The Game: Not really a game at all, The Newsroom is a primitive – and yet very flexible – example of early desktop publishing. Clip art can be added, or imported from hi-res graphics files. Headline banners and other specialized items can be added as well. (Springboard Software, 1984)
Memories: I know this one really stretches the envelope – after all, Phosphor Dot Fossils is supposed to be about games, isn’t it? – but to me, The Newsroom was the source of so much fun (not to mention instigating some critical early career interests in my teenage life) that it’d be hard for me to not talk about it here.
The Newsroom was one of the earliest examples of a WYSIWYG desktop publisher that I can think of on the low-end consumer market, and was (for the most part) very easy to use. Whether controlled by tedious (but precise) keyboard movements, or by faster (but less controllable) joystick means, The Newsroom made it easy to create a decent layout – and it wasn’t just in my junior high school journalism class either. Everybody used this program.
Part of what catapulted The Newsroom into killer app status was its cross-platform ability; I had a buddy who had the Commodore 64 version of The Newsroom, and we could exchange artwork and completed publications via modem. That alone put The Newsroom far ahead of its team – and other applications such as The Print Shop rushed to add a similar ability afterward.
Springboard issued two more Clip Art Collections that I’m aware of, and may have released more. Using the import function, one could add graphics from other programs, including The Print Shop.