After Dark

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Control box for version 3.2.

After Dark is a plug-in based screen saver program developed and published by Berkeley Systems for Macintosh in 1989. A Windows 3 version was released in 1992, and several upgrades were released until the last version (4.0) was released in 1996.

I never had After Dark, but a friend of mine did, and I loved watching the various screen savers that it came with. I only had the first release of IdleWild, which wasn't nearly as interesting. Many years later, when DOSBox was effective at running Windows 3, and After Dark was readily available, I finally got to see all of the interesting screensavers with the most multimedia version of Windows 3.

Review

Good

  • All of the screen savers take advantage of variable screen resolutions, and most of them use a 256 color palette and sound.
  • It has several useful screen saver features like password locking and hot spot activation.
  • There is a large variety of screen savers including abstract, whimsical, funny, and serene.
  • Most of the screen savers have a fair amount of configuration to them which auto saves, and most of them allow a random element to their settings.

Bad

  • The program is fairly resource intensive, slowing down Windows.

Ugly

  • Nothing.

Screensavers

Example Name Pack Creator Description Opinion
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Artist.png Artist 3 B. Covey, J. Kowalski, Paul Meyer Draws a bitmap using random strokes. 3 - Quite interesting to watch, but I wish bitmaps could be chosen from folder.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Bad Dog!.png Bad Dog! 3 Laurence Arcadias, Paul Meyer A cartoon dog runs around the screen making a mess. 3 - Pretty funny.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Bogglins.png Bogglins More P Sasse, D. Auld, A. Karn Disgusting slimes squirm around the screen making fart noises and exploring. 1 - Really annoying.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Boris.png Boris More M. Overlin, R. Vaterlaus, I. Gasowski A kitten chases a butterfly and occasionally purrs. 3 - Very cute and fun to watch.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Bugs.png Bugs 3 Rob Blair, Kim Payne, Dana Muise Bugs crawl across the screen. 2 - Well made, but rather disturbing.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Clocks.png Clocks 2, 3 Bob Bickford, Kim Payne, Dana Muise A clock face of varying types bounce around the screen. Updated in version 3. 2 - Functional.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - ConfettiFactory.png ConfettiFactory More P. Lamoreux, P. Young A screen with various boxes and conveyors is slowly covered with "confetti" that piles up. Funny "duck crossing" refreshes the screen. 3 - I love watching this one slowly accumulate, I only wish it could be set to run longer.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Daredevil Dan.png Daredevil Dan 3 Andrew Armstrong, Dana Muise A motorcyclist jumps buses, flames, and piranha tanks, occasionally crashing. 3 - Humorous animations, well made.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - DOS Shell.png DOS Shell 3 Ed Hall Drops to DOS and runs random commands. 2 - A good idea, but does too many nonsense commands.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Draw Morph.png Draw Morph 3 E. Inada, J. Dorfman, M. Metzger Morphs across various vector drawings. 3 - Several categories, but also a custom builder. Unfortunately, doesn't have a real-time frame delay.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Fish Pro.png Fish 2, 3 Jeff Thomas, Dana Muise Simulates an aquarium, upgraded for version 3. 3 - Great graphics, nice and soothing to watch.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Flying Toasters.png Flying Toasters 2, 3 Jack Eastman, Paul Meyer, Vann Miller, Bruce Burkhalter, Brian Chen, Bob Bickford, Jarir Maani, Nick Rush Toasters fly across the screen, upgraded for version 3 1 - Funny the first time, annoying every other time.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Flying Toilets.png Flying Toilets 3 Scott Garcia, Robert Cuenca Toasters fly across the screen, upgraded for version 3 1 - Juvenile.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Frost and Fire.png Frost and Fire 3 Craig Dickson, Oliver Steele Generates psychedelic swirling patterns. 3 - Great looking, but slow on most PCs of the day.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - GeoBounce.png GeoBounce 2 Ed Hall, R. Herrell Bounces one of several basic 3D shapes around the screen. 1 - Nice shading (though it doesn't use a 256 color palette), but the bouncing isn't coded very well.