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Did anyone else have a screen saver feature like Atari in 1979?


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Did any early home computer have a screen saver feature like Atari in 1979 or the early 80's for that matter? Thought about it the other day that Atari engineers in their infinite wisdom understood that the same static graphics on a CRT screen could be burned into the tube if left overnight. Did the Apple II or Commodore 64 have a screen saver feature?


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The Wiki article has a little bit of history and even the relevant Atari mentions https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screensaver

though "The user had no control over this" is wrong, it can be programatically overridden.


Most other computers of the time either/both didn't have adequate palettes or use palette registers that control all colours like most of the Atari's modes do.

I suppose with the C64 they could have cycled the screen border/background through low luminance colours but the foreground colour in standard text has unique colour-Ram attributes that you'd need to preserve if an attract mode was to be done.


I can't think of any other 8-bit computer that had it - did Atari even bother attempting it on the 7800 games?

For the ST and Amiga there were 3rd party screensavers (like animated PC ones). On both those machines it should be very easy to do old-style attract mode cycling since most modes use full colour indirection via palette registers).

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Interesting topic and one I was recently considering myself: the presence of built in screen-saver technology in the 5200 and Atari 8 bit computers (vs. other contemporary hardware).


Deferring to more knowledgeable folks here, doesn't the screen-saver/auto color changing function of the 5200 and Atari 8 bit computers also help serve to protect the CTIA/GTIA chip as well?

Or was it just for protecting CRT sets?


Thank you for reading/considering my question in advance!


I tried to google this topic but didn't find anything beyond a few wikis like the one linked above; none were particularly useful in trying to determine why Atari hardware engineers implemented the screen-saver/auto color changing functions.

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Since a lot of these systems are being used on LCD screens now days, and therefore less touchy about screen burn-in, I built-in a function in the TK-II (PS/2 to A8 keyboard adapter) that allows the screen saver to be enabled or disabled purely as a key event. So by pressing CTRL+ALT+S you can toggle this feature ON and OFF, with the state saved in the TK-II's EEPROM to be restored upon power-up. You can also use ALT+S to see the present setting. The way it works is about once every 3 minutes it sends a single CTRL+SHIFT+A key press which is the null key for the A8, so it doesn't activate the key click, but it does reset the "attract mode" counter. this idea was originally given to me by Kyle22.


BTW, the null key send is done at the absolute fastest way possible, and only registers as a blip in any program that can see it (something that takes over the key handler). And since the TK-II has a built-in interrupt driven keyboard buffer, this once every 3 minute null key send never interferes with normal typing.

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