QuickTime turns 20 years old Blog categoryEssay category

December 2nd marks the anniversary of QuickTime, originally released by Apple in 1991. It might not’ve been the first video codec, but it was one of the most popular and widely distributed. Back when such add-ons were popular (and before it became bloatware), QuickTime powered every adventure game and multimedia presentation under the sun. And to an extent, that’s why a lot of them don’t work on modern computers anymore. As a telling example, the first program to use and to include QuickTime was the 1991 CD-ROM From Alice to Ocean, an interactive photojournal from writer Robyn Davidson’s travels across Australia.

In an age of open content standards, QuickTime lingers, an anachronism in the same pool as RealPlayer. But let’s take a moment to appreciate all the great things QuickTime enabled 20 years ago. If you ever played a CD-ROM game or application with video, good money says that it used QuickTime.

Thanks to The Register for the info!


  • Trar

    I still have a couple old games I need to install legacy versions of QT to run.

  • RABBIDGamfan

    One thing you didn’t mention in this retrospective was how Quicktime was the software that really made streaming video on computers mainstream.

  • Shadsy

    Good point! I was thinking mostly about its offline application, but it was pretty groundbreaking for streaming media.

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