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The History of the Apple II as a Gaming Platform

Zonk posted more than 5 years ago | from the stage-of-history-for-oregon-trail dept.

Classic Games (Games) 310

Matt Barton writes "Gamasutra is running a feature on the venerable Apple II platform, which practically defined the early home computer industry and was home to many of the greatest games and developers of all time. The authors discuss the platform's lifespan and many iterations, struggles with illegal distribution, and legendary Apple II games such as Prince of Persia, John Madden Football, and Ultima. 'How big of a problem was piracy? Although several software authors claim that they stopped developing games because of rampant piracy and the subsequent loss of revenue, piracy did expose more computer owners to more games than they otherwise would have been -- this was at a time before ubiquitous demos made it easier to "try before you buy." Another benefit of this piracy is that much of the software archived today at online repositories are the cracked versions.'"

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Apple II? Gaming platform? (0, Redundant)

Zarhan (415465) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249322)

Why does every computer "historian" ALWAYS forgets Commodore 64?

Ultimas all the way to Ultima VI was available on C-64.

Re:Apple II? Gaming platform? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22249368)

The article was about the Apple II, not the Commodore 64. Write your own article if you think it was overlooked.

Re:Apple II? Gaming platform? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22249416)

Hey, tard. Did you read the article.

[Gamasutra's A History of Gaming Platforms series continues with a look at the Apple II system. Perhaps best-remembered for its ubiquity in U.S. classrooms in the 1980s, the computer was also a popular gaming system. Need to catch up? Check out the first two articles in the series, covering the Commodore 64 and the Vectrex.]

Re:Apple II? Gaming platform? (2, Informative)

idontgno (624372) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249424)

TFA much?

[Gamasutra's A History of Gaming Platforms series continues with a look at the Apple II system. Perhaps best-remembered for its ubiquity in U.S. classrooms in the 1980s, the computer was also a popular gaming system. Need to catch up? Check out the first two articles in the series, covering the Commodore 64 [gamasutra.com] and the Vectrex [gamasutra.com] .]

And yes, the Apple II series was the first kick-ass game system. I'm old enough to remember first-hand. What was the Apple's competition? The TRS-80? I had one... the games were meh at best. Certainly, in any game that was released on both of those platforms, the Apple's version looked and sounded better.

Oh, yeah. What did Commodore have at this time? The PET? I heard rumors it had games.

Now, contemporaneous with the C64 in the Apple stable was the IIGS. Amazing, but still basically trailing edge. Like the absolute technological pinnacle in steam locomotives at the time that the diesel-electric was becoming the mainstream rail propulsion system. The C64 and the Amiga pwn'd the IIGS in almost every meaningful way. (Yes, I know what I'm talking about. I have all three.)

Re:Apple II? Gaming platform? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22249852)

please, supply us with some of these great titles that existed for the apple when the only commodore computer that existed was the pet. they dont exist. nice try.

Re:Apple II? Gaming platform? (2, Informative)

IL-CSIXTY4 (801087) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249936)

How about Ultima I, released in 1980? The VIC-20 wasn't released until 1981, and Ultima I didn't make it to the 64 until 1986.

Re:Apple II? Gaming platform? (1)

Tony (765) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250168)

Space Invaders.
Star Wars.
Aztec.

Re:Apple II? Gaming platform? (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249940)

Hey, my first computer was a CoCo2. I won one - WON one - in 1985. (It was a lot like a TRS-80, for those who wonder what the hell I'm talking about.)

It's how I learned to program. (Holy smokes, have I been programming for almost 23 years now?) Some of the games were meh, yeah, but others were great. You could get books and magazines that let you make your own games. I remember writing missile command and speedboat and coming up with my own little games. You could save them onto a tape drive (an actual tape recorder) for later use.

I remember the old black and white TV. I was able to tell the difference between red and blue on the B&W TV.

Re:Apple II? Gaming platform? (4, Funny)

saboola (655522) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250054)

My first computer was two rocks and a stick. It had only one game, called two rocks and a stick. The expansion module, three rocks and a stick, was too expensive.

Re:Apple II? Gaming platform? (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250050)

"What was the Apple's competition?"

The Atari 400/800 computers. 100 times better graphics and sound, full color (not a crappy green screen), and for way less than Apples were priced. And you could use a television as a monitor, so while your 12" green screen I'm sure looked awesome, my Atari hooked up to a 25" TV blew anything Apple had at the time away.

Your timeline is way off... (1)

mbessey (304651) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250056)

contemporaneous with the C64 in the Apple stable was the IIGS.

Uh, no - the C64 was released in 1982, and the Apple IIGS wasn't released until 1986 (that's right - two years after the first Macintosh). The Apple contemporaries to the C64 were the Apple II+ and Apple IIe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_II [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_64 [wikipedia.org]

Which is not to say that the Apple II wasn't an important gaming platform, but by the early 80's it was already showing its age.

