Comments about Uncle Buddy's Phantom Funhouse
McDaid's Funhouse is the first work published by Eastgate packaged in a box. As noted elsewhere in this section, the box's design was conceptualized by McDaid himself and inspired Mark Bernstein, his publisher, to call it "a chocolate box full of death." The elements of the work are extensive and speak to both McDaid's vision to produce a hypermedia novel and to the constraints of the time for achieving that goal. Floppy disks (or a CD), two music cassettes, a manuscript for a short story, and a letter from the editor all contribute to the whole of the work. The commentary for this section was written by Grigar.
The box, measuring 6 1/4" x 9 1/4" x 1" in size, is made of white cardboard covered by a black label label on its top and bottom of the box. Referred to jokingly by McDaid and others as "the chocolate box full of death," the box––filled with the last of the titular Uncle Buddy's effects––was influenced by the box of memorabilia McDaid once received from his Aunt Rita. The work sold for $39.95 at the time of its publication in 1992.
The lettering and image found on the top of the box are produced in silver, providing a strong contrast between these elements and the black covering. The title is laid out in four lines with each word placed on its own line. Each word is aligned "right" by the last word and buts up against the image of a man that fills the right half of the box. The man is represented only by his face, which is highly pixelated. What seems to be pixels are also situated around the box's top in a random design. The general mood evoked by the design is one of mystery, in keeping of the story about the mysterious uncle from whom you, the user, have just inherited this box. In fact, the box was referred to as "the chocolate box of death." The idea for a box filled with the last of Uncle Buddy's effects from his literary estate was influenced by the box of memorabilia McDaid once received from his dying Aunt Rita. Below the title and image and centered at 5 3/4" from the top are three lines. Line one reads, "a hypermedia". Line two, "novel by". Line three: "John McDaid". One inch from the bottom of the box, also centered, is "Eastgate Systems, Inc.".
The bottom of the box is also covered with a black label but, unlike the top, has no marking.
Box, Inside of Top Cover
The inside of the top's white cover is generally unmarked. However, this copy, given to Grigar by McDaid during his visit to her lab for the traversal and interview, is inscribed by the author. The inscription is expressed in three lines. Line one reads, "For Dene". Line two, "with many thanks!". Line three, "–– John G. McDaid".
The box, when opened, reveals a variety of contents. The original 1992 version, shown here, included five 3 1/2" floppy disks; two cassettes––one entitled "buddy newkirk Retribution" and the other entitled "art newkirk The Story of Emily and the Time Machine"; a letter from the editor of Vortex, "Chris;" a copy of a science fiction short story edited by Chris; a 12-page booklet providing background on the novel and directions for how to access it; a one-page installation guide; and registration card. The CD version released in 1993 substituted one CD-ROM for the five floppy disks.
This photo provides another look at the contents found in the box. Visible are the two cassettes and the registration card that came packaged in the box.
Booklets, like this one for Uncle Buddy's Phantom Funhouse, were included for all Eastgate Systems publications and were a necessary component because hypertext fiction required specific installation steps and differing access processes. Users needed to refer to booklets for this information. This particular booklet consists of six 8 1/2" x 11" paper folded, resulting in a booklet 12 pages in length. The paper is white with black printing. The design of the front cover is contained in a box that is black print on white. The result is a white border measuring 1/4" (top), 3/16" (bottom), 3/16" (left) and 5/16" (right) that reflects that of the top of the box with the title, image, and author information forming the majority of the art. However, the booklet's front cover is dominated by the pixelated image of Uncle Buddy, which stretches out from top to bottom of the page and is situated closer to the middle of it. At the top of the page where his head begins, we find the publisher's name and logo centered and printed in black, the typeface looking like it had been printed on a dot-matrix printer. The title, its four words expressed again in four lines, is laid out so that it fits inside the face of Uncle Buddy and makes up the right portion of the page. The print is black against the white face. On the left slightly lower than the title are the same four lines found on the box's top. Line one reads, "a hypermedia". Line two, "novel by". Line three: "John McDaid". One inch from the bottom of the box, also centered, is "Eastgate Systems, Inc.".
