However, I had no idea there were other EA advertisements other than that one! While paging through the November 1983 issue of Scientific American, I came upon this:
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I searched for pieces of its text online, and could not find it anywhere. Is it possible this intriguing follow-up ad is not archived anywhere on the net? No worries, though, because the remainder of this post contains the full text, transcribed hopefully with no errors by yours truly.
(1) I didn't want to put my old magazine through the hazards of a scanner, so the above cell-phone pic is as good as it gets for now. I could attempt to snap higher resolution pics, but now that you know it's the Nov. '83 issue of SciAm, and that it's on pages 24B and 24C of said issue, you may be able to find it elsewhere.
(2) I presume the text below remains copyrighted by Electronic Arts, but I hope my transcription can be viewed as "fair use" since it is of clear historical interest, and it seems to exist nowhere else on the net (as of August 2013 anyway).
(3) There are some unintentionally chuckle-worthy moments in this text. Maybe there's a bit too much of a halo erected around Budge, too. Still, it's a fascinating slice of life from those heady early days. Please comment away about the content.
(4) There may be other ads in this series, too. If I find any more, as I go through my moldy stack of magazines, I could post them. Is there interest in that?
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Bill Budge wants to write a program so human that turning it off would be an act of murder.
Are you sure you want to call this guy an artist?
[Main body text:]
In a bedroom in a frame house in Berkeley, California, a guy who looks like he might have stepped out of a TV family series is playing with some ideas that could change your life. They are ideas that are amusing, even charming. And they are ideas that are, quite frankly, a little scary.
His name is Bill Budge and he talks about things like how programming for a microcomputer is like writing a poem using a 600-word vocabulary. He talks about how the elements are so limited and how you have to make them mean so much. And he talks about how, if you do it right, you can make those elements suggest something more than aliens -- something that begins to make you believe it has a life of its own, something he calls "a software friend."
A software friend. It sinks in slowly.
To create a personality in the computer, you have to come to some decisions about what the personality is in the first place. We often think of it in nearly the same way we think of "habit" or "character traits" -- a way of describing continuity in our behavior from one moment to the next. (F. Scott Fitzgerald called it "a series of consistent gestures.")
According to Budge, however, the essence of a software friend is quite the opposite. "Creating the illusion of personality," he says, "means creating an intelligence that's always changing. It reacts differently to different situations."
The idea is probably ten years away from actuality. But when it comes to working such a mojo on our home computers, well, Budge stands about as good a chance as anyone of pulling it off.
After all, look at PINBALL CONSTRUCTION SET. Everyone always knew Budge was good, but when he cranked out PINBALL, well, the switchboard lit up like a Christmas tree.
It was a program that changed the way people thought about personal computers. Instead of reacting to the machine, you were suddenly inside it, trafficking information this way and that, making things. It was like programming, but with familiar items -- you'd grab this bumper, move those flippers, change the colors, then shoot a ball through it all and wonder. Maybe for the first time in a popular program, you could feel the power of the computer.
Steve Wozniak called it "the best program ever written for an 8-bit machine." And suddenly, what-Budge-would-do-next was something you heard people talking about. To Budge himself, however, things weren't quite that simple.
"Sometimes I worry," he says. "I worry about the ability of software to absorb you, focus on you, steal you away from your family and friends. Because in its short-term excitement, it seems to be more interesting. Of course, it's not."
He leans on his hand. "Not yet."
[Upper-right inset text:]
Bill Budge's classic PINBALL CONSTRUCTION SET is just one of more than a dozen remarkable publications by a company called Electronic Arts. We're an association of software artists, united by a common goal: we want to realize the potential of the home computer. To do this, we're creating software worthy not only of the capabilities of these machines, but also of the minds that use them. If you'd like to know more about our company and its products, call ... or write us at ... [old contact info omitted]
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