Re:Apple II? Gaming platform? (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250064)

Man, I loved that Baseball ROM cart for the TRS-80. I didn't like playing it much, but I really got a kick watching it play against itself. I had tons of game cassettes for it, but I could never get the damn tape reader to work!

Re:Apple II? Gaming platform? (1)

LordSkippy (140884) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249488)

As an AC said, it is an article specifically about the Apple, but...

Commodore tends to get overlooked a lot, especially the Amiga. I think it has to do with our culture's tendency to want to see two side to a conflict, rather than the actual multiple angles. So, most articles about computer history tend to go for the Gates vs. Jobs story.

Re:Apple II? Gaming platform? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249540)

Why does every computer "historian" ALWAYS forgets Commodore 64?
I've seen LOTS of articles covering the C=64 on /. recently. The Apple II series of computers were really good as gaming machines, though. They were among the very first machines with color graphics and you could play the games on your television. The crappy green screen monitors (and later, paper white screens for the //c) they sold with the Apple II series didn't make for a good gaming experience. You really needed a TV and an RF modulator (or a TV with composite input) for the best experience.

Re:Apple II? Gaming platform? (1)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249564)

I feel old posting this but you're right. Take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_64 [wikipedia.org] . 40% market share in around '83-'85. There's also the VIC-20 which was its predecessor that I had http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_VIC-20 [wikipedia.org] . First microcomputer to sell one million units. I remember having a wall climbing game on it that I played for days on end.

Re:Apple II? Gaming platform? (1)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249704)

This prompted me to go look up that game. It was http://www.klov.com/C/Crazy_Climber.html [klov.com] crazy climber. I remember trying to explain to my wife that I played a game where the objective was to climb a building while avoiding bird crap and falling flower pots. At least now I can prove I wasn't going crazy (about this at least).

Re:Apple II? Gaming platform? (2, Informative)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249660)


Why does every computer "historian" ALWAYS forgets Commodore 64?

Ultimas all the way to Ultima VI was available on C-64.


1) The C64 was popular but not very historical -- it came out late in 8-bit history -- it came out in 1982. The Apple ][ came out in 1977. As a reminder, 16-bit computers like the IBM PC were already available in 1981.

2) Sure things like Ultima were on the C64 too, but as ports coming months or years after the Apple ][ originals. People like Lord British used the Apple ][ as their premier platform all the way until Ultima 6.

Re:Apple II? Gaming platform? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22249690)

Ultima was first born on the Apple II, then moved over to Commodore 64 if memory serves me correctly.

And the whole piracy thing, definitely had more of a promotional effect. A pirated copy of Ultima III was my main video game on C64 for several years. I now own nearly every Ultima game made (many of them in duplicate), I'm only missing Worlds of Ultima: Savage Empire.

Re:Apple II? Gaming platform? (1)

FesterDaFelcher (651853) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249812)

Here you go [ebay.com] . It is definitely worth it.

Re:Apple II? Gaming platform? (1)

donweel (304991) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249728)

In the begging I played the Scott Adams adventures, then were the Lord British games Alkabeth which preceded Ultima. But the most enjoyed were the Wizardry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wizardry [wikipedia.org] series from Sir Tech. I also enjoyed Castle Wolfenstien I remmber the word "SS" and "you are caught" sending shivers down my spine. The speech was pretty amazing for the hardware I think you had to toggle the speakers memory location.

Re:Apple II? Gaming platform? (2, Interesting)

nacturation (646836) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249910)

] CALL -151
* 300: AD 30 C0 20 ED FD 4C 00 03
* 300G


This is:

300: LDA $C030 ; Toggle the speaker
303: JSR $FDED ; Print (random) contents of accumulator to screen
306: JMP $0300 ; And start all over again


Makes a wonderful visual clickfest on your screen that gets annoying. Imagine a school lab filled with machines running that. :) Last time I posted this, someone provided the relative branch alternative, thus saving a byte. However, I remember the above code from 20 years ago and that's the ways I likes it! If there's any demo competitions [scene.org] restricted to programs with a single digit number of bytes, that's my entry.
 

Re:Apple II? Gaming platform? (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250008)

But the most enjoyed were the Wizardry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wizardry [wikipedia.org] series from Sir Tech.
I played a pirated version of this on the local library's computers, whenever the librarian wasn't looking... After high school I joined her D&D game and we still play every Saturday night, almost 24 years later...

I wrote my own game called 'Wizardry', in Basic on Apple ][. You played a wizard in a magical duel against another wizard. It was loosely based on a T$R game whose name I don't remember anymore.

I also enjoyed Castle Wolfenstien I remmber the word "SS" and "you are caught" sending shivers down my spine. The speech was pretty amazing for the hardware I think you had to toggle the speakers memory location.
$C030, still burned in my memory.

