A screensaver is a program designed to prevent burn-in from occurring on a display device like a monitor or television when it isn't practical to simply turn the device off. Since burn-in occurs when individual pixels are left on for a prolonged period of time, screensavers are designed to frequently change the color and intensity of all the pixels in the display. The easiest to make, least energy intensive, and best way to protect the device is simply set all of the pixels to black, but this isn't always desirable. Advertisements tend to be among the most popular screensavers used by businesses, but the screensavers that truly stand out are those designed for the home user. Screensavers hit their peak in the early-to-mid 1990s, after the success of After Dark and, much like the demoscene, various developers worked to outdo each other with the most interesting visual effects. Screensavers began to fall out of fashion in the 2000s. The last version of Windows to feature updated screensavers was Windows Vista in 2006, and Windows 10, although it still allows for them, hides the setting to turn them on.
The first computer my parents bought around 1991 had Microsoft Entertainment Pack for Windows loaded on it, and this came with the screensaver program, IdleWild. It wasn't the first screensaver I had ever seen, but it was the first time I got to play around with one at my leisure. I thought it was really interesting, but didn't have nearly enough screensavers to watch, and I wished I had the understanding to make new ones myself. Later, a friend of mine showed by After Dark. He had version 2 for Windows, and I absolutely loved it. I would frequently pester him to go through the various screensavers and watch some of the more interesting ones for a long time. Graphics demos made up a lot of the programs I wrote in QuickBASIC, and, after becoming a better programmer, started programming my own screensavers, like Mystique, but, because they aren't really used any more, and I hate programming to GPUs, I rarely work on them.
The following screensaver software is important to me. For all screensavers see the category.
|After Dark||1989-??-??||The most popular screensaver program. Lots of interesting screensavers, but a plenty of boring ones too.|
|IdleWild||1990-??-??||A rip-off of After Dark.|
|Mystique||2020-02-14||My own remake of Dancing Lines.|
|Windows screensaver||1995-08-24||Showcases the lack of creativity at Microsoft.|