IdleWild is a plug-in based screensaver program for Windows 3 developed by Bradford Christian and first published by Microsoft in the Microsoft Entertainment Pack for Windows in 1990. Entertainment packs two and three each added several more screen savers. Bradford Christian and Tony Krueger wrote most of the screen savers, but a couple others were developed by other programmers. The program was no doubt an attempt to duplicate the success After Dark had on the Macintosh, but it failed.
Because my family had the first Entertainment Pack on our 1991 computer, I saw the screen savers from the first IdleWild, but I didn't see the others until many years later. I thought they were kind of neat, but pretty boring over all. When I saw the vastly superior After Dark on my friend Kevin's computer, I was even less-impressed by it.
I have never owned a copy of any of the Entertainment Packs, so I never owned IdleWild.
- Unlike most Windows 3 programs, the program takes advantage of variable screen resolutions.
- Impressively, the program is forward-compatible all the way up to Windows XP.
- It has several useful screen saver features like password locking and hot spot activation.
- With the first three Entertainment Packs, you get 21 total screen savers.
- Most of the screensavers are pretty dull, especially compared to the creativity seen in After Dark.
- Few of the screen savers are customizable, and those that are are only mildly so.
- None of the screen savers take advantage color palettes beyond the default 16.
- None of the screen savers take advantage of sound cards.
|Blackness||1||Bradford Christian||Just blacks out the screen.||1 - Pretty dull, but certainly effective.|
|Boat Race||3||Tony Krueger||Sailboats race around buoys.||2 - It's a nice attempt, but the boats look really weird rotating the way they do, and I would have liked to see water or waves.|
|Bricks||2||Ed Jalley||Breaks the screen up into a grid and eliminates blocks, while the others fall into place.||1 - Pretty dull with clunky movement.|
|Chomp||3||Ed Jalley||Bites are taken out of the screen starting at the corners.||1 - The bites occur at blocky even intervals.|
|Dancing Lines||1||Bradford Christian||Color-shifting lines bounce around the screen and leave behind a trail.||3 - Pretty, zen-like, and effective. Later expanded into a Windows 95 screensaver called called "Mystify Your Mind." I recreated this for modern versions of Windows as Mystique.|
|Divide & Conquer||3||Tony Krueger||Doubles the screen alternating horizontally and vertically.||2 - Interesting to watch, but not an effective screen saver.|
|Dropout||1||Tony Krueger||Parts of the screen pop out and bounce away like the ending of Solitaire.||2 - Fun, but still kind of dull.|
|Fade Away||3||Tony Krueger||Slowly fades individual screen colors to black.||2 - A nice attempt at fading when stuck in 4-bit color, but only works with higher color depth on a very fast PC.|
|Fireworks||1||Bradford Christian||Fireworks shoot up into the black screen and explode while a fountain continually jets sparks.||3 - The fireworks are nice, but the unending fountain should have been randomized.|
|IconBownz!||3||Doug Timpe||Bounces a random icon across the screen.||1 - Boring.|
|Life||2||Bradford Christian||Runs a random simulation of Conway's Game of Life.||3 - Fun to watch and bet on which color will be the victor. I wish it allowed file loading.|
|Mandelbrot||2||Matthew Bellew||Cycles through random sections of the Mandelbrot set.||3 - I enjoy seeing the set, I just wish it would have taken advantage of 256 colors.|
|Oriental Rug||3||Tony Krueger||Draws repeating patterns in dots resembling a rug.||1 - The customization is nice, but the patterns are pretty dull.|
|Random||1||Bradford Christian||Picks a random screensaver from the list.||1 - I wish you could blacklist unwanted screen savers from the random list.|
|Shuffle||2||Tony Krueger||Turns the screen into a number slider puzzle and plays forever.||1 - Too basic.|
|Spider Web||2||Tony Krueger||Draws line art spider webs.||2 - I wish the spiral would extend larger, and the width increase is too noticeable.|
|Spotlights||2||Tony Krueger||Dims the screen and spotlights randomly move around.||2 - Kind of neat to watch.|
|Stars||1||Bradford Christian||A basic star field simulator, a la Star Trek.||1 - The stars should increase in size as they near and it would have been nicer if Christian took advantage of the EGA's three shades of gray.|
|Stretch||2||Tony Krueger||Randomly zooms and stretches the screen.||2 - Certainly interesting looking, but a poor screen saver.|
|Tinfoil||3||Ed Halley||Embosses the screen in gray.||2 - Nice to see once or twice, but not that impressive.|
|Trails||3||Michael Gates||Colored worms slowly eat away at the screen.||2 - Fun to watch, I just wish the worms looked better.|
|Wipe Out||1||Bradford Christian||Performs a basic wipe to black and then jumps to a random screen saver.||1 - The variation of wipes is nice, but it's a primitive screen saver.|