21/12/2010: Where in the World is Alex Lee?
So, some of you might have been wondering what's going on with the site with the outage and lack of updates.
Back in late June I quit my job as senior graphic designer at Madman Entertainment after 7.5 years and with my partner Bronwen and embarked upon a planned 5 month long discovery of Europe. We've now completed that leg of our adventure and are now trying to live in the UK with working visas.
During our time living in England, it might be a good opportunity to meet up with those unique and isolated individuals in the UK who chose the Apple II over the homegrown Commodore and Sinclair variants back in the 80s. Or even cross the channel and meet those talented French men who still even now find new things to do with the IIGS (hi Antoine!)
On our journey, they particularly loved the IIGS in Croatia. Oh yes, they have 'GS' on most of the number plates of the cars residing in Zadar and Plitvice. What more evidence do you need?
And in Prague, they like their GS's RAW and they're not afraid to wear it as a literal badge of honour. I'm guessing 'RAW' in the sense of the 2.8Mhz, 512k of RAM and no hard drive variety.
But enough of my travels, which have sadly come to end...for the time being. Instead, let's pick up where we left off, by making 2010 the year of manuals! Gust L. Friedemann provided a few manuals as far back as May, so Gust, please accept my apologies for it taking this long for them to appear on the site after your scanning work!
So enjoy these manuals, which as usual, can be searched as all text has OCRed:
As one last thing I can impart to Apple II users at Christmas, check out my latest blog. Merry Christmas everybody, I hope you enjoy it. I know I am given its the first winter Christmas I've ever experienced!
24/05/2010: Storybook Weaver: Entirely Recovered! Remember the Children!
There's still some software for the Apple IIGS that eludes capture. Like missing episodes of Doctor Who, the likelihood of ever finding them becomes less likely as time drags on, but Bill Garber has slapped the face of depressing odds: back in December 2009, Bill scored the winning bid to an eBay auction that included a slew of MECC titles.
MECC, or the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium/Corporation, was the developer and purveyor of many quality 8-bit Apple II programs throughout the 80s, (one title not least of which was the Oregon Trail) and continued producing Apple II software well into the 90s, meeting demand in schools across the U.S.; all this in spite of the fact that all of the fruity logo company's attempts at this time were to ensure that the only Apple in education's eye was the Macintosh.
MECC also published Apple IIGS software, most of which is held within this archive. Storybook Weaver, a IIGS program I had only cottoned onto of its existence in recent years, was provided by Arnaud Brossard and cracked by Antoine Vignau only last year. This hidden treasure carries the quality traits of other IIGS MECC software.
Flicking through GS+ magazine, I came across a review for ‘Storybook Weaver: World of Make Believe'. MECC made more than one? Great news, except that no-one has ever approached me in the ten years I've been running this archive asking about it or offering it.
But then came this bumper auction on eBay, re-listed several times as the original asking price was asking one hundred times of what people are actually willing to pay for vintage software like this. But it's true to say it was rare, because not only did it include many 8-bit titles available on convenient 3.5" disks (sure reduces a lot of disk swapping compared to 5.25" inch disks) that weren't already on the Asimov archive, it also included Storybook Weaver: World of Make Believe AND Storybook Weaver: World of Adventure. Some great purchasing and imaging of the disks by Bill and more cracking by Antoine, and we've gotten another step closer to a complete educational software archive for the IIGS.
Speaking of cracking, Antoine is effectively keeping a log of his cracking exploits on the HackZapple site. It's a great record of how to deprotect various games and apps, so if you're vaguely inclined to open a sector editor to make unprotected and hard drive installable versions of software, be sure to join in.
Not only does a more complete archive go hand in hand with the objective of ‘What is the Apple IIGS?' (that is to archive every piece of commercial software) it also fulfils a personal wish to collect as much educational Apple II software as possible, especially if it's 8-bit software on a 3.5" disk. Some of you may be thinking why bother when there's loads more titles on 5.25" disks. Well, 3.5" inch 8-bit software has some advantages, especially used with a IIGS: for one, there's no disk swapping (no educational software should do this as it allows kids to tune out), two, using this software on a real IIGS becomes easier as 3.5" disks are much easier to find than 5.25" disks and three, chances are the software can be cracked to also allow use on a hard drive.
It's my hope one day to bond with my kids (when children do arrive one day!) by playing together on an Apple IIGS, learning first with McGee and the 8-bit Playroom, then moving on to Reading & Me, Math & Me, Milliken Story Teller, working up to the Orange Cherry, Unicorn and Davidson's software for ages 6 and up. Perhaps after that it might be hard to tear kids away from a Playstation 5, but I'd hope at least to enjoy sharing some Carmen Sandiego and the wonders of travel.