Booklet, Front Matter and Installation Information
The first two pages of the booklet contains "front matter" (page 1) and a guide for "Installation" (page 2). Page 1 shows the dedication, "For Ka". This is Karen McDaid, the wife of the author. The publication and trademark information follow in five lines with a small gap between the two. Line one reads, "Published by Eastgate Systems.". Line two, "Copyright ©1992 John G. McDaid". Line three, "All rights reserved.". Line four, "Uncle Buddy, Uncle Buddy's Phantom Funhouse, and the". Line five, "Buddy likeness are trademarks of Torvex Communication." Torvex Communications is the name of the company owned by McDaid and is the name given to the publishing house from whom the user receives the letter from Chris. Below this information is a section of "Acknowledgements." Included in this list are Thomas G. Boyce, from whom McDaid borrowed lines from "Phalarts Variations" and "Young and Stupid in the 1980s"; Jacques Derrida, for Glas; John McDaid, for song lyrics used; Mechanical Sterility, for lyrics from "Black Label Bastard"; and Frank Stephanek, for use of his song, "Titanic." The next section tells us that "All characters in this fiction are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, events, or institutions is purely coincidental. Every effort has been made to contact persons whose material is reprinted here. If you've been omitted, please contact us. The final section provides the contact information for Eastgate Systems and its logo. The words, "First edition" are found here as well as "Manufactured in the United State of America."
On page 2, the Installation guide, we find five paragraphs. The first reads, "These instructions assume that you are familiar with Macintosh™ conventions for copying; using standard file dialogues like "Open" and "Save;" the use of the Font/DA mover; (or font access utilities like "Suitcase™") and with HyperCard™ conventions like clicking and navigating. if you are unsure about these, please refer to your Macintosh documentation or appropriate software manuals." Paragraph 2 continues with, "Uncle Buddy's Phantom Funhouse runs on all Macintosh computers, MacPlus or larger. It requires HyperCard 2.0 or later. A hard disk (with 42 meg of free space) is required, and a 2MB or more of memory is recommended if you want to perform any editing, or if you are running System 7.0.". Paragraph three, "If you are not familiar with HyperCard's conventions for navigating from card to card and stack to stack, it is recommended that you take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the basic commands. It's also a good idea to set your user level to scripting. (If you don't know what that means, don't worry.) Go to the last card of your home stack, and check to see where your user level is set. If you just installed HyperCard out of the box, only the bottom two user levels may be visible. This is a feature to help prevent you form accidentally changing things. If only two user levels are visible, bring up the Message Box (By [sic] typing Command-M) and type the word "magic." the rest of the userlevels will appear. Set your user level to "5" or "Scripting" by clciking on the appropriate button." Paragraph four, "Before you do anything else, make backup copies of your diskettes and store them in a safe place." Paragraph five, "Create a new folder on your hard diskand [sic] copy all the files from the Funhouse disks into the new folder. All the stacks need to be located in the same folder. The two "Writer's Brain" files with the "file cabinet" icons are a stack which has been split. Follow the instructions on the next page to rejoin the file."
The back of the booklet provides the "Limited Warranty and Disclaimer". This title is listed twice on this page and is followed by four paragraphs explaining the warranty and two explaining "liability." Users are told they have a 90-day warranty and if the item is defected, the user will receive a refund of the purchase price or a replacement. The liability focuses on "any damages, lost profit, lost data, loss of use, including but not limited to specific, incidental, consequential or indirect damages arising fro the use of the program." At the bottom of the page is a section separated from the rest by a black line that reads, "Macintosh™ is a registered trademark of Apple Computer, Inc. HyperCard™ is a registered trademark of Apple Computer, Inc., licensed to The Claris Corporation. All other trademarks are included for descriptive purposes only and are the property of their respective owners."
Floppy Disk 1, Front
The floppy disk is a standard 3 1/2" diskette, made of plastic, black in color, with silver shutter. It is labeled with the standard burgundy and white Eastgate System sticker that shows the company tagline, title, author, company contact information. This one is also marked with the number 1, designating that it is the first one of the group of five diskettes comprising Uncle Buddy's Phantom Funhouse. On the top on a burgundy background, 7/8" in width, we see in Line one, "CIVILIZED SOFTWARE", followed by "from Eastgate Systems, Inc." printed in yellowish beige and centered within the first line. Below this section, 1 1/4" in width, is the yellowish beige area of the label with all but the diskette number printed in burgundy. On the left is the Eastgate logo. To its right is the title in two lines with the author's name in the third. Line one reads, "Uncle Buddy's". Line two, "Phantom Funhouse". Line three, "John McDaid". On the left hand side at the bottom we see the company's address expressed in the traditional manner of two lines. On the right hand side at the bottom are the two phone numbers: Line one shows the 800 number and line two shows the number in Cambridge. As mentioned, the number "1" is listed and is situated between sections containing the author's name and phone numbers. It is left yellowish beige like the background but is highlighted by a box printed in burgundy.