Robot Odyssey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22249350)

Ah yes, I can recollect spending many hours with pencil and paper designing circuits for the game Robot Odyssey [wikipedia.org] . (Usually in the middle of English class...)

Re:Robot Odyssey (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249904)

I can remember in junior high (that's middle school to some of you) that I had a good friend who was in the special education class (mainly because he was a pot-smoking asshole, and not because he was dumb), and they had an Apple II with Karateka and Dig-Dug. This was around 1985-1986. Those games kicked ass. I still play Karateka on emulators, and it's still an incredibly good martial arts game.

I was raised by my grandparents who were on a fixed income, so when they finally bought me a computer (I was in grade 6 as I recall), it was the horrible Radio Shack MC-10, a retarded sibling of the not-so-hot Color Computers. Mind you, I did teach myself to program in BASIC, and every job I've ever had is in computers, and I can attribute a good deal of that learning to the Microsoft BASIC interpreter in the MC-10, along with some rather hackish 6803 assembly.

Best Games (1)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249382)

Crisis Mountain, Lode Runner, BoulderDash, Choplifter

Re:Best Games (1)

xstonedogx (814876) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249440)

Lemonade Stand, The Dark Crystal, Oregon Trail, Taipan, Karateka, even Wasteland. Those were the days.

Re:Best Games (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249590)

Taipan is still available [download.com]

Choplifter sort of [download.com]

The rest...I don't know. But they're probably out there somewhere....

Re:Best Games (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249502)

Choplifter was amazing. I played that game for hours. Never had the instructions, though, so I had to press random keys and hope I got my tanks and what not. Never bothered to write down the keys though. Mostly memorization. Maybe that... maybe that wasn't Choplifter I was playing...

Re:Best Games (1)

the_macman (874383) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249596)

I used to play a game called Choplifter on my Mac Classic. You were a helicopter and your goal was to drop a man into a moving hay wagon, if you missed he died. You only had three tries and the wagon keeps speeding up.

Does anyone remember this game? Because it's quite different from the Choplifter referenced in wiki [wikipedia.org] I want to know if the game I played had an ending.

Re:Best Games (1)

FyreFiend (81607) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249698)

I do remember that game, though it don't think it was called Choplifter. I wish I could remember the name because I'd love to find a copy.

Re:Best Games (2, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249956)

It was called "Stun Copter". It has it's own Wiki page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stunt_Copter [wikipedia.org] and.... It's been released for OS X! http://antell.com/software/games.html [antell.com]

Anyone with any leads on New World ROMS so I can fire up and install OS 9 or something? I have a stack (50+) of all my old MacAddict CDs and somewhere I know I have an "Inside Mac Games" from around 1996. That thing had on it the first game I ever bought (shareware). Realmz II.

Oh and Warlords. First turn based game I ever played. Man I love that. Although I loved cheats so I would use this program which would search active memory from a program for a value and then change it. (I only had the Warlords Demo, so I'd search for "turn" and when I was approaching 40 turn limit I'd reset it to 10)

And Taskmaker...

I'm laid up from Knee surgery. I know what I'm going to be wanting to do for the rest of the day.

The good old days (4, Informative)

eviloverlordx (99809) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249400)

That brings back memories of junior high school, and playing cracked versions of various arcade games (complete with signature opening screens) on the school's Apple //e machines. Not to mention 'hacking' the 5-1/4 SS floppies to get cheap DS usage. While today's games are certainly graphically superior, in many ways they've gotten to be somewhat pedestrian compared to the excitement of playing Dig Dug or Conan on the green monitors.

Re:The good old days (3, Interesting)

smokytgab (1062510) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249462)

I actually just finished getting a working one together and giving to my girlfriend and her suitemates. It defined a lot of elementary childrens' computer experiences and was actually my first computer as well. Even when I was looking up various information on how to get the various disk images onto 5 1/4 floppies (great program http://adtpro.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] ), it amazed me how open and extendable the Apple ][ was. There are still small companies that make various expansion cards for things such as Ethernet and Serial connections. Not to mention the fact that the 6502 was the same processor used in the SNES, thereby creating a great platform for future game developers to start honing their skills.

Re:The good old days (1)

CaseCrash (1120869) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249894)

Not to mention the fact that the 6502 was the same processor used in the SNES, thereby creating a great platform for future game developers to start honing their skills.

The NES [wikipedia.org] had a modifed 6502 like the Apple II [wikipedia.org] . The SNES [wikipedia.org] used a 65c816.

Re:The good old days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22249908)

... it amazed me how open and extendable the Apple ][ was


One of the things I loved about the Apple ][ and the C-64 were the manuals. Chock full of programming information, technical information about various chips in the computer, and even schematics. Of course there was the general how to use the computer stuff but vast potions of those manuals were like candy for geeks and hackers.

