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 shortly after, and several upgrades were made throughout the 1990s, expanding the collection of screen savers and removing some of the less-impressive ones.

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 online, 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.
  • As the program progressed, the screen savers became more impressive and took advantage of various graphical and audio devices.
  • 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.
  • From 2.0 and above, the system allows you to run multiple screen savers at once in various areas on the screen or overlapping each other.
  • There is a programmable randomizer.

Bad

  • The program is fairly resource intensive, and slows down Windows a noticeable level.
  • The bulk of the early screen savers are pretty dull.

Ugly

  • Nothing.

Screensavers

Example Name Pack Creators Description Opinion
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Artist.png Artist 3 Bob Covey, Jeff Kowalski, Paul Meyer, Maurice Metzger, Bob Bickford 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 Paul Sasse, Dann Auld, Andy Karn Disgusting slimes squirm around the screen making fart noises and exploding. 1 - Really annoying.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Boris.png Boris More Mike Overlin, Rob Vaterlaus, Igor 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 - Can of Worms.png Can of Worms 1 Tracy Elmore, Jack Eastman Colorful "worms" spill out from a hole in the screen. 1 - Interesting, but not that great.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Clocks.png Clocks, Clocks Pro 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 Paul Lamoreux, Pauol 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 - Down the Drain.png Down the Drain 2 Bill Stewart, Jim Stewart, Rob Vaterlaus The screen swirls down a drain in the center. 1 - Good idea, but the swirl is kind of blocky.
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 - Fade Away.png Fade Away 2 Bill Stewart, Ian MacDonald Clears the screen with various wipes. 1 - Effective, but dull.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Fish Pro.png Fish / Fish Pro / Aquatic Realm 1W, 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, Pro 2, 3 Jack Eastman, Bill Stewart, Tomoya Ikeda, 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, Mouse Herrell, Rob Gale 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, Igor Gasowski 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 - GraphStat.png GraphStat 2 Harry Chesley, Wes Boyd Generates nonsense graphics. 1 - It only does simple line graphs.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Gravity.png Gravity 2 Bill Stewart, Tracy Elmore, Bryce Fowler Bouncing balls drop from the top of the screen and leave a trail. 1 - The balls all have similar paths.
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 - Hall of Mirrors.png Hall of Mirrors 2 Alex Zeltser Creates "mirros" of areas of the screen that move about. 1 - Nice technical effect, but boring.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Hard Rain.png Hard Rain 2 Bill Stewart, Tracy Elmore, James Eastman Colorful drops leave ripples that eat away at the screen. 1 - Lame.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Lasers.png Lasers 2 Bill Stewart, Ian MacDonald Colorful lines sweep across the screen. 1 - Pretty basic.
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 - Magic.png Magic 2 Bill Stewart, Ian MacDonald Colorful lines dance over the screen. 2 - Enjoyable to watch.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Marbles.png Marbles 2 Mike Overlin, Kevin McLeod, Igor Gasowski 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 - Mondrian.png Mondrain 2 Bill Stewart, Wes Boyd Inverted blocks cover the screen. 1 - Pretty dull.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Mountains.png Mountains 2 Ben Haller, Eli Meir, Mouse Herrell, 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 Overlin, Glenn Corwin, Bruce Burkhalter, Igor Gasowski 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, Rob Gale 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 Paul Sasse, Gregory Becker, Andy Karn, Igor Gasowski, Tomoya Ikeda 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 - Penrose.png Penrose 2 Andy Karn, Thomas DiZoglio Draws attractive interlocking tiles across the screen. 3 - Quite nice, although a bit slow to draw.
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, Bob Schumaker, Chip Morningstar, José Carlos Colón, Mouse Herrell "Holes" are punched out of the screen. 1 - Pretty dull.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Rain.png Rain More Alex Zeltser, Mike Overlin, Anthony Carlisle Colored rain drops splash and cause ripples that dissipate. 2 - Kind of zen, but not much to it.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Rain Storm.png Rain Storm 2 Tracy Elmore, Patrick Beard Simulates a rain storm. 1 - Nice look, but quite primitive.
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 - Rose.png Rose 3 Ben Haller, Tracy Elmore Rainbow colored dots spin around the screen like a Spirograph. 1 - Nice for a few seconds.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Satori.png Satori 3 Ben Haller, Tracy Elmore Draws various blocky plasma patterns and slowly smooths them out. 3 - Generates some pretty impressive results.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Shapes.png Shapes 2 Bill Stewart Draws colorful 2-D primitives. 1 - Colorful, but boring.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - SlideShow.png Slide Show 3 Bob Bickford, Maurice Metzger Displays images from a user-defined slideshow with various wipes. 2 - A nice addition to the program.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Sounder.png Sounder 2 Rob Gale Plays random songs from a specified folder. 1 - Boring.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Spheres.png Spheres 3 Bruce Burkhalter, W. Stewart, R. Herrell Draws colorful pseudo 3-D spheres. 1 - Kind of dull, and buggy along the left side of the screen.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Spiral Gyra.png Spiral Gyra 2 Keith Alphonso, John Casey Colorful twisted lines are drawn across the screen. 2 - Pretty, but dull over all.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Spotlight.png Spotlight 3 Bob Schumaker, Chip Morningstar Spotlights bounce around the screen illuminating areas. 2 - Interesting, but not that impressive.
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, 2, 3 Craig Dickson Draws a nighttime cityscape using individual dots that flicker with the occasional shooting star. Some versions have lightning. 4 - This one is very serene. I enjoy staring at it.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - String Theory.png String Theory 2 Bill Stewart, James Eastman Colorful lines bounce across the screen leaving trails. 1 - Simple and primitive.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Swan Lake.png Swan Lake 2 B. Resner, Mike Overlin, Igor Gasowksi 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, Mouse Herrell, Tracy Elmore A shifting color palette gives the illusion of traveling down a tunnel. 2 - Colorful, but otherwise primitive.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Vertigo.png Vertigo 2 Tracy Elmore, Jack Eastman Shapes are drawn randomly on the screen and shift palette. 1 - Dull. Shapes often draw off-screen.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Warp!.png Warp! 3 Bruce Burkhalter, Tracy Elmore, Bill Stewart, Jack Eastman Simulates a black hole swirling stars into it, or ejecting them. 2 - Nice idea, but a little buggy and doesn't have a real-time frame delimiter.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Wrap Around.png Wrap Around 2 Richard Lesh Draws a curved symmetrical pattern with colorful lines. 2 - Quite attractive, even if it's simple.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - You Bet Your Head.png You Bet Your Head 3 Andrew Armstrong, Jim Merkle, Matt Small, Valerie Singer Asks random trivia questions on an animated game show. 2 - Interesting concept, but the questions are pretty unusual.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Zooommm!.png Zooommm! 3 Steven Harris, Robert Bickford Various wireframe shapes speed toward the viewer. 1 - Kind of dull.
After Dark - WIN3 - Screenshot - Zot!.png Zot! 2 Bill Stewart, Jim Stewart Simulates lightning strikes. 1 - Nice lightning simulation, but a bit too simple.

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