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Globe.png Globe 2 Jack Eastman, Wes Boyd Bounces a rotating globe of the Earth around the screen. 2 - I like that the texture can be customized, though it would be nice if they included more textures.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Guts.png Guts 3 Wes Cherry, Ferdinand Rios, Mike Overlin Various objects fly around according to a physics equation leaving behind a trail. 2 - Good idea, but doesn't use a real-time frame delimiter.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Logo.png Logo 3 James Eastman, Bob Bickford A user-specified image bounces around the screen. 1 - Boring, but useful for companies.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Marbles.png Marbles 2 M. Overlin, K. McLeod Marbles are shot from the top of the screen and bounce off bumpers until the reach the bottom. 4 - I love the slow accumulation, and still giggle at the smiley face marble. I wish they used 256 colors.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Messages.png Messages 3 Bruce Burkhalter, Colin Glassey, Bob Bickford A user-specified message bounces around the screen. 1 - Boring, but customizable.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Mountains.png Mountains 2 B. Haller, T. Elmore Renders a 3D mountain scape. 3 - Includes alternate palettes and terrain styles.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Mowin' Man.png Mowin' Man More Mike, Glenn, Bruce Grass and flowers grow randomly across the screen and are mowed over by a man on a riding tractor. Night falls as well. 2 - Nicely designed, but dull after awhile.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Nirvana.png Nirvana 3 Andy Karn Line patterns are drawn with a shifted palette. 3 - Nicely zen.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Nocturnes.png Nocturnes 2 J. Steinmetz, R. Herrell Draws eyes in the dark. 1 - The sound effects are a good touch, but it's pretty dull.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Nonsense.png Nonsense 3 Rob Blair, Bob Bickford Generates nonsense sentences and randomly displays them. 1 - The sentences are usually too abstract to be enjoyable.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Om Appliances.png Om Appliances More P. Sasse, G. Becker Refrigerators and washing machines float across the screen making noise. 1 - Kind of a ripoff of the Flying Toasters, but with more noise.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Photon.png Photon 3 Brian Lowry, Vann Miller Random colorful lines erupt from a center point. 2 - Pretty, but nothing too impressive.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Puzzle.png Puzzle 3 Bill Stewart, John Rotenstein, Rob Gale Turns the screen into a slider puzzle. 1 - Kind of dull.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Punch Out.png Punch Out 2 Bill Stewart "Holes" are punched out of the screen. 1 - Pretty dull.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Rain.png Rain More A. Zeltser, M. Overlin, A. Carlisle Colored rain drops splash and cause ripples that dissipate. 2 - Kind of zen, but not much to it.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Rat Race.png Rat Race 3 Andrew Armstrong, Matt Small Three rats run around a race track. 2 - Cute animations, but boring to watch.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Ray.png Ray 3 Dan Michaeloff Bounces gem-like objects around the screen. 2 - Impressive feat at the time, but rather dull today.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Rebound.png Rebound 3 Rat Kemmer, Bob Bickford, Bruce Burkhalter, Dana Muise Balls bounce around the screen and off each other. 1 - Boring, and doesn't run smoothly.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Stained Glass.png Stained Glass 2 J. Tantra, Wes Boyd A colorful geometric pattern is drawn on the screen and tiled around it. 2 - Interesting, but so random it usually just looks like a mess. Should have been given better aesthetics.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Starry Night.png Starry Night 1 Craig Dickson Draws a nighttime cityscape using individual dots that flicker with the occasional shooting star. 4 - This one is very serene. I enjoy staring at it.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Swan Lake.png Swan Lake 2 B. Resner, M. Overlin Swans swim around a black pool. 3 - Another serene one. The swans are well drawn, but their animation is a bit choppy.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Tunnel.png Tunnel More Darin Gurney, R. Herrell A shifting color palette gives the illusion of traveling down a tunnel. 2 - Colorful, but otherwise primitive.

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