Re:The good old days (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250230)

Not to mention the fact that the 6502 was the same processor used in the SNES

Minor quibble: the SNES has a 65816, the 16-bit successor of the 6502. It was the NES that had a 6502 (well, almost, since it lacked the decimal mode due to patent reasons).

Re:The good old days (2, Insightful)

Sebastopol (189276) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249528)

Locksmith 3.0 FTW!

Re:The good old days (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250104)

I remember the wannabe 'hackers' in my high school who thought they were elite (though I'm unsure whether that term was in usage back then) because they had Locksmith and a parameter list.

I remember wandering the halls during some stupid 'pep rally' or something (actually I think it may have been an awards ceremony for the senior class), and getting stopped by a teacher and asked why we weren't there. We showed her our boxes of disks and mumbled something about 'doing computer stuff' and she let us go...

Re:The good old days (4, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249612)

in many ways they've gotten to be somewhat pedestrian compared to the excitement of playing Dig Dug or Conan on the green monitors.

It occurs to me the reason we don't excited about games the way we did when we first played Pong, or messed around with early Apples and C64s is because back then, this was all cutting-edge stuff and very non-mainstream. We were doing cool shit that almost nobody else knew about. In the days before the NES and Sega Master system, I could count people I knew who played videogames on one hand.

Nowadays, everybody and his cousin owns at least a couple piece of hardware able to play games, even if it's just a low-spec PC and a cellphone, and most games tend to basically be point releases, incremental upgrades designed to suck up your spare cash, not try anything new.

Re:The good old days (2, Insightful)

nacturation (646836) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250022)

Maybe this is just nostalgia talking, but a lot of games back then were just plain fun. I recently dug out my Apple IIc and was amazed that a lot of my floppies still worked. After playing a few games, they seem to have a character that's lacking in today's games. That's likely a reflection of your last point as well... the games today are just all rehashes. Most first person shooters are simply the same game engine with a new graphics and sound facelift.
 

Re:The good old days (1)

Jimmy King (828214) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249844)

Conan was awesome. I played that on my grandpa's apple II C+. I think my uncle hacked something on it, though, since it had unlimited lives. I was in for a shock years later when I played it on an emulator and had to restart after 3 deaths.

Re:The good old days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22249902)

compared to the excitement of playing Dig Dug or Conan on the green monitors.
Monochrome??? Bitch, please... I hooked up my RF TV to my II+ for 4-bit colour awesomeness.

Plus I could easily head to the software store downtown and rent original floppies of all the games. Yup, rent. Good times.

TIME MACHINE 4 LIFE SUCKAS!!!

FTA (1, Troll)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249422)

Nevertheless, Woz, a fan of both Atari arcade games and engineering challenges, came to his friend's rescue. He completed the bulk of the work in about four days, with an efficient design that used far fewer chips than any other Atari arcade game at the time. Atari's engineers were impressed and Jobs received a nice payout and bonus --most of which he kept for himself. Breakout would become another arcade hit for Atari.
Turns out, Woz is also behind most of the stuff that Apple pumps out these days. And of course, Jobs keeps the cash.

Let's not forget... (4, Informative)

ivanmarsh (634711) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249442)

The original Castle Wolfenstein.

Achtung! Damn exploding treasure chests.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_Wolfenstein [wikipedia.org]

Re:Let's not forget... (2, Interesting)

lord_mike (567148) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249630)

Or it's successor, Beyond Castle Wolfenstein!

HALT! KOMMEN ZIE!!

AUS PASS?

AUS PASS?

*fires shot*

AYEEEEEEEE!!!!

The best part of the games was, of course, the speech synthesis, which was revolutionary at the time. The games were creatively designed and a lot of fun, though. The only really annoying thing about both the games is when you run into a wall, and the screen totally flops out! I don't understand why that was considered to be a "feature".

Man, this article is bringing back memories!

Re:Let's not forget... (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250012)

I remember listening for that damned lockpick noise on wolfenstein while being shot at by Nazi's... ah, the glory of an Apple childhood.

The Shit! (1)

olliec420 (1023207) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249454)

Oregon Trail!!!!

Elite (1)

Blue Shifted (1078715) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249472)

my favorite 3D space game.

best feature: autodocking with spacestations.

Re:Elite (1)

flowsnake (1051494) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250144)

Elite was first on the Acorn BBC Micro, not the Apple (though some of the code was developed on the earlier Acorn Atom). You can download many Elite ports from the website of Ian Bell, one of the two authors: http://www.iancgbell.clara.net/elite/ [clara.net] . The Archimedes port was clearly the best, of course :)

Original > Cracked (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22249492)

Another benefit of this piracy is that much of the software archived today at online repositories are the cracked versions.'"
Utter balderdash! Imagine if the only version of the Mona Lisa we had was one that someone had helpfully taken a paintbrush to. Archive both by all means, but don't give out that not having a copy of the original is somehow beneficial!

