Johnny Castaway

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Johnny Castaway
Developer(s) Sierra On-Line/Dynamix[1]
Initial release 1992; 25 years ago (1992)[2][3][4]
Stable release
1.02 / 1993; 24 years ago (1993)[5]
Operating system Windows 3.1
Type screensaver

Johnny Castaway is a screensaver released in 1992 by Sierra On-Line/Dynamix, and marketed under the Screen Antics brand as "the world's first story-telling screen saver".

The screensaver depicts a man, Johnny Castaway, stranded on a very small island with a single palm tree. It follows a story which is slowly revealed through time. It takes many days to catch on to the story. While Johnny fishes, builds sand castles, and jogs on a regular basis, other events are seen less frequently, such as a mermaid or Lilliputian pirates coming to the island, or a seagull swooping down to steal his shorts while he is bathing. Much like the castaways of Gilligan's Island, Johnny repeatedly comes close to being rescued, but ultimately remains on the island as a result of various unfortunate accidents.[6]

"Johnny Castaway" includes Easter eggs for a number of United States holidays such as Halloween, Christmas and Independence Day. During these holidays, the scenes are played out as usual except for some detail representing that holiday or event. During the last week of the year, for example, the palm tree will sport a "Happy New Year" banner, and on Halloween a jack-o'-lantern can be seen in the sand. The screensaver can be manipulated into showing these features by adjusting the computer clock to correspond with the date of the event.

The Johnny Castaway screensaver was distributed on a 3½-inch floppy disk and required a computer with a 386SX processor and Windows 3.1 as its operating system. Today, it is widely available on the internet, but as it relies on outdated 16-bit software components, it will only work on 32-bit versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system, which still support 16-bit applications, although workarounds exist for getting the screensaver to run on Windows 64-bit, Mac OS X and Linux.[7]

Character design was done by Shawn Bird while he was at Dynamix. The program had been developed at Jeff Tunnell Productions, the eponymous company of the original founder of Dynamix.[8] According to Ken Williams, the screensaver was one of several products by Dynamix that were not costly to create and yet very profitable, like The Incredible Machine and Hoyle Card Games, also published by Sierra.[9]

Reception[edit]

Computer Gaming World called Johnny Castaway "a great launch" for the Screen Antics series, concluding that "Fans of Johnny Hart-style comics and sight gag lovers everywhere should love it".[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ After Hours:Screen Savers:DYNAMIX Johnny Castaway, By Donald B. Trivette, PC Mag, 30 Mar 1993, Page 450, ...it takes about 120 days...to complete the tale...
  2. ^ Window Dressing By Barry Simon, PC Mag, 29 Sep 1992, Page 167, ...On the screensaver horizn, Sierra On-Line...has announced Screen Antics: Johnny Castaway, a screensaver with an evolving story line...
  3. ^ Review: Three screen savers, COMPUTE! ISSUE 157 / OCTOBER 1993 / PAGE 108
  4. ^ Industry News: Rumors, Jun 4, 1992, Computer Gaming World Issue 95, Page 18, ...For those wondering what Jeff Tun- nell, former president of Dynamix, is upto, our spies tell us that his group (still working with Dynamix) is planning to publish a screen-saver for Windows 3.1 called The Castaway. It is a delightful on-line cartoon in which a little guy marooned on a desert island wanders all about the island, breaking out fishing gear, throwing coconuts at passing ships, putting notes in bottles, etc..., Textfiles.com
  5. ^ "Sierra FTP - Demos, Johnny Castaway Screen Saver, Size: 1.3 Mb, OS: PC, Type: Goodie". Archived from the original on October 5, 1999. Retrieved 2017-04-26. 
  6. ^ a b Emrich, Alan; Wilson, Johnny L. (January 1993). "The Misadventures of Johnny Castaway". Computer Gaming World. p. 16. Retrieved 5 July 2014. 
  7. ^ "Johnny Castaway". Screensavers Planet. Retrieved July 4, 2015. 
  8. ^ Shawn Bird. "Johnny Castaway". 
  9. ^ Philip Jong. "Ken Williams (Interview)". Retrieved July 4, 2015. 

External links[edit]