Floppy Disk 1, Back
The back of the floppy disk is unmarked, save for 5/8" of the label folder over the top from the front of the disk. This portion of the label is burgundy in color with yellowish beige print. The information is presented in three lines. Line one reads, "©1992 by John McDaid. All Rights Reserved." Line two, "CIVILIZED SOFTWARE is a service mark of". Line three, "Eastgate Systems, Inc.".
Floppy Disk 2, Front
The front of this floppy disk is identical to the first, with the exception that it is numbered "2."
Floppy Disk 2, Back
The back of this floppy disk is identical to the first.
Floppy Disk 3, Front
This floppy disk is identical to the first, with the exception that it is numbered "3."
Floppy Disk 3, Back
The back of this floppy disk is identical to the first.
Floppy Disk 4, Front
This floppy disk is identical to the first, with the exception that it is numbered "4."
Floppy Disk 4, Back
The back of this floppy disk is identical to the first.
Floppy Disk 5, Front
This floppy disk differs from the other four in that the typeface is lighter in weight. This variation results in more space between the logo and the title of the work. Also worth mentioning is that the burgundy box where the number "5" appears is larger in size and so highlights the diskette's number more readily than the other designs.
Floppy Disk 5, Back
The back of this floppy disk, like the front, is different than the other ones. Here we see the word, "Copyright," appearing between the symbol and date. This variation causes the line to break differently than those of the other disks.
"Retribution," Side One
The cassettes found in the box are the standard size, 4" x 2 1/5". It is clear plastic with pink print. The front of the cassette shows the artist's name, title of the work, side #, and type of cassette. Line one reads, "buddy newkirk". Line two is centered within Line one and reads, "RETRIBUTION". The number "1" is listed left of the supply reel. The type, "HX-Pro B", listed to the right of the take-up reel, refers to "Headroom eXtension," a technology innovated by Dolby in 1980. Above the type is Dolby's logo.
"Retribution," Side Two
Side two of this cassette is identical to side one, save the number "2."
"Retribution," Liner, Front
The liner, when opened, is 4" x 4 1/4" in size and consists of white glossy paper printed with black and gray ink. When inserted in the clear plastic cassette case, the portion visible to the user contains a low-resolution photo of a man sitting at a table with a typewriter in front of him. The name "Buddy Newkirk" and "RETRIBUTION" are in white from the background. There is a large crucifix hanging on the wall to his right. He appears to be deep in thought, with arms are crossed in front of him an his hands not on the keyboard typing. The spine of the liner is printed in black and contains two sections of information left in white from the background. The section to the left is expressed in two lines. Line one reads, "buddy newkirk". Line two, "Retribution". The section on the right also presents two lines. Line one reads, "With special bonus tracks". Line two, "from 'Killing Time'". The portion of the liner that is visible at the back of the cassette case is white, with print in black ink. Section one is found on the left and contains the title of the songs on side "1". These include: "Killing Time: Make All Your Dreams Come True/What Does It Matter?/Desert Song/Atman/Retribution: Bubble Memory/Newry/The Bottom Line". The section for side "2" is located on the bottom right hand side and lists, ""Talk Around Town/Midnite Movies/Jigoku no Mokushiroku/Supposed to be a Love Song/Cuchulain (A song crept by me on the water)/Amore Vincit Omnia: Love Takes Its Time/Songs in an Empty Room/Jenkintown/Ricorso".
"Retribution," Liner, Back
The back of the liner is unmarked.
"The Story of Emily and the Time Machine," Side One
This cassette is similar to Cassette One, with a few exceptions. The author is listed as "art newkirk", and the title is "The Story of Emily and the Time Machine." The title on this cassette is in not in all caps and the number "1" is taller in height yet thinner in width than that of Cassette One.
"The Story of Emily and the Time Machine," Side Two
Side two of this cassette is identical to side one, save the number "2."
"The Story of Emily and the Time Machine," Liner, Front
The liner for "The Story of Emily and the Time Machine" is of the same size and style as the one for "Retribution." The art that would be visible on the front of the cassette, however, features a line drawing of two people, one presumably "Emily." The name of the artist is listed as "art newkirk," information located on the bottom left hand side of the liner. On the right hand side we find seven lines. The first six contains one word of the title; the seventh both words, "Time Machine". The spine of the liner is printed in black and contains lines of information. Line one shows the name of the artist; Line two the title of the work. The portion of the liner that is visible at the back of the cassette case is white, with print in black ink. Section one is found on the left and contains the title of the songs on side "1". These include: "Time Machine #1/Cape Fear/Emily (What do I say to you?)/(I Been) Walking Alone/Pain/Come Along/Cape Fear (reprise) Equals/White Subway/Time machine #2 Moving Clox/Emily (Lost And Found Dead)". Side 2 contains: "Time Machine #3/Titanic/Slowly Light Begins to Dawn/Genius Gone Insane/Slowly Light #2/Falling Apart/Time Machine #4/Emily (Maybe in the Future)
"The Story of Emily and the Time Machine," Liner, Back
The back of the liner is unmarked.