Re:Original Cracked (1)

riseoftheindividual (1214958) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249900)

but don't give out that not having a copy of the original is somehow beneficial!

it is if the original required some verification to use, like looking up something on a page in a manual that no one has anymore.

Re:Original Cracked (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249976)

Imagine if the only version of the Mona Lisa we had was one that someone had helpfully taken a paintbrush to.
You do realize that digital works can be copied perfectly and the only change that was made was to unlock it. Your analogy makes no sense. A better one would be if somebody took the curtain down from in front of the Mona Lisa so everybody could actually see it.

Re:Original Cracked (4, Informative)

neapolitan (1100101) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250044)

I know what you are saying, and agree with you to a large extent, but as a former 6502 hacker I am not sure you understand what you are talking about.

The majority of the copy protection routines on the Apple //e depended on nuances of a combination of hardware and software not just software. Disk reading routines were able to be controlled in software -- copy protected games would not include standard apple "DOS" but essentially invent their own disk reading routines. In order to copy a disk, you would have to get extra memory, try to load the program into it using its own disk reading routine, find the starting location of the program, remap this into a format that could fit on a normal disk, and then save it back to a disk (using a standard DOS loaded into your extra memory.) Some methods of protection altered the write timing cycles on the disk, varying sector timing / size, etc. In general you would need, to unprotect disks, a hardware-modified //e with extra memory.

Something that changes the read/write timing of a disk would be very, very difficult to emulate correctly, 100% of the time. A good fraction of copy-protected files could not even be made into a standard .dsk image, and thus would be most likely lost as the original magnetic media fades -- an emulator built to emulate the nuances of the hardware would probably never be built, as even getting a method to accurately read some standardized format of the original magnetic media would be difficult / impossible. Thus the original article writer's statement is correct, whether he knew the details or not...

Re:Original Cracked (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250098)

Another benefit of this piracy is that much of the software archived today at online repositories are the cracked versions.'"
Utter balderdash! Imagine if the only version of the Mona Lisa we had was one that someone had helpfully taken a paintbrush to. Archive both by all means, but don't give out that not having a copy of the original is somehow beneficial!
Though in this case, having the original with piracy measures intact is like having the original Mona Lisa locked in a safe that nobody knows the combination to.
 

Can't we get the name right? (4, Funny)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249498)

It's an Apple ][ - those brackets are absolutely necessary. Trust me.

Now get off my lawn, and don't come back until you can code in 6502 machine language hex codes - I don't want any of you assembly language sissies hanging around here.

Re:Can't we get the name right? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249750)

Remember how we used to laugh at 6502c coders who couldn't make the box squawk on a 6502 - 8086 and 8088 chipsets were lame, and we thought nothing of popping open a Timex-Sinclair to get at the board and probe it.

Ah, hex. A1B2C3D4E5. F!

Re:Can't we get the name right? (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249822)

CALL -151

Re:Can't we get the name right? (1)

smitty97 (995791) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249856)

unless its a //e or //c

Re:Can't we get the name right? (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250306)


In those days I liked to go into a store that was selling Apple ][ machines and type in a short program in hex codes that printed a random character to the screen and clicked the speaker, in a tight loop, so the screen would fill with scrolling garbage while the machine emitted a buzzing sound.

I feel bad about it now.

Re:Can't we get the name right? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250336)

Hex? Meh, over on the C64 and Vic 20 we spent the day coding in decimal.

I remember... (1)

dwiget001 (1073738) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249516)

Nine Princes in Amber game on an Apple IIe. Basically, slides show, text with options for you to take related to the text. Was a cool game for me, knowing the story line of the books.

My #1 game (2, Interesting)

caywen (942955) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249534)

Aztec all the way, baby! That game was fun *because* of the bugs. I loved walking the Indiana Jones dude on top of the water, on top of alligators, and using grenades to create garbled spider sprites running around. Sea Dragon was a kick, too.. SEEEAAAA DRAGOOON! Speaker modulation on the Apple IIe done right.

Wrong category? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22249568)

Shouldn't the icon next to this story be a big Monty Python foot?

Favorite emulator... (4, Interesting)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249570)

I'm curious how many got into programming because of ...

  * "I wonder how this game works..." or
  * "How do I remove the copy protection..."
  * "How do I cheat..." ;-) The 6502 was a nice CPU where one person could not only memorize all the opcodes, but understand the whole machine.

I'm a little biased *cough*, but there is a a half-decent emulator (with mockingboard support) available at http://applewin.berlios.de/

Gaming genres were defined in the '80s. I would highly recommend checking these out:

* Anything by Br0derbund! (Lode Runner, Drol, Spare Change, Captain Goodnight, Carmen Sandiago)
* Ultima series
* Anything by the "Beagle Bros" for just plain hacking fun

--
*C600G

Re:Favorite emulator... (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249758)

On behalf of the Ministry of Truth and the entire loyal Ultima fan base, Ultima IX never happened. It is an un-game. Please update your records accordingly.

