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.
  • Later versions of the program removed most of the basic screen savers from the earlier versions. In general, this was good since they were dull, but if you liked the older ones, you lost them.

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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