After Dark

flying toaster by Sam Lu

After Dark is a series of computer screensaver software introduced in 1989 by Berkeley Systems for the Macintosh, and later for Windows. Following the original, new editions were introduced including ‘More After Dark’ and ‘Before Dark,’ as well as editions themed around licensed properties such as ‘Star Trek,’ ‘The Simpsons,’ and Disney. The screensaver modules were often noted for their intertextuality, such as the flying toasters appearing in the Fish screensaver, and the cat from Boris screensaver appearing in the Bad Dog screensaver.

Of the screensaver modules included, the most famous is the iconic Flying Toasters which featured 1940s-style chrome toasters sporting bird-like wings, flying across the screen with pieces of toast. A slider enabled users to adjust the toast’s darkness and an updated Flying Toasters Pro module added a choice of music: Richard Wagner’s ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ or a flying toaster anthem with optional karaoke lyrics. Yet another version called ‘Flying Toasters!’ added bagels and pastries, baby toasters, and more elaborate toaster animation.

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