Red 5, standing by

Next up is Softape’s Star Wars and Space Maze, written by Bob Bishop. Again we find that the tape’s cover doesn’t quite match. In nearly everything I’ve seen, the relevant game is referred to as Star Wars, but on the cover it’s called Star Warriors, and on the tape case, Star-Wars. If it were today, the name on the cover would certainly just be a thinly veiled attempt to keep lawyers away, but I don’t think could have been the rationale in 1979, since it’s still called Star Wars in the catalogs I’ve seen. Or whatever year it’s from, since it is given as 1977 in the program listing, 1978 on the tape case, and 1979 on the splash screen. In any event, here’s the tape.

Star wars tape

Space maze tape

Star warriors cover

As with other tapes, I’ve created both WAV and AIFF files, and the AIFF files load with the default settings in Virtual II, and I’ve created DSK versions that load up the Integer BASIC ROMs and then run the program as it was loaded from tape. Nothing fancy, there’s no copy protection to contend with.

Probably not surprisingly, there are actually a number of different games called Star Wars on the Apple II platform alone. I’ll put screenshots of this one below. Apple Computer Inc. also had a cassette with a game called Starwars, which is kind of like a souped-up version of this one (and written by somebody else). Softape also has a different game called Star Wars included on Module 8 of their Instant Library, but that game is a lo-res version (and is as far as I can tell, practically impossible). The plot of all of these is basically the same, however. Maneuver a TIE fighter into your crosshairs and shoot it.

Star wars splash

Star wars play

Star wars game over

It’s even possible to read through the program to see how it works. I haven’t really done this, though. And even though the skeleton of the program is visible in Integer BASIC, a lot of the action takes place in calls to routines written directly in machine language code hidden within the BASIC program.

Star wars list

The game on the other side, Space Maze, seems to be a result of having written Star Wars and deciding that some of the elements could be recycled. In this game, you seem to have gone over to the Dark Side, and are now driving the TIE fighter. Your goal is to move it through a maze without hitting the walls, scored by how quickly you accomplish this feat. The instructions on the screen suggest this was initially a game to be played with paddles, which I imagine would be even more difficult than it would be with a joystick.

Space maze splash

Space maze ready

Space maze midpoint

Space maze 82sec

I can’t say the game play really holds up, I probably won’t be spending a lot of time playing either of these in the future. But it is an interesting bit of history anyway, as people were just beginning to explore what these machines could do.

A fierce competitor from 1979

Here are the contents of the Softape Othello tape, now that I have opened it up. There was no instruction card or anything, just the tape and the cover insert. The two sides of the tape contain different versions of the game, one side has a version for the standard Apple II (with Integer BASIC ROMs) and the other side has a version for the II+ (or upgraded II, with Applesoft/AutoStart ROMs). As with several of these tapes, the name on the cover doesn’t precisely match the name on the tape, though oddly, it does match the name in the program itself. Strange that this didn’t bother people. This game is “actually” called Othello, like it says on the tape cover, although on the tape casing, it’s called Super Othello.

Othello tape integer

Othello tape applesoft

Othello tape cover

Below are the audio files, as well as two DSK images that I created to load the data from the tape without having to wait around for the loading procedure. As before, I’ve tested the AIFF file and it loads fine with Virtual II, but I have not tested the WAV file.

I included both the Applesoft and Integer versions because I was just being thorough. There is no difference between the two programs, as I’ll detail below.

Starting up the game, you see the following:

Othello splash

I opted to go first, at which point the game board is drawn:

Othello start

Despite claims on the cover that Super Othello is a “fierce competitor,” I pretty much destroyed it on my first attempt.

Othello won

The loading procedure is quite straightforward, you just LOAD either the Integer BASIC or Applesoft BASIC version and RUN it. You might have thought it would have been a lot of work to translate from one dialect to the other, but you’d have been wrong. The game is actually written in machine language, wrapped within the BASIC program. So, if you were hoping to derive a learning experience in programming from examining how it is done, you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you.

