Gaming Goes Retro: Apple ][

It’s not often I feel the desire to sit down and play computer games any longer. After 10 years of gaming and development I got very tired of seeing the same crap regurgitated from developers, with fancy new packaging and a heftier price tag than the previous year. Development even left a more sour taste in my mouth because gamers are really a thankless bunch, demanding everything and expecting everything, when they paid nothing. But I won’t go down that road, no reason to rehash the past when we can go back to the beginning, when gaming was golden and the adventures were exciting.

It seems just like yesterday I wrote, Textual Healing, here on T6F, which discusses the true roots of computer games, the text based adventures. In reality it was over 2 years ago when games like Zork, Wishbringer and Planetfall resurfaced in my world. With games such as these in mind I move to the early 1980s (late 1979) and the advent of the first graphic based adventures (I played), Mystery House from On-Line Systems (Sierra).

These games took the text based adventure to a new level. Gone were the images the mind created when you were deeply involved in a game like Zork and now could see and “experience” places visually in games. Mystery House was a very simple game, in adventure terms, but was still a solid base from which other adventures were built.

While I don’t spend much time around gaming related web sites any longer, a childhood friend of mine who I was reacquainted with via Facebook brought the Apple ][ emulators to my attention. Why? Because at the time we both owned these and lived just a few doors away from each other and spent countless hours playing these early computer games. The PC had really not taken hold as a gaming platform and Apple was the dominate computer early on. Yet a game like Mystery House ended up retailing for about $24.95, after the first versions were freeware with a $5 donation.

While I still fancy some of the great text based adventures I have been memorized by the likes of Mystery House, Wizard and the Princess, Cranston Manor and the other titles in the ‘Hi-Res Adventure series‘. Graphically, they don’t impress but they were the next best thing after text based adventures. It gets me back to my roots of computer gaming, which has spanned some 29 years! Mind boggling if I actually think about it.

Currently I am searching through archived games found at and going back to a time gone by, when games were simple, enjoyable and left a lasting impression. Unlike many of the games today that are old news a few weeks later. This is a great way to waste some downtime at work or, if you are like me to kill many hours at home. For those who never owned an Apple ][ I don’t think you will get the same joy and excitement, but I still recommend you give it shot.?

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