Welcome to Launch CD-ROM Notes!
Before the internet was developed enough for instant access to multiple kinds of media, the answer to variety in interactive digital entertainment was multimedia CD-ROMs. And Launch was one of the best of them. It was available by subscription, and also on magazine racks. I got most of my copies as a perk packaged with Vibe magazine back in the day.
Promoted as an interactive source for music, movies, and video games, Launch featured exclusive performances, interviews and interactions with some of the leading and “next-thing” singers, bands, and actors of the time. The format has you explore a metropolis … go to a swank café to hear “live” performances, or to a diner to choose your tunes on an interactive jukebox, or to a movie theatre for the latest previews, or to the game room to try out the latest demos, or a …
Well, you get the drift – immersion in a stylized 3D city where you could be as chic or as geek as your entertainment drives dictated! And, with advertisements integrated seamlessly into the texture of their Launch City, the producers of this virtual world hoped for profits in their real world.
This website is another in the series of media systems analysis I created to go with my Opal Design Systems curriculum on cultural interpretation, collaborative teamwork, and organizational development. (To access my other sites, see the blogroll in the sidebar.) I have been particularly interested in using Launch magazine as a “bridge exercise.” This vintage multimedia offers those of us who are older and were raised in a far more linear-logic world an opportunity to experience a nonlinear, immersion learning environment. It lets us explore our own random entertainment interests and at our own pace.
Plus, it gives a great example of creativity in developing a comprehensive and coherent set of metaphors to help abstract concepts come alive through a virtually concrete world. And, in an era now dominated by digital documentation and virtual teamwork, that turns out to be important.
I hope you’ll find something of interest here, even if only to excavate an exclusive live performance of a song from your favorite musician or band!
~ “futuristguy” (Brad Sargent)
New Information Sent By Launch Fans
I occasionally receive contact emails here or messages through my eBay sales from Launch fans. Here are some details and resources I’ve learned about from them.
According to Launch fan “D.,” there is a Discogs site where fellow fans are cataloging the entire series and putting in as many details as possible. You can find that resource here:
On that site, you’ll note there are sometimes alternative versions of the same numbered issue, promos, and quite a few unnumbered special edition or holiday/Christmastime issues. Here is a list of special editions they have posted there which I don’t have here.
- Launch – Second Anniversary Issue 
- Launch – For Your Ears Only 
- Launch Live 1997
- Launch Live ’98
- Seasons Greetings 1999
- Launch – Live Exclusive Performances 
- Launch – Happy Holidays 2000
Here are some other details sent to me through this site by Launch fans.
- There was a 2 CD compilation called “Launch Exclusively Yours – Live Launch Originals.” (I don’t have a year on that.)
- Some stores, like Tower Records, had their own special release cover artwork.
Thanks “D.” and “L.H.” for these tidbits of Launchinalia!