Othello int list

Othello fp list

So, that’s (Super) Othello. Further tapes to come in further postings.

Superappleinvader Game captured

I made some attempts at capturing the audio from the cassettes, and the first one, Invader Game Apple Invader Super Invader Superinvader, was successfully transferred.

The audio files are below, in WAV and AIFF formats. I have tested the AIFF file in Virtual II, but I have not tested the WAV file. Note that this game is old enough that it assumes you have the Integer ROMs, so to use this you need to boot from the System Master and switch to integer with INT before dropping to the monitor and loading it with 200.6000R.

I also made a loader DSK image that contains the data captured from the cassette and will load the language card, switch to the Integer ROMs, and the load the game. Although the cassette load starts at $200, it immediately proceeds to $280, so the version on the disk just starts at $280 and can be BRUN. Note that this game was also distributed on disk, but the DSK image below is one I made just now, and uses the data read from this cassette. Later I will probably image the disk version (I have two of the disks), although I’m pretty sure it already exists out there, and it probably only differs in how the game code is loaded.

This game seems to have gone through several name changes in the course of development. The label says “Superinvader” but the initial splash screen says “Super Invader”, then a second splash screen calls it “Invader Game”, and then both the demo legend screen and the gameplay screen say “Apple Invader”. So it goes.

Superinvader splash

Superinvader invadergame

Superinvader legend

Superinvader game

Superinvader tape front

Superinvader tape back

Apple cassettes

Back in the days before the disk drive, one of the primary methods of distributing software for the Apple II was on cassette tapes, and there were actually quite a large number of tapes produced for the platform. However, they also were relatively short-lived, since the floppy disk provided a faster, more reliable, and larger storage medium. Disk drives were expensive initially, so cassette tapes persisted for a while, but it wasn’t very long before the 5.25″ floppy disk took over as a distribution medium.

Antoine Vignau at Brutal Deluxe has amassed a large catalog and archive of cassette tapes, a truly monumental (and valuable) effort. For each of the many cassettes he and the other contributors have archived, you can download the sound files and play them into a real Apple II or emulator. But just like software on disks, there are still some missing (though fairly few by now I expect). The records available on the internet of what was there are fairly slim. Here and there, a catalog appears, listing the offerings, but reviews are scarce, and most of the time all that exists is a line item in a listing or magazine advertisement.

Apple Computer Inc. itself distributed a set of cassettes with its earlier machines, and those cassettes are, relatively speaking, not so hard to find. I have amassed a fairly sizable collection of these, though it is by no means exhaustive (particularly since there were several versions). But there were quite a number of third-party software producers who distributed software on cassettes. And those are getting extremely hard to come by, mostly because there were not nearly as many of them to begin with. One possible exception is Hayden’s Sargon (chess) cassette, this seems to have been very popular, and I’ve in fact wound up with two of them. But a lot have practically vanished. One of the major software companies selling cassettes was Softape. They had a fairly large catalog of software.

What leads me to write about this is that I recently managed to get my hands on what was probably leftover stock from a dealer, in which were a number of Softape cassettes still in their shrink wrap. The shrink wrap is in bad shape, both ripped and quite dirty, but the tapes within are surely in great condition. I have opened one of them (Tic-Tac-Talker), but not yet opened the others.

So, I’ll take this opportunity to show pictures of the Softape tapes, and then run through the rest of the tapes I have. Partly, this was to do an inventory so that I can see if I have anything that Antoine does not yet have up on his site (either audio images, or cassette pictures and scans). I may well get more after this post, but this is what I have as of now, and I’ve made some nice pictures of them. What I have not done so far is any of the audio imaging. I will notate which of the tapes below can be retrieved from the Brutal Deluxe site as of now with a “(cBD)” (‘see Brutal Deluxe’), but you’ll need to go there to download the actual software. It turns out that I seem to have quite a few that have not been captured there, so it will be a project of mine fairly soon to capture those and submit them, and dig around to see if I have any more relevant documentation. I do intend to spotlight individual tapes, programs, and companies later on, but for now I’m just going to dump my pictures.

First, the Softape tapes: Star Warriors and Space Maze (SSB-1077), Othello (OHS-279), and Tic-Tac-Talker (TTT-978) (cBD).

St swar front

St swar spine

St swar back

St oth front

St oth spine

St oth back

St ttt front wrapped

St ttt spine wrapped

St ttt back wrapped

The last of these, Tic-Tac-Talker, I actually opened, so here is the tape that was inside, and a PDF scan of the cover and the instruction leaflet that was inside.

St ttt front

St ttt back

St ttt cover

St ttt insert

I have a couple of tapes from MUSE, who went on after this to be quite successful in the disk medium as well (responsible for Castle Wolfenstein, Super Text, and a bunch of other things—I will definitely write them up as a separate topic). Below are the tapes for U-Draw, and Global War (cBD).

Muse udraw cover

Muse udraw front

Muse gwar cover

Muse globalwar tape front

Hayden produced quite a bit of software on tape and later on disk, but among the more popular titles were the Sargon series of chess games. I have the tapes for Sargon (cBD) and Sargon II (cBD).

Sargon tape cover

Sargon tape front

Sargonii tape cover

Sargon ii tape front

Another big producer of software on cassette was Programma, I have a couple of loose Programma cassettes: Football Predictions, and Ampersort II.

Football predictions tape front

Ampersort ii tape front

subLOGIC sold a number of things, mainly later in the disk era, most somehow related to rendering 3D graphics (mostly flight simulators). I have a very early 3D library on tape, the main program on the front and a demo on the back. I removed the screws in order to replace the pad, which had fallen off, in order to get a read of the tape, and apparently I didn’t put them back in.

Sublogic 3d graphics tape front

Sublogic 3d graphics tape back

Then, I have a few single cassettes. Personal Software’s Bridge Challenger (cBD) (the company that also produced VisiCalc), Rainbow Computing’s Apartment Building Cost Analysis, Cosmos/Astar’s Super Invader, Mountain Hardware’s Setting the Time (cBD) (software for setting the time on their Apple Clock).

Bridge challenger tape front

Bridge challenger tape back

Rainbow apt building cost tape front

Superinvader tape front

Superinvader tape back

Mountain setting time tape front

And then… and then I have a whole slew of Apple Computer Inc. cassettes. The oldest one I have is the Apple Software Bank Checkbook and Database Management System program (cBD). This may well have been the first ASB title, and I believe there are also screen shots of it in action included on some of the earliest Apple II ads. The style of the cassette is quite different, and it came in a nice folder. The writing on the cassette is extremely faded, I did some contrast tricks in the picture below to make it readable at all.

Checkbook tape set

Checkbook tape contrasted

The rest of the tapes are kind of a mix between the tapes that were supplied originally with the Apple II, the Apple II+, and I believe some that were sold separately, probably through Apple Software Bank. I still need to finish researching these. For now, I will content myself with the pictures and then finish this very long posting. What is pictured below is:

  • 002-0001-01 Breakout / Color Graphics (P/N A2T0003X) (cBD)
  • 002-0007-01 Applesoft IIa / Floating Point BASIC Demo (P/N A2T0004X) (cBD)
  • 002-0014-01 Leases / Loans (P/N A2T0011X) (cBD)
  • 002-0015-01 Finance / Savings (P/N A2T0011X) (cBD)
  • 600-2013-00 Startrek / Starwars (P/N A2T0002X) (cBD)
  • 600-2023-00 Little Brick Out / Color Demosoft (cBD)
  • 600-2024-00 Alignment Test Tone / Renumber/Append (cBD)
  • 600-2025-00 Finance I / Penny Arcade (cBD)
  • 600-2026-00 Hopalong Cassidy / Lemonade (cBD)
  • 600-2027-00 Brian’s Theme / Phone List (cBD)
  • 685-0001-00 Tape Measure / Alignment Test Tone (and accompanying card) (cBD)
  • 685-0005-00 Applevision / Biorhythm (cBD)

002 0001 01 breakout

002 0001 01 color graphics

002 0007 01 applesoft iia

002 0007 01 fp basic demo

002 0014 00 leases

002 0014 00 loans

002 0015 00 finance

002 0015 00 savings

600 2013 00 startrek

600 2013 00 starwars

600 2023 00 brickout

600 2023 00 colordemosoft

600 2024 00 alignment

600 2024 00 renumber

600 2025 00 pennyarcade

600 2025 00 finance1

600 2026 00 hopalong

600 2026 00 lemonade

600 2027 00 brianstheme

600 2027 00 phonelist

685 0001 00 tape measure front

Prom tape measure front

685 0005 00 applevision

685 0005 00 biorhythm

ProFiles encouraged

Apple’s ProFile drive, designed (clearly) for use with the Apple ///, came in a couple of variations, and quickly made its way to the Lisa and Apple II as well. They came in 5MB and 10MB varieties (the 10MB versions are quite rare now), as distinguished by their model numbers (A9M0005 vs. A9M0100).

Profile ready light on

Profile a9m0005

To use the ProFile, an interface card is required appropriate to the machine. The Apple /// and Apple II each require a dedicated interface card, while the Lisa (sort of) required a more general parallel interface card. I say “sort of” because the Lisa actually has a built-in parallel port that can be used for this out of the box, but the port in the Lisa 2 at least was internal, used to support an internal widget drive. In my Lisa 2, I have an X/ProFile connected to the internal port, so to connect an external (second) drive, I need the parallel interface card. I actually have a couple of 5MB ProFile drives and two parallel cards, but the first parallel card I tried didn’t work and I haven’t gotten around to trying the second one yet. My plan is to back up whatever is on the ProFiles now (which were almost certainly formatted for Lisa use), and then reformat them with the Apple ///.

Here is the Apple /// card alone, and then installed:

A3 profile io card

A3 profile io card installed

The Apple II card had a more generic name (“Apple II interface”), but was specifically for the ProFile. Moreover, the EPROM on the card determined whether it was for the 5MB or the 10MB ProFile. I am not at present sure whether a 10MB EPROM will work with the 5MB drive, but as I understand it the 5MB EPROM will only see 5MB of a 10MB drive if connected.

Profile apple ii interface

Here is the Lisa parallel card. I have two of them, and, oddly, they differ in that one has a 6-color logo on it and one does not. I have tested the white-logo one and it didn’t work, I haven’t tested the 6-color logo one yet.

Lisa parallel card Lisa parallel card 6color

Speaking of formatting the drives, another point about the ProFile: It is possible to erase a ProFile drive on any of the machines you can connect it to, but to do a low-level format requires an Apple ///, the ProFile interface card, and a special “low-level formatting kit.” I have the kit, but I haven’t used it yet (or even unwrapped it). First, I’ll back up the drives, then I’ll reformat them. My thinking is that they could use a good reformatting to extend their usable life. All of the ProFiles I have power on and make it to the “ready” state, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they’re on their penultimate legs.

The picture below is “of” my LLF kit, but it may well not be in its authentic packaging. It’s just in a standard “accessories” box, probably shrink-wrapped and labelled by the guy I bought it from (VintageMicros).

Llf format kit wrapped

Anyway, on to the manuals, disk images, and paper stuff. This is ProFile stuff specifically for the Apple ///, originally contained within a box, here’s a (particularly beat-up) instance of it:

Profile accessories box

Apple iii profile accessories packing list Apple iii profile accessories packing list 2 Profile driver diskette
Profile owners manual errata iii Apple iii profile owners manual Profile helpful hints with iii
Apple backup iii disk Apple backup iii users manual Apple iii user input report 2
Apple iii user input report 1 Profile warranty form

I don’t have any materials for the Apple II version, and I posted the ones I have from ProFiles intended for the Lisa a couple of entries ago about stuff packed with Lisa. So, there it is. When I actually go through the process of doing the backup and low-level formatting, I’ll document the process and results here, but for now, just clearing up the backlog of scans I’ve got.

It’s Business Time

Today, we have the Apple II Business Graphics package. I was surprised to discover that it didn’t seem to be archived in any of the places I looked, but it also turned out to be kind of a beast to copy. Even Apple-branded stuff back in the day was copy protected.

A2bg outer box

A2bg opened

This is a complete set, at least according to the packing list. The only thing I haven’t scanned is the “How-To Sheet”, which is glued to the inside of the top cover of the box.

Here is the scanned documentation and paper that came along with it:

A2bg packing list Apple ii business graphics manual A2bg user input report
A2bg software lic agrt A2bg sticker A2bg disks
A2bg slipcover side2 A2bg slipcover front A2bg slipcover side1 A2bg slipcover back

The real coup here, actually, is that I finally managed to get disk images that seem to work in an emulator. It was no easy task. I first managed to get a bootable copy using Locksmith 5.0, and then tried a couple of different nibble disk transfer methods until I finally wound up using SST to nibblize the disks on actual hardware and then reconstitute the image in an emulator. Virtual ][ seems only to like it in its half-track format (v2d), so accordingly, it only runs right now in Virtual ][. Maybe someday I’ll try it again—it is not flawless. Sometimes (randomly?) it bombs out with an I/O error and you have to reset the machine. But I tried it a little bit (nowhere near exhaustively), and it basically seemed to work.

Update: Thanks to Rich Thompson in the comments, I was made aware that Computist #48 has a softkey for this. The trick is that track #1 is unreadable on the original, and if it can be read, the program bombs out. So, I re-imaged the disk straightforwardly with ADTPro, converted it to a .nib file using Disk Muncher in the emulator (reading from the .dsk.po file, writing to a .nib file), and then went in with a hex editor and changed all instances of D5 AA 96 FF FE AA AB to D5 AA 96 FF FE FF FF, which effectively destroys track #1. The .nib file now boots fine, so I have replaced the disk images I’d had up before with these. Because the Computist softkey relies on using a magic volume number (005) to see if it’s dealing with the PLOT disk, and because the .dsk format doesn’t preserve the volume number, I have not gone ahead with deprotecting the disk, since it would have to be stored in a .nib file anyway.

I was previously having occasional I/O errors that would force me to reset, and I don’t know whether that behavior is gone or not (perhaps that even happened BITD). I haven’t stress-tested this new image, but I was able at least to recreate the plots I’d done without any errors appearing.

A2bg splash

A2bg start

A2bg posts

Packing Lisa

Some packing lists and other stuff from Lisa 2/XL. I have some manuals as well, but this is all the little miscellany.

Lisa 2 packing list Lisa 2 accessories packing list Lisa software license agreement
Lisa hardware registraton card Lisa add on memory board packing list Lisa add on memory card installation instructions
Imagewriter packing list lisa Imagewriter printer evaluation report Imagewriter unpacking instructions
Profile packing list us Profile accessories packing list lisa Profile how to unpack lisa
Profile owners manual errata Thanks for choosing macintosh

Apple III publications

I just recently got a pretty big haul of Apple III stuff, including a bunch of boxed software (quite a bit of it still shrink-wrapped), and also a number of newsletters and catalogs. I’ve scanned what I have of the newsletters.

One that was new to me is The /// Magazine. It seems to have been a publication put out by Pair Software, which served as a kind of advertising vehicle for them, but also included quite a few articles. The editing is a bit spotty, spelling errors are somewhat rampant, but it’s still interesting to see. (Perhaps the worst of the errors is that on the cover of the October 1986 issue, in large type, it proclaims “November 1986”.) I have four issues, and I’ve also scanned a renewal notice and subscription card.