Letter from Editor of Vortex, Front
Found among the effects in the box is a letter from "Chris" of Vortex: The Anthology of Cyberfiction dated October 15, 1988". It is addressed to Buddy Newkirk. The letter accompanies the page proofs for a story, entitled "Tree," written by Newkirk and is printed on good-quality, beige, linen paper. The company's logo appears at the top left of the page and is printed in black and gray; the contact information, centered at the top, is printed in black. The address reads, "10 Astor Place, Suite 2409 New York, NY 10003". The letter address is expressed in three lines. Line one reads, "Buddy Newkirk". Line two, "46 St. Claire Ave.". Line three, "Pirate Cove, RI". The salutation says only, "Buddy––". The body of the letter contains three paragraphs. Paragraph one reads, "Here are the page proofs of 'Tree.' I think the illustration goes real well & hope its [sic] okay w/you.". Paragraph two, "A few questions indicated –– if you could get these back to us by mid November, that would be great." Paragraph three, "Hear you're gonna be out a SPASTICON '88 in St. Louis –– Maybe see could meet there if you don't mail them sooner." The letter closes with "Best" and then Chris' signature. There is no markings on the back of the letter.
Arthur Newkirk, "Tree," Front
"Tree" is a nine-page short story written presumably by Arthur Newkirk and printed on one side of 8 1/2" x 11" sheet white copier paper. The document is folded so that it fits in the box but is intended to be spread to full size to be read. Page numbers found on the bottom right-hand side of the pages begin at page 92 and ends at page 108. The image to which "Chris," the editor from Vortex, refers in the accompanying letter is found on the left hand side of the first page. It is a black and white line drawing of a solitary figure with the left arm bent and the hand gripping the side of the right hand shoulder. The story shows editing marks where the author is asked to make changes to the text. The story focuses on Harry, a resident of the Bishop Creagan Home for the Handicapped who is led astray for the mysterious "Tree."
Installation Update, Front
Included in the box is a 3 9/16" x 8 1/2" document, printed on one side only in black ink on white paper. It is a brief installation guide. A box printed in black ink measuring 3 1/4" x 1 5/8" is located a 1/4" below the top of the document. Inside the box we find the title expressed in four lines. Line one reads, "INSTALLATION". Line two, "UPDATE". Line three, "Uncle Buddy's". Line four, "Phantom Funhouse". Below this information three main sections. The first reads, "Uncle Buddy's Phantom Funhouse is provided on three high-density diskettes. To install Uncle Buddy's Phantom Funhouse:". This section is followed by an eight-step method for installing the work on a computer. Step one reads, "Create a new empty folder on your hard disk. Name it "Funhouse folder", or the equivalent." Step two, "Insert the Uncle Buddy disk number 1 into your floppy disk drive." Step three, "Drag all the files from the floppy disk into your new Funhouse folder, to copy them to your hard drive." Step four, "Eject the Uncle Buddy disk number 1, and repeat steps 2 and 3 twice to copy all the files form the other two disks into your Funhouse folder." Step five, "Eject the Uncle Buddy disk number 3, and store all three Uncle Buddy disks in a safe place." Step six, "Follow the directions in your instruction manual (page 4) for de-compressing the files 'The Writer's Brain.#1' and 'The Writer's Brain.#2' within your Funhouse folder." Step seven, "Decompress the file '(Double click to expand)' by double-clicking it." Step seven, "You can now throw out the compressed files (''The Writer's Brain.#1','The Writer's Brain.#2', and '(Double click to expand)') from your Funhouse folder." The final section tells us that "Uncle Buddy's Phantom Funhouse does not come with any fonts. The fonts it requires are standard System fonts, and it you are missing any fonts you can install them fro your original System disks. To begin reading Uncle Buddy's Phantom Funhouse just double-click READ ME FIRST within your Funhouse folder."
