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Prodigy (online service), pictures by Benj Edwards

Had a serious madeleine moment with this one. We were a Juno and AOL family but my high school media center had a computer very like this one with Prodigy on it. You could sign up to use it for fifteen minutes at lunch, which of course me and all my nerd friends would do. I have vivid memories of its giant clacky keys, just like the keyboard pictured here. It was an entirely separate experience of “being online” from what you’d get on other services (or on BBSes, for that matter), with its DOS graphics and seemingly random topic selection. Since I never encountered another computer that was signed up for Prodigy, it’s come to seem like Prodigy was just this computer, in my high school media lab: a single, junky PC created to contain an entire network full of dusty jokes and blocky graphics, only ever used by four teenagers.