Originally created in 1989 for the Apple Macintosh computer line, After Dark is a series of interactive and non-interactive screen saver compilations created by Berkeley Systems for numerous operating systems. (Notably those made by Apple and Microsoft.)
This series of screensavers is notable for its quirky and wide variety of screen savers, which included everything from fish tanks, bustling crowds, men mowing the grass, and many more. The most famous screen savers are the Flying Toasters, screen savers depicting winged toasters and baked goods flying through the sky while a song celebrating them plays, and Bad Dog, where a small dog wreaks havoc on the user's desktop. The Flying Toasters proved popular enough to be included in every installment, while Bad Dog received a short-lived Animated Adaptation that aired on Fox Family (now Freeform). These screen-savers are fondly remembered by many people who grew up in the 90s.
Numerous of these compilations were released over the 1990s. The first After Dark edition was released in 1989 (with a version for Windows released in 1991), followed by the second edition in 1992, the third edition in 1995, and the fourth edition in 1998. There were also packs of screen savers themed after everything from Disney, Marvel, The Simpsons, and other well-known properties released as well.
After Dark and its screen savers contain examples of:
- Animated Adaptation: As mentioned before, the cartoon based on the Bad Dog screensavers.
- Animation Bump: Very noticeable with the flying toasters as you go on from the first Flying Toaster screensaver to the next ones. It's especially evident when going from the 3.0 screensaver to the 4.0 screensaver, which introduced a more vibrant color scheme and smoother animations for the toasters and items.
- Black Comedy: "Mowin' Boris", among other screen savers in the Twisted! module. The screen saver is the famous "Mowin' Man" screen saver, but with Boris the cat running around in it. Not for those who have an aversion to seeing cute things getting mowed by a lawnmower.
- By the Lights of Their Eyes: The "Nocturnes" screensaver, which featured pairs of illuminated eyes popping up over a black screen.
- Cats Are Mean: Averted with Boris, who simply runs around the screen being cute and chasing butterflies. Basically the polar opposite of Bad Dog.
- Easter Egg:
- The flying toasters would sometimes appear in licensed editions of After Dark, including this screensaver from the Disney themed module.
- In some of the screensavers released in the fourth edition of After Dark, characters from one screensaver often appear in other ones, such as a flying toaster swimming by in the fish tank screensaver or a flying toaster in the Flying Toaster screensaver borrowing a hula hoop from the "Hula Girls" screensaver.
- In After Dark 3.0., Boris can sometimes appear in that edition's version of Bad Dog if certain conditions are met.note
- Everything's Better with Cows: The "Guernsey Madness" screensaver in After Dark 4.0, featuring multi-colored cows wandering around the screen.
- Excuse Plot: The description of the screen saver game "Rodger Dodger" states that the color-shifting ball you control in the game is a lazy computer programmer named Rodger who was transported into the form of said ball in the game he was supposed he was supposed to be working on by his manager (who happened to be a witch). No reference is made to this in the screen saver or game, aside from the instructions labeling the ball as "Rodger", and finishing the last level simply takes you back to the first one without any mention of Rodger's fate.
- Guy in the "Super Guy" screen-saver contained in After Dark 4.0, who runs around on a playground pretending to be a superhero while his fantasies are lost to his peers. Sounds remarkably like Calvin.
- The eponymous character of the Daredevil Dan screen saver is clearly a parody of Evel Knieval.
- Follow the Leader: Many, many other companies took to making their own wacky screen savers after After Dark's became such a hit.
- Grossout Show: After Dark Twisted! which featured this in some of its screensavers, such as the Flying Toilets screensaver (mentioned below under Toilet Humor). These screensavers also featured a heaping helping of Black Comedy as well.
- Levitating Lotus Position: Done by refrigerators and washing machines in the "Om Appliances" screen-saver.
- Made of Explodium: The unfortunate character in the "Bogglins" screen saver, who bounces around making farting noises and explodes at the drop of a hat.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Many of the screen savers are this, but especially the Flying Toasters and their theme song. The slide show screensaver in After Dark 4.0 was done in the form of an art critic examining pictures on the computer in a museum.
- Nintendo Hard: Rodger Dodger (in After Dark 4.0) can get pretty brutal in later levels. As can Lunatic Fringe (After Dark 3.0), if your spaceship's engine and steering go out of whack, as well as when the Slicer shows up.
- No Fourth Wall: Bad Dog, who tears holes in the wallpaper, chews up computer icons, and in general makes a mess on your computer. Fortunately, moving the mouse brings everything back to normal.
- Spinoff Babies: After Dark 4.0's Flying Toaster screensaver introduced baby flying toasters and had a setting to exclusively feature them, complete with a retooled version of the usual toaster anthem.
- The Stoic: If and when Daredevil Dan gets hurt (by way of falling off his bike, flying into a bike ramp, getting caught on fire, or even ''slamming crotch-first into a bike ramp, his response is to simply sit there and spout a deadpan "Ow!" one or more times until an ambulance comes to pick him up.
- Toilet Humor: The Flying Toilets screen saver, which has winged toilets and toilet paper flying around as opposed to toasters and toast. You can put people (or cows!) holding newspapers on them.
- Word-Salad Humor: The "Nonsense" screensaver, which randomly generated English sentences that, while grammatically correct most of the time, described absurd or bizarre situations involving various celebrities or fictional characters. Thus, you get sentences talking about how Batman's nose doesn't like an orange's house or Buzz Lightyear riding a boat with a Republican silly cheeseburger. (The people and characters used could be changed in a text file, adding to the fun.)