Registration Card, Front
The registration card, included in this packaging, allowed the user to register the product, receive information about Eastgate, and make comments to the company about the user's experience with the product. Once filled out, the registration card was intended to be mailed back to Eastgate. Email was not yet common at the time, so this card unlike the one for We Descend did not allow for sending information to Eastgate by email. The front of the registration card is a traditional postcard, postage paid, and already addressed to the company. In the middle of the card was the information needed for mailing highlighted in a box: "BUSINESS RELY MAIL" appeared on the first line. "FIRST CLASS MAIL PERMIT NO. 5666 CAMBRIDGE, MA". Below this section we see the words, "POSTAGE WILL BE PAID BY ADDRESSEE". This information is followed by the company's mailing information in three lines: "EASTGATE SYSTEMS INC," "PO BOX 381307," "CAMBRIDGE MA 02238-9818. On the right hand side of the card, we see "NO POSTAGE NECESSARY IF MAILED IN THE UNITED STATES" in the space where a stamp would have been placed. Bar code markings are found at the top, right hand side and bottom of the card.
Registration Card, Back
The back of the Registration Card provides the place for the user to write in information to register the product. It is divided into four sections. The first, located at the top of the card, are the words, "Please Register". This information is highlighted in a black banner running across the top of the card 1/4" below the top of the card. Below this information are the directions, italicized, which reads, "Please fill in and return this card to Eastgate. We'll make sure you get updates and hear about important new developments." The next section provides the space––totaling 11 lines–– for filling out the card. Here is where one would write the 1) "PRODUCT" name 2) user's "Name" 3) user's "Address" 5) "City" [and] "State" [and] "Zip" 6) "Country". There are four lines provided for the user to write in comments to Eastgate. The fourth section, located on the bottom left hand side, is a black box. Line one reads, "TALK TO US". Line two, "Tell us about how you use Eastgate's CIVILIZED SOFTWARE. Tell us". Line three, "how to make it better. We read every". Line four, "card at our weekly design meeting,". Line five, "and send free gifts to the best!".
CD in Sleeve, Front
The CD is packaged in a white envelope, 5" x 5" in size, with a round, clear plastic window. At the top of the envelope, 3/4" of the Eastgate Company label, which measures a total of 2 3/4" x 2 3/4", can be seen. The label reads: "©Copyright 1992 by Eastgate Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Storyspace is a trademark, and CIVILIZED SOFTWARE is a service mark of Eastgate Systems, Inc." The label functions also as a sticker that, when folded, adheres the flap to the back of the envelope. The label is split into two colors: 1 1/4" is burgundy, and 1 1/4" is a yellowish beige color. The portion of the label visible on the front of the envelop is burgundy with white type. No other markings are found on the envelope.
CD in Sleeve, Back
The back of the envelope features the label that had begun on the front of the envelope. The first portion is 3/4" and burgundy with the service make and company name rendered in two lines. Line one reads: "CIVILIZED SOFTWARE". Line two is centered within Line one and reads: "from Eastgate Systems, Inc." Below this section is the yellow beige portion of the label. We see in this section the Eastgate logo on the left hand side and the title of the work expressed in two lines. Line one reads, "Uncle Buddy's". Line two, "Phantom Funhouse". The author's name makes up the third line. All lines are centered with one another. At the bottom left hand side is Eastgate Systems, Inc.'s mailing address expressed in two lines. Line one in large letters, "Eastgate Systems, Inc.". Line two in small letters, "PO Box 1307, Cambridge MA 02238". On the right are the two phone numbers: Line one: "(800) 562-1638"; Line two, "(617) 924-9044".
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This page references:
- CD Re-release in Sleeve, Front
- CD Re-release in Sleeve, Back
- Artist Box, Opened
- Floppy Three, Front
- Cassette Two Sleeve, Front
- Insert Three, Front
- Booklet, Front
- Floppy Three, Back
- Cassette Two Sleeve, Back
- Registration Card, Front
- Artist Box Contents
- Booklet, Table of Contents
- Floppy Four, Front
- Cassette Two, Side One
- Registration Card, Back
- The Chocolate Box of Death: Uncle Buddy's Phantom Funhouse
- Booklet, Back
- Floppy Four, Back
- Cassette Two, Side Two
- Artist Box
- Floppy One, Front
- Floppy Five, Front
- Cassette One Sleeve, Front
- Artist Box, Front Cover
- Floppy One, Back
- Floppy Five, Back
- Cassette One Sleeve, Back
- Artist Box, Back Cover
- Floppy Two, Front
- Cassette One, Side One
- Insert One, Front
- Artist Box Cover, Inside
- Floppy Two, Back
- Cassette One, Side Two
- Insert Two, Front