My brain hurts! (4, Interesting)

Tony (765) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250302)

Anything by the "Beagle Bros" for just plain hacking fun

Ah! That took me back so fast, my brain is whiplashed. Painful.

I loved the Beagle Bros. They had some of the *coolest* hacks. I learned more about the Apple system from them than from anywhere else. Between Beagle Bros and the Sweet-16 mini-assembler (no more hand assembling! yes!), the Apple ][ was the *greatest* platform for budding programmers.

When people claim Microsoft started the computer revolution, I laugh gently, pat them on the head, and say, "Ah, you're so *cute*." The Apple ][ started it, followed by all the others: Commodore, Atari, Tandy, etc. *Those* were the days.

Not that I'd go back. I do like where we're at today (though we should've been here 10 years ago).

Confessions of a "pirate" (5, Interesting)

digitalcowboy (142658) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249664)

My first computer was an Apple IIc. I came from a lower middle class family and it was a sacrifice for my mother to buy the machine for me second-hand. She did it because she recognized my passion and wanted me to have the opportunity to pursue it. But there was no way my family could afford to buy any software, really, much less games at $50 a pop.

Over the course of a couple of years I "acquired" two disk files full of software, much of it games. I paid for blank disks out of money I earned mowing lawns and such. I also accumulated a stack of magazines mostly donated by a teacher who took an interest in my interest and whose husband had an Apple II and a couple subscriptions.

Long story short, I'm running two IT-based businesses today and I'm grateful for a mother that cared, a teacher (and her husband) that cared and "pirate" software. No one lost anything from my "piracy" because there was absolutely ZERO chance that I ever would have been able to buy any of the software or half of the magazines that I had available to me back then.

All of that combined has defined the life I now lead and today I both give away software under OSS licenses and willingly pay for any commercial software that I use.

Re:Confessions of a "pirate" (2, Insightful)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249992)

No one lost anything from my "piracy" because there was absolutely ZERO chance that I ever would have been able to buy any of the software or half of the magazines that I had available to me back then.

Your reasoning doesn't follow at all. You gained from your piracy, yes, but the copyright holder lost out on their right to profit from the distribution of the software. The fact that you see it as a net positive for yourself doesn't legitimize anything. Your greed for entertainment in no way trumps the rights of others.

Of course, I'll be modded down for pointing out the fact that piracy isn't right even though the pirate benefits. C'est la Slashdot.

Re:Confessions of a "pirate" (2, Insightful)

Wylfing (144940) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250300)

the copyright holder lost out on their right to profit from the distribution of the software

There is no right to profit.

Re:Confessions of a "pirate" (2, Insightful)

riseoftheindividual (1214958) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250320)

but the copyright holder lost out on their right to profit from the distribution of the software

How? How does a copyright holder lose their right to profit if a copy goes to someone who couldn't buy it in the first place? There is no loss there. That's absurd. Where's the loss?

Re:Confessions of a "pirate" (2, Insightful)

riseoftheindividual (1214958) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250140)

I hear all that. I "pirated" almost everything back then too. I was a poor kid and I had no money after saving up for half the cost of the computer(which my mom and grandparents matched for the other half). Those game companies didn't lose any sales to me, you can't get blood from a turnip afterall. In fact, Origin in particular would go on to benefit long term, as I played ULtima I, II, and III for free, and when IV came out, I had a job and bought a copy of that and V-VI later(and I would in turn influence my friends to buy copies as we all raced to win it first). I would never have bought those games later had I not played the first three installments, and there was no way I could have played them had I not been able to get free copies. In fact, getting hooked on games by being able to play them for free as a kid, directly led to all the money I've spent on games over the years since entering the work force.

That's one reason I'm convinced the "R" in "RIAA" stands for Retarded when they sue young people of poor or working class parents. Those are their future customers and that's a very shoddy way to prime them for sales when they finally come into their own money. Had Origin or an industry body backed by them pulled the same stunt on me, I'd have grown up hating them, and would have made it a point not to never give them a dime of my money.

Cracking was a fun thing to do (2, Interesting)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249686)

And most of us who did it would add improvements which we sent to the game authors.

I remember having 172k of RAM (on a 48k Apple II+) that I used as a RAM drive to run programs 1000 times faster, with a dual floppy setup so I could have a data disk and a program disk.

And it was fun creating the world's first play-by-mail role-playing games on it, doing nutso things like using word-processing macros to churn out character stories for each player, or automated D & D, Traveller, and other game system character generation.

Until Bill G rolled around this artificial IP concept really was just regarded as code hoarding. Copy protection was not just a challenge, it was rude, and you were honor-bound (back then I'd say honour-bound, since I was in Canada) to crack it - and then distro copies with the add-ons you improved the original game with.

