a time, making the world's fastest supercomputers.
It's a room full of big iron, but -- correct me if I'm wrong -- isn't he just typing on an electric typewriter there?  Or is that some sort ot TTY terminal with keyboard input and printer output?

Finally, Big Blue shows itself!  Ironically, I understand that this is the yearbook commitee meeting, and I believe that the 3800 model they are celebrating the arrival of there is just a laser printer component, possibly used in the printing of this very yearbook!  

After a buch of other group photos, here's a fun filler photo occupying leftover space at the bottom of the page, tagged with a computing joke I had a hard time scanning: "the 'Empty' set".
Nice work, Computer Operations!  Finally, a machine clearly recognizable to me as a computer!  There's... buttons!  There's a display!  There's... well, presumably other components tucked away or outsourced elsewhere.  IBM rides again!
So many of the photos of women in this yearbook have an implied atmosphere of "... do you mind?  I'm trying to get work done, here!" to them.  Something something male gaze.
I have no idea what this wall full of machinery is, but it's everything I could have ever hoped to find in this book: right this way to das blinkenlights.  (One reader from the Chilliwack Retro-Computing Club weighs in: "The pic with 3 hp2100 in racks 2 7970 tape drives 2 7906 harddrive and 2 2748 papertape readers, nice".  Another one notes, "I was there from 1992-1994. My Cobol class might have used some of this same hardware as it was ancient even back then 
😛 Some kind of terminals running off a mainframe. I'm actually curious what we were using, if I knew then, I don't remember now 🙂")
Again, still another a portrait of a young lady at her terminal with a "Gotcha!" quality to it.  Makes me wonder if each one of these photos wasn't immediately preceded with a blast from an air horn.
Gentlemen.  You know how expensive it is when you knock ofer a can of soda and it spills a puddle around your smartphone? This must have been much, much, worse -- we can't stick these minicomputers in a giant sack of rice to dry them out!  Eat in the cafeteria.  Don't slurp your soup and sprinkle your crumbs into these electronic marvels.  If I was the instructor, that would have been the first rule of my lab!
If you look carefully at the floor between the rows of machines, you can spot either a technician making some adjustments to the equipment or a student having a nap.  (Or, possibly, both.)
Haven't we all visited this place in our programming preparation at some point?  You know what, burn it all down and start over.  It's a sentiment that, it turns out, is timeless.
You don't hear too much about it anymore, and I bet LCD screens have a lot to do with it, but I have vivid memories a bit before the turn of the century, at about the midpoint between the publication of this book and the present day, of people having significant concerns about the hazards of prolonged exposure to video display terminals.  I remember a family friend had their desktop computer setup featuring a seat at one end of the room and the largest CRT money could buy at the other end, with a bowling lane of a desk between them, so as to maximise the view while minimising exposure to the harmful rays. The memory is kind of apropos of nothing, but c'mon, I bet that display is just about big enough for a grown man to crawl down in a music video or horror movie.
Are they wearing a party hat?  And well why should they not be, anytime the numbers crunch as intended is a great moment in history, it should be roundly celebrated.  Those barrels off to the left... are they for spoiled (folded, spindled or mutilated) punch cards
OK, so I have more photos of old computers from this yearbook than I do insightful observations to make about their contents.  I don't know which ones are significant and which ones aren't so I'm just aiming to share all the ones including vintage hardware and hopefully my audience finds them interesting enough on their own that I don't need to ice every cupcake with my sparkling commentary.
Another all-nighter?
Giving a bit of "deer in the headlights" expression, as though he'd been caught in the act computing during someone else's booked time... or just having been discovered staying after hours to play Colossal Cave Adventure.
I'm satisfied, the machines-to-student ratio at this school, as documented in these photos, seems to have achieved pretty good parity.
The satisfaction of a routine well invoked.  (Almost a little too satisfied, if you ask me.  Just what kind of nefarious purpose is this program for, anyhow?  Did he just discover "salami slicing" before Superman III mainstreamed it?)  (One more comment from the Chilliwack Retro-Computing Club: "I'm really curious about the terminal here. It looks like the "Lanpar" terminals I used at UBC around the same time. I think they were Canadian made(?) but I can't find any information about them.")
Crunch time!  Too busy to mug for the camera, busy tyring to figure out why 30 isn't GOTOing 10!
No time off for good behavior!  I don't care if it is a holiday, you're coming in and crunching numbers!  I'm guessing that this photo was taken sometime around Hallowe'en, but wouldn't it be more interesting if  it was just another regular day in computer class?
Due to my literary background, I couldn't resist the inclusion of this computer-school-themed poem found at the back of the yearbook.  It's no "The Policeman's Beard is Half Constructed", but it'll have to do.  Here, I transcribed it for you:
BCIT BLUES, by Rob Brown.

Ten happy little programmers,
Coding in a line;
One missed a due date,
Then there were nine.

Nine tired little programmers,
Hacking away till late;
One failed Org Bev,
Then there were eight.

Eight scared little programmers,
Working past eleven;
One crashed the system,
Then there were seven.

Seven worried little programmers,
Coding cobol pics;
One dropped a cad deck,
Then there were six.

Six frantic little programmers,
Feeling barely alive;
One fell asleep in systems,
Then there were five.

Five frazzled little programmers,
Sleeping on the floor;
One listened to a hacker,
Then there were four.

Four spaced-out little programmers,
Wishing they were free;
One took an evening off,
Then there were three.

Three crazy little programmers,
Who didn't have a clue;
One tried an edit program,
Then there were two.

Two burned-out little programmers,
The year was nearly done;
One logged on the HP,
Then there was one.

One lonely little programmer,
Sitting all alone...
Not apropos of anything technological, but this page stood out so much I had to include it.  (Also omitted: a comedic "blackface" photo.  Times have changed, but that was already a bad look in 1982.)  Some of these costumes look familiar -- it seems that what I took above for Hallowe'en may simply have been BCIT's regional interpretation of the short-lived seasonal holiday "Punk Day".  (Itself a replacement for the briefly-celebrated "Disco Day"?)
There weren't a ton of photos like this, but my suspicion is always that most of the programming going on up in 1981 was done like this -- with pencil and paper -- plotting out and debugging your program manually long before it ever got anywhere near an electronic device, because access to the equipment was traditionally rare and expensive, and you couldn't afford any surprises when your turn came up to feed your punch cards into the hopper or you'd lose your money and go back to the end of the line.

This concludes our stroll through the BCIT Computer Systems 1981-1982 yearbook!  We expect great things of the class of 1982!  Excelsior!