Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Blast From My Past Pt11 - Rotten Apples

I first got in touch with PCs back in 1983. A classmate had a Commodore VIC20 and we enjoyed many games on it. Loading a game was slow though as they were stored on cassette tapes). The VIC20 had only 3kB of RAM. My other experience with a Commodore was a C64 (with k4kB of RAM). It too had a lot of games on tape. I remember enjoying Scarabeaus and Hacker on it.

My first encounter with the Apple II came in the form of a rotten Apple II+. Fyi, rotten Apples are clone Apple PCs... much cheaper than their original counterparts. Our school computer labs had a few of them. I remember the first game I saw on the Apple II was a variant of Centipede. However my fondest memories of the Apple was playing (with them 5.25" single sided double density floppy disks) these games. Some of those I can remember are listed below

- Ultima
- Taipan (good joss!)
- Karateka
- Captain Goodnight
- Moebius
- Galactic Empire
- Return Of Heracles
- Lode Runner
- Conan
- Bard's Tale
- Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego
- Millionaire
- Aztec
- Burger Time
- Dig Dug
- Archon

The Apple II was an amazing machine. We could go code in machine language or Applesort BASIC (which was stored in the ROM of the machine). We could use LOGO or Fortran or Pascal. We could use CIA Tricky Dick to mess around with the machine language or even fix spoilt floppies (altering Ultima stats was cool). We could product perfect copies with Disc Muncher. With a sound card, we could have synthesized speech from text (our 128kB RAM with 80 column text Lingo machine had that). The floppy disk drive was robust as hell. If disks were problematic, we could force feed the disk drive. With the SSDD disks, we could cut a tab to use the other side of the disk (making them double sided). Verbatim and Maxell disks were the most expensive back then.

During the time when IBM PC clones where becoming popular, we saw the comings and goings of the Apple IIgs and IIc. I remember seeing my first Apple Mac with blue monochrome back in the mid 80s.

After all that, I look back at the Sinclair Spectrum ZX-81 (with 1kB of RAM) in wonder...