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17/04/2014: Gaming Manuals Added For The Lost Treasures of Infocom, Halls of Montezuma, The Black Cauldron, John Elway's Quarterback and Superstar Ice Hockey

There's been a backlog of scanned manuals from Antoine Vignau, most generous man in the Apple II universe, that I've had a hard time sorting due to lack of time in my behalf. But here's some of them now for you to enjoy.

Firstly, there's the documentation to the Lost Treasures of Infocom - a HUGE set of manuals, given this includes all of the classic Infocom text adventures. For most games, a separate map PDF has been included as well. Not included, however, is the Hints book that included solutions to ALL the games included in the collection, which I'll need some time to scan myself, as the TWO copies of the game Antoine bought were missing! In the meantime, you could always find walkthroughs for these games via Google of course.

Next, there's the manual for Halls of Montezuma, which replaces the existing manual I had for the 8-bit version. I've pieced together the separate scans Antoine made of the maps, but they don't perfectly align, but you'll get the idea looking at it.

The Black Cauldron gets the full documentation treatment as part of its archive now.

And last but not least, two sporting titles, John Elway's Quarterback and Superstar Ice Hockey are now fully documented with their original manuals (and disk labels as well - thanks again Antoine!).

13/04/2014: Questron II now fully playable from a Hard Drive (or any large volume ProDOS partition)

In the pursuit of being able to prepare every IIGS application, game or educational software to run from a hard drive / large ProDOS volume, I've been able to add another one to the list - Questron II. This RPG from 1988 was converted stylishly to the IIGS by none other than Westwood Associates and now can be fully enjoyed from a physical hard drive or CFFA3000, CFFA v1 / v2, MicroDrive, Focus, etc, removing the necessity of it running from a 3.5" disk or image.

Thanks to Antoine for checking his archives for v1.1 of the Questron II executable (the newer version fixes a very damaging hard drive wiping bug as reported by A+ Magazine back in the day) and thanks be to Vince Andrews (way back in 1991) for writing an easy to follow method of installing the program to any ProDOS volume, as well as including a classic desk accessory for modifying character attributes. You no longer have to use a separate character disk, as that info, along with save games, are also stored in the 'Questron.II' folder on the Games with Path Modifications 32 meg volume - so download that to get the modified version. I've also updated the individual floppy disk archive on the WITA2GS? Last but not least, I added an icon for the game as well (appearing on the Games with Path Modifications volume).

Stay tuned for more content updates! And remember, if you've got a hard drive installable version of a game, app or educational program that WITA2GS? doesn't have, be sure to write in.

23/03/2014: Record Winning Bids on IIGS Games on eBay

In the space of a week, not just once, but twice have we seen new record amounts paid for winning bids on IIGS games at auction on eBay.

Firstly, $203.50 for the unheard of game The Gem Of Zephyrr, was won at auction. This is an RPG that's quite possibly entirely text based, but none-the-less released as a IIGS specific program. I was never aware of it, although Antoine has since found information on this title and others by author Eric Seiden and DAR Systems. We'll keep you posted if we discover anything more about this title and others by DAR Systems.

Secondly, Mighty Marvel Vs the Forces of Evil showed up on eBay for the first time I've been keeping tabs on IIGS software for sale on the largest online auction house in the world for the last 12 years, and this has never come up. Seems I'm not the only one who knew this as the winning bid was $453.00. Easily the highest amount of money paid for a IIGS game I've ever seen.

I hope the new owners of both games are willing and able to scan the covers, disks and manuals for posterity and archiving for all to enjoy.

In other news, I apologise for the lack of updates to What is the Apple IIGS?, despite there being much content to add. I now have a new job (or two new jobs) teaching graphic design at technical college and working as a freelance graphic designer, and it's been requiring almost all of my attention. Stay tuned though, I plan to get updates to the site out sooner rather than later.

11/01/2014: Gaming Update Bonanza!

Hot on the heels of the educational and hardware related finds made amongst Tony Diaz's collection, we now turn our attention to gaming related finds - and there's quite a lot of new cool stuff archived.

Firstly, I've found a English language version of Bouncing Bluster II v2.0.3. I've always liked Bouncing Bluster, but it's always had a few kinks – this new find fixes a few things, but adds some new ones. The updated version of the IIGS only Arkanoid clone can be found in its own separate archive, with more information, or with the original BBI levels on the Games with Path Modifications 32 meg volume.

Another great find, and amazing I've not come across it until now, is a IIGS specific freeware version of Wheel of Fortune. My imagination would usually get the better of me reading the summaries of programs appearing in the single column adverts for Public Domain Exchange listings in A+ magazines, but I always thought the description for Wheel of Fortune sounded cool. And you know what...it is! For a freeware title, it includes fantastic graphics and sound and it all plays smoothly. It was created in BASIC but using all the IIGS enhancements that Iconix and Sonix provides - right down to Vanna White's fashion constantly changing thanks to clever use of multiple palettes. It even uses some elaborate border effects! Love it!

One note however is that it doesnt't run under Sweet 16 - it will always crash if you attempt to use it on the venerable OS X based emulator. Under KEGS / GSPort / ActiveGS on the other hand, it performs OK, but mouse control doesn't quite calibrate to the screen in a window. I don't believe the game can be run from System 6 either, or be hard drive installable.

Another Iconix based game I found was Pentominoes. Not as good as Wheel of Fortune, but another good example of what could be done with BASIC and Iconix. Were any more of these Iconix developed games available? So What Software's offerings certainly would have given more opportunity to use IIGS specific features combined with tried and true BASIC programming skills.

