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Do you know CICA?

Perhaps some of you computer buffs outside Japan may know more (than Japs like us) of CICA, the abbreviation for the Center of Innovative Computing Applications. It was the name of the ftp site collecting a wide range of shareware/freeware for Windows3.1, which covers utilities, fonts, demos, screen savers, databases, multimedia authering tools, games, video drivers, and so on. You could even find there such lovely things like the portrait of Bart Simpson (click him, and he speaks in a real voice!), dumpy Elvis Presley lying always listlessly on your desktop, and somewhat funny wallpapers of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. (Do you remember their names? ;) )

Also released was quarterly CICA CDROM on the market, including the contents of the CICA site. Now that a cornucopia of multimedia CDROMs have ever been published, "the collection of thousands of shareware/freeware" is just a kind of cliché. But while the early 1990's, a series of CICA CDROMs, distributed by Walnut Creek CDROM, had been the largest collection of the likes, and some of those had been imported to Japan, our island country where only a few domestic shareware/freeware programs for Windows existed at that time.

Part of programs in the CDROM were infeasible under the Japanese version of Windows for some reason, but the others worked quite enough to keep Japanese enthusiasts (yes, like us :) ) much amused, until PACK2000, a Japanese counterpart of CICA CDROM compiled by Vector Design, debuted and began to bring us Japanese version of shareware/freeware collected from throughout Japan.

By the way I've not heard the name of CICA for recent years. Looking out over Japan of today where a bunch of monthly computer magazines with CDROMs containing "thousands of shareware/freeware programs" have been published, I think CICA may no longer look so worthy for Japanese computer freaks.
But I still like it for its exoticism and, er, miscellaneousness. CICA inspired us, and it really was one of our motives for making and releasing freeware.

At present, the url of the original site ( isn't active any longer, but luckily the mirror ftp site at is still available, although I miss finding the name of "CICA" there...

Shipway (programmer of ZZ-Darts)

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