Ah, the memories (1)

mr_josh (1001605) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249694)

My grandma gave me her Apple //c and little 9" green screen monitor when I was in second grade. There was a store in the local mall that sold shareware, they had bins and bins of 5 1/4" floppies full of Apple ][ software. I had so many cool games for that machine. I had that before I had any game consoles or anything like that, and really, I played computer games way more than my consoles. I got Flight Simulator II for my birthday one year, then I got a joystick for that machine, too. Geez, nostalgia high.

What? No A Bard's Tale? (1)

TheWoozle (984500) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249708)

Blasphemy!

re your sig (1)

74nova (737399) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249928)

no it isnt. its like insisting that you not put dog crap in it.

Re:re your sig (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250184)

Give me a break. We should all be speaking Old English by that logic, which is utterly ridiculous. And look at you, you have no place to talk. You're not even using proper punctuation or capitalization! Ridiculous!!

Re:What? No A Bard's Tale? (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250240)

Oh fuck yeah! Bard's Tale was kick ass.

The joys of Apple // piracy (3, Interesting)

themushroom (197365) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249752)

Some years ago the author of the Atarisoft rendition of "Mario Bros" for the Apple // was writing about the title in a Usenet post, saying that Atarisoft never released the game yet it was leaked and everyone had it... and for that reason, he was still able to list it on his resume. :) That's gotta be weird, everyone knows your work yet you didn't get paid properly for it.

Loderunner definitely made the Apple // a gaming platform, as did Wizardry.

Text based adventure games (1)

GoldMace (315606) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249764)

I recall playing several really fun text adventure games when it was my turn to use one of the two computers in the whole school. There was one that went something like, you are in the woods and low on food, would you like to hunt? What would you like to hunt for, deer, or foxes? Oh, you didn't find any deer. You have Persished. Game Over. Anyone else remember this game, or know what it was called?

Re:Text based adventure games (1)

nierd (830089) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249960)

I believe it was Oregon adventure - you played a wagon making a trip to Oregon - it was pretty popular on the Apple platform in schools as it was 'educational' software. It seemed like the only thing most schools would let you play were Carmen SanDiego or Oregon Adventure... At least I had a teacher in grade school that let me play Enchanter - that was a fun game :)

Double Sided Disks (1)

PhillC (84728) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249864)

The Apple IIc was the first computer I ever put my greasy little fingers on. I learned to create some Basic games from books - oh how I miss Goto 10.

The picture in the article of Ultima IV takes me back. So many hours of my early teens lost playing that, Castle Wolfenstein and The Bard's Tale. I was addicted to the Bard's Tale, the glorious green screen of it!

Who else remembers making 5 1/4 inch disks double sided! Hell yeah. How cool was that. A pair of scissors or hole punch and suddenly you had twice as much storage!

I Remember... (1)

Gallenod (84385) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249872)

...North Atlantic '86 and The Bard's Tale (I and II). They were the games that made me buy my first Apple (a IIc). I played them on a IIe in the library almost every day until it closed. I finally decided if I was going to save the world from Soviet or magical domination, I'd better get a computer at home so I could devote myself to the cause.

In my case, playing games led to buying a computer, which led to an interest in how computers worked, which led to a change in career from administrator to self-taught computer hobbyist to organizational computer guru, a masters degree in information resource management, and a whole new career over the last 15 years as a technology manager. All becuase I got hooked on a couple of computer games.

I wonder just how many other computer-addicted people (e.g. /.ers) were snared by similar "gateway" software?

Oh well -- at least I don't sell PDAs on street corners near schools.

Re:I Remember... (1)

dosius (230542) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250182)

Yep.

My Apple //e came from a public library. Got plenty of software though I tend to emulate since it's more convenient... Wrote a few shit games in fpbasic back in the 80s and 90s, although I'll admit gwbasic is hella nicer.

-uso.

Phantasie (1)

acvh (120205) | more than 5 years ago | (#22249930)

Phantasie was one my early favorite games on the C64, and for the first time I got to see the box in the article. I had a cracked copy and photocopied instructions, and played it for what seems like a long, long time.

Hardware piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22249938)

Lots of people used to build/assemble clones of the Apple II. Apple solved that problem with the Mac. No cloned Macs, at least I never saw one.

IBM, on the other hand, published the Reference Manual. Anybody could build a PC clone. The result was that the PC and its clones became ubiquitous. Similarly, the most pirated software used to be MS-DOS, which became the standard. It makes one think that if Apple hadn't been so successful at stemming piracy, they might have done a lot better financially.

