Timeline of Computer History

Doom software box

Doom is released

An immersive first-person shooter-style game, Doom becomes popular on many different platforms. Initially distributed via USENET newsgroups, Doom attracted a massive following. Doom players were also among the first to customize the game’s levels and appearance though ‘modding.’ Some criticized the level of violence portrayed in Doom, and it was cited as a prime reason for US Congressional hearings on video game violence in 1995. Doom spawned several sequels and a 2005 film.

Jurassic Park movie poster

Jurassic Park released

Director Steven Spielberg's story of resurrected dinosaurs, Jurassic Park, becomes the highest-grossing film to date. Based on a novel by Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park told the story of a group of visitors to an island where dinosaurs are unleashed to run amok in an uncompleted amusement park. To create realistic-looking dinosaurs, Spielberg's team combined animatronics, puppetry, and cutting-edge computer animation.

Debut issue of Wired

Wired Magazine debuts

Considered by some to be "the Rolling Stone of Technology," Wired magazine is founded by Jane Metcalfe and Louis Rossette. Wired grew out of publications like The Whole Earth Catalog, and featured a cutting edge design philosophy when it first appeared in January of 1993. Articles from many of the top names in technology, politics, entertainment, and literature often dealt with computer and network innovations and their cultural impact. Wired is frequently credited with popularizing terms such as ‘The Long Tail' and 'crowdsourcing'.

The Apple Newton Personal Digital Assistant

Apple ships the first Newton

Apple entered the handheld computer market with the Newton. Dubbed a “Personal Data Assistant” by Apple President John Scully in 1992, the Newton featured many of the features that would define handheld computers in the following decades. The handwriting recognition software was much maligned for inaccuracy. The Newton line never performed as well as hoped and was discontinued in 1998.

Myst software box

Fantasy game Myst is released

Developed by brothers Robyn and Ryan Miller, Myst becomes one of the best-known games of the 1990s. Distributed by Broderbund for the Macintosh, Myst took the player on an adventure as The Stranger, using a magical book to track the time traveling character Atrus through the Ages of Myst. The game required players to solve puzzles and find clues to discover the nature of the island of Myst. Myst is often credited with greatly increasing the sales of CD-ROM drives for computers. The game became the best-selling personal computer game of all-time – a distinction it would hold until 2002.

FreeBSD CD-ROM cover

FreeBSD is launched

FreeBSD, a complete Unix-like operating system is launched. It was the most widely used open-source BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution) variant. After its initial release, the software was significantly re-engineered due to a lawsuit between Unix copyright holder Unix Systems Laboratories and the University of California, Berkeley. The lawsuit revolved around source code in Berkeley’s 4.3BSD-Lite which was the basis of the FreeBSD operating system. FreeBSD incorporated features including networking, storage, security, portability and Linux compatibility.

Windows NT screenshot

Microsoft Windows NT is released

Microsoft Windows NT is released. Work on the project began in the late 1980s in an effort spearheaded by a group of former Digital Equipment Corporation employees led by Dave Cutler. It was the first truly 32-bit version of Windows from Microsoft, which made it appealing to high-end engineering and scientific users that required better performance. A number of subsequent versions of Windows were based on NT technology.

Project TACT team

Project TACT launched

Morphing sequence from Black or White

Michael Jackson's Black or White video premieres

Terminator 2: Judgment Day movie poster

Terminator 2: Judgment Day opens

Bjarne Stroustrup

The C++ Programming Language is published

3 ½-inch floppy disk drive

3 ½-inch floppy drive