Another great find was an alternative version of Aaargh! This one doesn't require a sector edit of it's hard coded path like I'd already provided on the Games with Path Modifications volume. The new version resides there as well now (there isn't room for it on the 'Action' games volume!). I haven't compared the two different versions extensively, but there may be other differences between them if it was an official update to the program to allow hard drive installation.

Another interesting oddity was finding v2.0 of Jigsaw. The executable's file size is slightly bigger than the previous version (35k over 20k) and offers an ‘Erase Records' option, but I've been unable to find anything else different about this newer version. It might have included bug fixes? Anyway, it's available via the Jigsaw archive as well as the Board Games and RPGs 32 meg volume.

Also found was a self running demo for cyberpunk classic game Neuromancer. I'm surprised this freebie wasn't distributed more to help better promote this Interplay title. It's pretty cool watching the self running demo of the game unfold...reminds me of Brutal Deluxe's Opale Demo :-)

I found even more game demos. The Tower of Myraglen Demo includes the same intro as the real game and some teasers of game play. California Dreams' Vegas Gambler, Vegas Craps, Club Backgammon and Triango demos were also found - the last two demonstrate gameplay very nicely with self running demos - the Vegas give you a measley amount of money to play with before the demos quit.

I discovered all these game demos on disks with officially printed labels - must have been handed out at AppleFest or other shows. Strangely, for the most part, they don't seem to work with Sweet 16 and bomb out to the menu presented when quitting a PrODOS 16 app. Even weirder is that I haven't come across these before and that they weren't distributed round BBSs back in the day (at least the ones I frequented).

I've got some nice box scans of some unreleased titles for the IIGS - SDI, Puzznic and UMS II - Nations at War. Tony had kept these MS-DOS versions all these years! If only the IIGS versions would show up for more unreleased/rumoured titles...sigh.

And if that wasn't enough, I even threw in the box from the Mac version of Lemmings coming across that at Tony's - given the IIGS version was never blessed with a box. Speaking of Brutal Deluxe titles, Antoine pointed out to me that I'd forgotten an archive entry to their game Blockade – how did I miss that one?! It now has it's own dedicated archive.

Last but not least in terms of new software, I found a shareware text adventure game not previously archived: ‘Paranoia', and it can be found in ‘More.Shareware' on the Sports & Unreleased 32 meg volume.

We've also got a TONNE of new manuals, meaning we're VERY close to having every manual for every IIGS commercial game ever made. New additions are:

Airball, Club Backgammon, Dark Castle (Errata), Space Fox, Futureshock 3D (More a letter from the developer with hints and tips), Grand Prix Circuit, Roadwar 2000 and World Tour Golf.

Antoine's eagle eyes have also spotted gaps in the collection and he's managed to obtain boxed copies of Quest Master I, Mean 18 Famous Courses vol IV, Jack Nicklaus Golf International Course disk and submitted manuals for those titles as well (As well as the box and disk label for the International course-disk).

Before we get into talk of 8-bit Apple II game stuff, it must be said that Brian Picchi has done the amazing again and created a new game, written in assembly, called Lamb Chops. Happy NEW gaming days are here again!

We've also got a quite a few new inclusions in the 8-bit games released on 3.5" disk. First up, is Clue: Master Detective. This is a rather well designed game and makes very sensible use of the old school Apple II hi-res mode to produce nicely styled graphics and text. And it's got a self running to demo - love having those as screen savers!

Another interesting find was the discovery that the original Ancient Art of War was also officially released on 3.5" disk by Broderbund. Unfortunately, we weren't able to make a successful disk image from Tony's collection, but now we know it's out there - if you've got copies of this game, boxed or otherwise, check if you've got the 3.5" disk version, make a disk image and submit it to the archive. There's nothing better than not being distracted from disk swapping while you're enjoying a game!

Another great find is a complete boxed edition of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, for which I scanned the box and more importantly, the manual - you need to refer to the manual after finishing the first part of the game - the developers sneakily included a word look-up protection routine there instead of at the beginning of the game.

Also available for the first time in the Apple II world (as far as I know), is the Bard's Tale III official Cluebook! That should help sort out your troubles with the Mad God Trajan. Also included now is a scan of the wonderful artwork of the packaging.

I also came across some other classic 8-bit games hacked to run from 3.5" disk - including the original Bard's tale, Tass Times in Tonetown and OGRE - all on the same volume. Those of you with a IIc+ might want to check out this disk - I'll stick to the IIGS specific versions myself (OGRE excluded).

I also came across the re-release of Ultima I on a single 3.5" disk. Also, another Origin title, Space Rogue on two 3.5" disks. I also found a 3.5" disk installer for the rather large RPG Knights of Legend, however trying it both on a real IIGS (with CFFA3000) and under emulation, I couldn't get it to work. It'd be pretty sweet to have a 3.5" disk version of this game, as it came on NINE single sided 5.25" floppies! Any IIc+ user motivated for the task to get more convenient gaming out of this unique Apple II? IIGS users would benefit as well, of course :-) I've included a .zip archive for Knights of Legend, including the 3.5" disk installer image and available 5.25" disk images from Asimov (which I renamed for easier recognition).

Russ Ross wrote in about the John Carmack game Wraith - Devil's Demise. He's provided a fresh copy of the game that should work hassle free for non-IIGS machines. Additionally, he's also created terrific maps of the world in Wraith, which can be found from his site.

P.S. If you're looking for news for the last three years (as the buttons on the right hand side only go up to 2009)...

2013

2012

2011

2010