The Nostalgia of Word Processors

Dark Room screen cap

On Tuesday, Albert Berg reposted a wonderful typing gadget that gives your computer a very 80’s-esque word processor feel.  The program is Dark Room and I would highly recommend it for anyone that wants to get back to that old stage of literally, ‘blank screen’.  No bells and whistles really.  Just an ‘old fashioned’ black screen with green type.  (The color can be changed to whatever color of typeface you want, as well as the font style and screen color)  Just a blank screen with no distractions of spell check and any number of features that are fun to ‘play’ with.

I remember that first  computer/word processor my sister and I had as children.  I think I was about five or six when we got this used, starting to have issues, word processor.  You could change the screen to green with black type, or black with green type.  It sat in our playroom and we would pretend to be amazing secretaries, doctors typing up medical reports,  or maybe we were filling out our spy plans.  Whatever the case, it was all done in a very secretive language of  ‘hit the keys any ole which way’.  A language so secretive that even for us, the ‘story’ would change  because we couldn’t remember what we had written.  Not that it mattered.

When I was a few years older, after the ‘green’ word processor called it quits and wouldn’t turn on any more, from a neighbor we were bestowed with two monstrous word processors. These were cool.  They took up about eight cubic feet and they used eight inch floppy disks.  Does anyone remember those?  Oh pardon, those disks might have been even larger.  Well, I was eight!  Everything seemed huge then.  Any ways, one of the word processors went up to the playroom, and the other one was in the family room for me and my sister to do school papers on.  Either that or Mom would type things on them as well.

The 'orange' type word processor

These word processors were the kind with orange type and black screen.  They also had a few more functions with their ability to safe on the floppies and you could ‘go’ to other places on the computer.  Areas where I always wondered what the heck the ‘language’ was.  Now that I’m older, I’m sure it was just how and what ran the computer.  Whatever the case, I learned how to type, save, get the basics of computers down, and whatnot on those processors.  I think it might have been the start of my writing career.  Who knows.  All I know is I had fun on them.  I even had my own private disk for those secretive things I would write, like a pre diary.

Now you ask, what is that bit of nostalgia for?  Well it’s just me saying this program, Dark Room, is very cool.  It’s has a very word processor feel.  Something I’ve actually been looking for, for a while.  Okay, maybe not so much the word processor thing, but something that I could just type on and not have a distraction.  I had actually been contemplating asking my grandparents for their electric typewriter due to the fact that I could type on it and have a hard copy of something printed, without having to turn on my laptop and print something.  Sure, I still have to turn on my laptop to print something even with Dark Room, but at the same time, if I don’t want to worry about spell correcting or anything, I can probably just print from the program.  I’m even wondering if I can carry the program around on my flash drive to use at other places when I just want to type.

It’s a very cool little program. Something I will hopefully use frequently as I am forever getting distracted and not typing too well.  There is something very appealing to a very blank screen.  Kind of like that blank sheet of paper.  It’s just waiting for you to fill it up.

And this whole post was typed on Dark Room, with gasp! only three spelling errors.  Wow, I must be getting better.  That, or it’s easier to see spelling errors on a black screen with green type.

Well, I recommend checking out the program here (again a link in case you didn’t click on the first one)….  Dark Room.  And I would also recommend Albert Berg’s post on it as well on it as well.  The Beauty of the Blank Page: Tips for Defeating Digital Diversions

Hmm, now if only my laptop had a keyboard that sounded more like those old clickity clackity keyboards……

~Writing on


4 thoughts on “The Nostalgia of Word Processors

  1. Oooo, distraction free… that sounds delicious.

    My dad built my first computer while I was away on vacation with mom… I think we might have been camping. He had loaded a series of games for kids to play. The only one I remember clearly was a frog in a maze. The maze looked sort of like someone built it out of “|” and “_” and “-“, sort of like the game was JUST this side of being a text picture.

    Siiigh, nostalgia…

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