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256 colors was actually pretty high-end, and basically the turning point for PCs. I fondly remember what some of the non-PC artists could do with limited color palettes… (What was the name of that odd 64-color mode again? Half-bright?)



Extra Half-bright. The Amiga's HAM mode was even stranger. 6 bits per pixel, but the first two bits were for control: 00 meant the other four bits would reference a standard 16-colour palette, but any other value would cause the pixel to take on the value of the previous pixel, modifying either the red, green, or blue component (depending on the two control bits). Total of 4096 expressible colours. Great for photographs, not much use for anything else.


Agreed about 256-color being a turning point. I remember being amazed by Nextstep's 256 color mode when they ported to PCs. It was an incredible concession for an OS that delayed supporting color until they could "do it right", which to them meant every pixel had 24 bits for RGB plus 8 for alpha. It was great for those of us with modest hardware.




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