1988 (?! Captured 1990 at the latest) ANSI art celebrating the Seoul Summer Olympics by Václav Pinkava. Nice rings! As the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio have just begun, I suppose I can put this post off no longer...
Sometime in September-ish 2015 I logged into Kirkman's SynchroNet telnet BBS The Guardian of Forever, to get an in-person sneak peek at the parallax-scrolling mermaid ANSImation Kirkman's technology had made possible and Whazzit had drawn sprites for, intended for release in the Mistigris 21st anniversary artpack. (Have I mentioned that we are currently soliciting submissions for the 22nd anniversary artpack?) Over the course of my account creation and login to this (formerly) private node -- then-intended exclusively for the use of him and his family (but now open to the public at telnet://guardian.synchro.net, complete with other ANSI experiments!) -- I was exposed to some ANSI art (on a BBS? appropriate enough!) celebrating his family’s favorite professional sports teams (say what?!) ... and I was stopped in my tracks. In the whole of my dial-up BBSing career, which admittedly was only a 6-year window in the '90s, I'd never seen such a thing. The very notion that a computer nerd could have overlap with the obsessions of a sports fan seemed anathema to me. On further reflection, both fields' bottomless potential for aspie grasp over entire spreadsheets of abstract figures and esoteric minutitae make the existence of the "sports nerd" (like "health goth", a seeming oxymoron) reconciled as ... at the least, possible in my head. All the same, it's not something I saw any representation of in my years in the computer art underground, so maybe it's possible that celebrating these interests in this dovetailed way was something particular to the public domain ANSI tradition specifically.
This hypothesis was born out by the curations from textfiles.org's PD ANSI art slush-pile, which contained... a great deal of sports-related ANSI art, specimen after specimen out of all proportion to how prominently sports figured as an interest in the underground. Angling to give equal airtime to the newer, more iconic underground ANSI art tradition, I mined the Sixteen Colours archives for updates on the topic, but found myself turning up goose eggs for obvious searches for terms such as "Wimbledon", "hat trick", "Super Bowl" and "Home run". Perhaps it may not have been that artscene kids were anti-sport so much as that the '90s saw the rise of skateboarding, mountain biking, snowboarding and alt/extreme sports? (hello, bungee jumping, wakeboarding, B.A.S.E. jumping...) (and, ahem, e-sports.) The period saw entire sports industries on their way up or down in overall popularity through the period (hello, basketball and hockey; goodbye, baseball and football) as well as the micro case also: plenty of art celebrating local teams that no longer exist, as married to a particular moment in time as ANSI art itself was! 8)
Kirkman respectfully disagrees, by which he means that his local PD BBS community demonstrated a much healthier interest in sports than mine did:
I know every BBS scene was different, but I think there were plenty of sports fans calling BBSes, especially adults. Some BBSes ran “football pick-em” or “football pool” tournaments, for example. These were either run manually though the message bases, or managed by a door game. I participated in one on Flash BBS in St. Louis for a couple years.Case in point, here's a piece by "ANSI-Mation!" for a fantasy baseball message base:
The main attraction back in 1990 (and hm, actually, appearing somewhat stable today) was FOOTBALL, American-style. (I know, despite the Olympic hook I opened with, athletics and track & field events are basically totally unrepresented otherwise. Bait and switch! These are all pro league sports here today.) We'll start with some local appeal from the Seattle Seahawks. (Pixel Pompeii is based out of Vancouver, Canada; I could find no BC Lions ANSI art 8)more interesting than I might have thought!) ANSI-alike needlepoint! My textmode art history is rigorous!) bill... missed opportunity!) - Mike Fuller used these TheDraw fonts to celebrate their conflict, and he wanted you to know it. Caucasians" jersey has been on the market for nine years now, but it's only just begun recently picking up steam... it's about time!) drawn by a name we've seen before in the PD ANSI sphere, George Ramos. (Whether Jr. or Sr. remains unclear!) Sid Meier's nautical video game. the 6th Blender competition, which includes a good deal more spontaneous computer art on the subject of aliens and basketballs.
Bonus: we opened with the 1988 Olympiad, let's end with the 1980 one, by Dman of Blocktronics!, via a quick stop through 1996: