People still love the Apple II

The Apple II computer ceased production in 1993, but that hasn’t stopped fans like Mark Lemmert from continuing to create new programs for it. Lemmert’s game Nox Archaist, released last month, is an RPG modeled after the classic Ultima series.

“I’ve always wondered if there could be another iteration of a game like Ultima on Apple II that pushed it further,” Lemmert says in episode 450 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “Maybe not something on the level of Ultima 6 – because that was obviously their first title that wasn’t on Apple – but something somewhere between Ultima 5 and Ultima 6. I wanted to find out if that was possible.”

Most of the popular video games today have been influenced by Apple II games such as Ultima, Castle Wolfenstein, Prince of Persia and Wasteland. Games journalist David L. Craddock explore the history of Apple II games in its 2017 book Break Out, packed with photos and screenshots.

“The great thing about all the images – concept art, illustrations and so on – that I have included is that they all come from [developers like] Richard Garriott, Brian Fargo and Jordan Mechner, “says Craddock.” Everyone I spoke to thought it was a really cool idea and sent me a lot of stuff. “

Many of these developers also appear as characters in Nox Archaist. Lemmert was particularly excited to be able to include a cameo of Steve Wozniak, inventor of the Apple II. “Steve Wozniak was kind enough to take the time, not just agree to do it, but then when Nox Archaist launched in December, tweeted who is an NPC in Nox Archaist, ”Lemmert says. “For a longtime Apple II fan, it’s like receiving a blessing from the Pope.”

Apple II games may seem primitive by today’s standards, but Craddock thinks many of them are just as fun to play as anything on the market. “For me, a hallmark of developing a retro or retro game is working within these limits,” he says. “It forces you to make some sacrifices, but it also brings out a lot of creativity that perhaps isn’t as evident today, because we only have this loot of wealth in terms of resources and hardware.”

Hear the full interview with Mark Lemmert and David L. Craddock in the 450th episode of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above). And take a look at some highlights from the discussion below.

David L. Craddock on Oregon Trail:

“Oregon Trail was [originally] a text-only game programmed on a mainframe and the students at the school where the teachers created it played Oregon Trail using dumb terminals connected to the mainframe. Since there were no graphics and you couldn’t just press the keys to hunt the bison as it moved heavily across the screen, you had to type “bang” or “pow”. Thus the students became faster typists. They also worked on their spelling. … I think the main lesson in general with games like Oregon Trail and Carmen Sandiego is that they did not feel [educational]. I don’t think many edutainment games made on later generation hardware have necessarily captured this. “

Mark Lemmert on feelings:

“For me it’s an essential part of an RPG. I bought Ultima 5 as a kid, I waited about five weeks for UPS to deliver it, you know, ordering it from a magazine or something. That’s not how it works anymore, of course. And the box that arrives in the mail, opens it and reads the manual. I was the kind of person who would read the manual before playing and the fabric maps. It was so engaging. This was my experience as a kid, and so when I decided to do Nox Archaist, that was always deep in my mind: ‘If I’m going to do it, I really, really should go all the way and get the box and the sensations. . And of course it worked in the end. “

David L. Craddock on game developers:

“A lot of these developers are dying since all of this happened a long time ago, which is exactly why I was happy to talk to people like Doug and Gary Carlston, the co-founders of Broderbundwhen I could. … The great thing about talking to people like John Romero, John Carmack, Richard Garriott and Burger Becky, these people love that they got involved in this scene, and they are still active, and they will talk to you and walk you through anything you want to hear. So, should anyone ever play an Apple II game and have a question for any of them, you can tweet them and nine times out of 10 they’ll get back to you within 12 hours or so, and just talk in your ear for those days. “

Mark Lemmert on quick combat:

“I thought a great way to push the boundaries of tiled RPG would be to have the full-screen tactical combat system everyone expects, but also have a quick combat option. It wouldn’t be a substitute for tactical combat – you don’t have the same chance of winning battles in quick combat as in tactical, but if you find yourself in a situation where you know you are much more powerful than the monster that just attacked you, with the quick fight you can finish with that battle in seconds and move on to the next thing. Even the most hardcore RPG players said it was truly a wonderful quality of life improvement.

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