Re:Hardware piracy (1)

puto (533470) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250280)

Get it straight. Yes there were many clones of the Apple 2. But there were cloned macs as well with Apple Licensed roms, PowerComputing being, one but there were several others. The Mac was not a problem solver for clones. jobs canceled the program when he returned to Apple, or rather raised the prices on the licenses to the manufactuers, to where they would not be able to compete on price points with Apple branded products. As for the PC clones, the reference manual was handy, but some guys reverse engineered the Phoenix bios and people were able to build clones to the pc. I would say dos was pirated heavily, but MS cut a deal with MS that was less costly than CPM.

Notice today (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22250074)

notice today the number of apple fan sites -vs- the number of commodore fan sites. to this day people are writing demos on the c64. new hardware and software is still being developed for it.

apple ][ demo scene? it is to laugh. Crappy graphics, crappy sound. it might as well been a ti99, because it was junk.

what a pathetic list of software it had...

Name of Helicopter game - please help me name it (1)

portforward (313061) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250130)

There was a game that I used to play on my Laser 128 (Apple IIc clone). I flew a helicopter, and was fighting against another helicopter as well as providing air support for my troops. The game would 2-D scroll side to side. I could drop 5 men from my helicopter paratrooper style, and there were floating balloons with cables. The helicopter had to "escort" tanks, antiaircraft trucks, "vans" and infantry

My favorite game (1)

TheWizardTim (599546) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250138)

I always loved:

10 Print "Hello World"
20 Goto 10

That was the best game ever.

The Apple // has always been teh suq (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22250158)

Um, no. the apple // was the worse machine ever. Who writes this crap?

Many Computer Game concepts (1)

joeflies (529536) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250204)

I think that to talk about Apple's role in gaming, it might be useful to abstract some of the concepts that stemmed from Apple's popularity and ubiquity.

It wasn't just "video games" that made Apple great - it was the creation of "Home computer games", i.e. games that couldn't be played on the standalone devices or early consoles of the time.

For example:

Educational games emerged as a subgenre as part of the deals Apple did to make computers available to school.

RPGs were available before, but they flourished on the Apple II with Wizardry, Ultima, Bard's Tale, Might & Magic.

I think that it could be arguable that Real-Time Strategy games owe a debt of gratitutde to Rescue Raiders.

Graphical adventures can trace their roots to Sierra's early efforts such as Wizard & the Princess.

There were a whole group of poly-bagged games that pre-dated the boxed software that isn't as widely documented. I sometimes wish I could play Artillery on the Apple II again if I only spent some time trying to get the emulators and Dos 3.3 disks working.

Piracy on Apple II was rampant, but I think that was largely because that piracy was one of the areas where learning about how hardware & software interact created a generation of computer engineers. A 7th grader learning about how filesystems work and how software controls a disk drive? Common place when the kid was motivated to copy a game. I don't want to make a moral claim that it's right, but you can't deny how many engineers of my generation have a similar story.

Info on disk protection was widely available - getting Hardcore Computist magazine [textfiles.com] every month was a real treat, learning new things about how hardware & software worked. You didn't get a crack to download - you had to dig into the disk editors yourself and learn why machine code edits made the game playable. Great fun from the old days.

Anyone remember the ZORK Clone SMIRK? (1)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250236)

Does anyone remember the the ZORK Clone SMIRK? I could never find my way out of the maze. Anyone know where I can find this clone?

Not Just Game, Engineering Also. (1)

YuuShiSann (793626) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250260)

I use Apple][ for my engineering project. I first learnt machine code and assembly of 6502 then I started I cross compile code in Z80 and using I/O interface card as a digital logic analyser and eventually I created another Z80 computer. The simplicity of Apple][ hardware taught me a lot about PC interface. If you know this, you will quickly understand how XT, AT buses work. Besides the bus size getting bigger, the control signals are largely the same. Without the affordable Apple][ at that time, I will not be an engineer today.

Two words.. (1)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250266)

Oregon Trail. (ftw!)

Anyone know if these are still in schools much? (1)

DrBuzzo (913503) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250288)

I graduated from High School class of 2000, so that was a few years back, but when I left they still had quite a lot of Apple-][ systems in the public schools and this was in a fairly well to-do area too. They had been a mainstay in the classroom since the 1980's but even in the 1990's, the elementary and junior high and even high school still had a real lot of apple II systems in use. The "Apple Lab" had the IIGS but there were Apple IIe's floating around too. By the mid 1990's they were already very very obsolete and never seen anywhere else, but plenty in the school.

When I left they were installing PC's in the library and tech rooms but still had tons of apples for general purpose wordprocessing and such. I think the lower grade schools were even more-so. Considering they were very obsolete then, I'm wondering if the use of these systems has continued at all. It's been a few years, but as I said, they were already (at least) 10 years past prime to begin with. seemed to have plenty of staying power.

Microsoft's Game (1)

Morky (577776) | more than 5 years ago | (#22250326)

Anyone remember Olympic Decathalon for Apple ][ from Microsoft? That game must have destroyed thousands of keyboards.
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