A more well-known Apple /// publication is On Three, three of which I have, along with a kind of “brochure” (On Three Tracks) that is really just a brief catalog, with one article in it. I scanned all of these, one of which already exists on asimov (among many earlier issues there, scanned by Mike Maginnis). Two of the ones I have scanned here (vol 5, numbers 1-2) were not represented there, though, nor was the On Three Tracks brochure. On Three was also essentially produced by an Apple /// software/hardware company, but it was nevertheless a pretty contentful and professionally produced newsletter.

I also have posted a couple of Sun Remarketing Sun Times catalogs. Sun Remarketing of course was the company that bought up a lot of Apple /// and Lisa stock and resold and supported it after Apple canceled the machines.

These are not entirely pristine. The original recipient marked the date received on them, and went through some of the catalogs checking off things of interest and making notes. I have made no attempt to clean this up. But it’s not particularly distracting, either.

The /// Magazine

On Three

Sun Times

IIIMagazine1986 10 IIIMagazine1986 11 12
IIIMagazine1987 01 IIIMagazine1986 12 subcard
IIIMagazine1987 02
OnThree Tracks1987 05 06 OnThree1987 10
OnThree1988 01 OnThree1988 02
SunTimes1987 spring SunTimes1988 winter

Softalk issues

Sooner than I’d anticipated, I’m back on the blog. I’ve scanned a couple of my issues of Softalk, and as an experiment, I tried putting them in a shared folder on box.com, since I happened to have a bunch of space available there. But the downloading interface is not optimal, and it pings me every time someone downloads a file. The advantage was that it was browsable, but I’ll replicate that by posting the links here.

Update: I’ve updated August 1982, it is now complete except for the back cover.

What I’ve been doing is extracting selected individual articles (with full-page ads removed) from the magazines, and then (where I’ve done the whole thing) the entire issues. These are searchable images, originally scanned at 600dpi and down sampled to 300dpi, since, as it turns out, the printed resolution is not high enough to warrant 600dpi. I’ve also put bookmarks in the PDF files for the articles, since the additional time to do that over and above the cropping and OCR time was fairly insignificant.

Where I’ve processed the full issue, it’s linked below. I have some articles from issues that I have not scanned in full in here as well. I will update this post when I’ve scanned them in full, but probably also recapitulate it in a new blog post for those.

If you don’t want to wade through what’s below, the full issues are: July 1981 (79MB) and October 1982 (243MB). August 1982 (217MB) is complete except the back cover.

Softalk 1981 July

Softalk1981 07

Softalk 1981 November

Softalk1981 11

Softalk 1982 April

Softalk1982 04

Softalk 1982 August

Softalk1982 08

Softalk 1982 October

Softalk1982 10

Softalk 1984 January

Softalk1984 01

Softalk 1984 July

Softalk1984 07

Softalk 1984 August (final issue)

Softalk1984 08

State of the blog

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything here, and as usual a lot of interesting and relevant things have happened (mainly in terms of acquisitions) that I could post about. Mostly, I’ve just resorted to Twitter, and by now there are so many things to post about that I’m sure to forget something. I got a couple of really interesting collections of things, including an early II+ with all its boxes and lots of tapes and manuals, another set of things left over from a Apple II repair shop with lots of spare chips, badges, and doodads, a big set of LEGO/Apple II robotics equipment and a half-dozen //es from a retired industrial arts teacher. I now also have two standard (non-plus) Apple IIs through a couple of lucky breaks, a machine I’d thought I’d never even have one of (neither of them have the coveted raised power lamp, they’re both slightly too new). So much to document, so many disks to image.

Being an academic, I’ve reached the break between Fall and Spring semesters, which I hope will give me some opportunity to get through some of these projects that have been piling up. Among the projects I’d like to undertake is to figure out how to organize this site in some useful way, since I envision having lots of stuff here that’s not really best viewed in reverse chronological order. We’ll see. Only a few short weeks open for this, but maybe I’ll make some progress.

Anyway, this is just another “I’m still alive” post, though if you were following @yesterbits on Twitter, you’d have known I’m still alive.