On August 11, 1987, Bill Atkinson announced a new product from Apple for the Macintosh; a multimedia, easily programmed system called HyperCard. HyperCard brought into one sharp package the ability for a Macintosh to do interactive documents with calculation, sound, music and graphics. It was a popular package, and thousands of HyperCard “stacks” were created using the software.
Additionally, commercial products with HyperCard at their heart came to great prominence, including the original Myst program.
Flourishing for the next roughly ten years, HyperCard slowly fell by the wayside to the growing World Wide Web, and was officially discontinued as a product by Apple in 2004. It left behind a massive but quickly disappearing legacy of creative works that became harder and harder to experience.
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Hypercard, we’re bringing it back.
After our addition of in-browser early Macintosh emulation earlier this year, the Internet Archive now has a lot of emulated Hypercard stacks available for perusal, and we encourage you to upload your own, easily and quickly.
If you have Hypercard stacks in .sit, .bin.hqx, and other formats, visit this contribution site to have your stack added quickly and easily to the Archive: http://hypercardonline.tk
This site, maintained by volunteer Andrew Ferguson, will do a mostly-automatic addition of your stack into the Archive, including adding your description and creating an automatic screenshot. Your cards shall live again!
Along with access to the original HyperCard software in the browser, the Archive’s goal of “Access to ALL Knowledge” means there’s many other related items to the Hypercard programs themselves, and depending on how far you want to dig, there’s a lot to discover.
There are entire books written about Hypercard, of course – for example, The Complete Hypercard Handbook (1988) and the Hypercard Developers’ Guide (1988), which walk through the context and goals of Hypercard, and then the efforts to program in it.
If you prefer to watch video about Hypercard, the Archive has you covered as well. Here’s an entire episode about Hypercard. As the description indicates: “Guests include Apple Fellow and Hypercard creator Bill Atkinson, Hypercard senior engineer Dan Winkler, author of “The Complete Hypercard Handbook” Danny Goodman, and Robert Stein, Publisher of Voyager Company. Demonstrations include Hypercard 1.0, Complete Car Cost Guide, Focal Point, Laserstacks, and National Galllery of Art.”
Our goal to bring historic software back to a living part of the landscape continues, so feel free to dig in, bring your stacks to life, and enjoy the often-forgotten stacks of yore.