To that end, I've assembled a list of 8-bit educational software on 3.5" disk that isn't currently held on Asimov. If anyone can provide disk images of the following, Antoine will be able to crack them and more recorded history will be possible:
Stickybear Reading Tutor (Weekly Reader Software)
Grammar Gremlins (Davidson)
Word Attack Plus! Vocabulary (Davidson)
Algebra Blaster Plus! (Davidson)
The Treehouse (Broderbund)
Oregon Trail (MECC)
It's also likely that there are many other MECC titles available, but without a definite list/catalogue of those titles, it's hard to know what else was available on 3.5" disk, but Bill and Antoine are creating disk images of all the titles in that eBay haul.
Also, there are still these IIGS specific titles that still require disk images:
Talking Dinosaur Reader
Talking USA Map
Talking Academic Quiz Kid
Computer Video Reader: World of Nature - Reading About Animals; Reading About Sharks
Inner Body Works
Playwrite: the Talking Puppets.
So if anyone can provide any of the above, it would be incredibly appreciated.
In the spirit of furthering educational software, I've been continuing to scan the various manuals I have for IIGS specific titles. So parents, I hope you can stretch more worth out these titles:
One last present from Bill Garber (for this update at least) is the documentation to the useful commercial NDA utlity Disk Access.
20/04/2010: More Manuals, KEGS the Basis for New GSport Emulator and Catan
Antoine Vignau has volunteered yet more manuals for games, educational software and applications:
Additionally, Antoine has provided rare French documentation to Seven Hills Software titles The Manager, Kangaroo, Express and Transprog III. Speaking of Seven Hills titles, if you have the latest versions of the Manager (beyond version 1.0), Kangaroo (beyond version 1.3) and Transprog III (beyond version 1.1) I'd love to hear from you.
As Antoine provides more documentation, so do I, delving into my IIGS educational software with classics Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego and Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego as well as GeoPuzzle USA.
In other news, development of KEGS has split off into another project on Sourceforge - GSport. Quite a few people have expressed interest in extending KEGS beyond v0.91, which hasn't been updated for a few years. Initial features being developed in GSport are Ethernet/Uthernet and printing support.
Speaking of Sourceforge, I found a project there for a 'port' of Catan (it's a popular European board game) to the IIGS called gsSettlers back in 2009. I tried contacting the founder of the project at the time, but got no reply. Sounds like a great idea for a game, so if anyone can provide further news on this project, it would be appreciated.
11/04/2010: New Apple II Archive - Apple2Online
Dr. Ken Buchholz wrote in to me know about his Apple2Online site, a new and independent archive devoted to all models of the Apple II. It's always good that unique archives like this appear and store their own copies of software, because you never know what you might find, like a newer version of an app you've been after for ages or an 8-bit educational program on a 3.5" disk (like I found for the Children's Writing & Publishing Centre, a program I wanted to confirm was not actually IIGS specific).
10/04/2010: Italy Represents!
The IIGS has always been well represented across English and French speaking countries, but now Italy's love of our favourite Apple II is now indelibly stamped on the web at Apple IIGS: ieri, oggi e domani (that's Apple IIGS: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow for those of us unfamiliar with the romantic language). There are great scans of many different magazines featuring the IIGS at the time of its launch, not to mention a tonne of hardware hacks and all-round tinkering. Lavoro piacevole Mauro!
04/04/2010: Probe GS Uncovered, AppleWorks GS Documentation & Renegade Box Scans
Kyle Wadsten of Plaid Vest Software wrote in to let me know of his Probe GS block editor program that he released way back in 1987. Not just letting me know about it, he also included a disk image and PDF manual as well as his wish that it would appear on 'What is the Apple IIGS?'.
Antoine's as busy as ever, and has contributed the complete documentation to that perennial productivity favourite, AppleWorks GS. Like any accompanying PDF manual, you'll find the link to download it under the link to download the disk image archive. Expect to see even more documentation soon.
Lastly, I've included a box scan for the 8-bit version of Renegade. If you look really carefully, you can see the GS screen grab in the right hand bottom of the synopsis for the game. The score is using the font Shaston, so it was definitely a screen shot from some point in the game's development for the IIGS. If only someone would come forward and let the GS version out into the wild!
21/03/2010: Another Round of Updates
Tony Diaz has submitted cover scans for two of the missing issues of the Apple IIGS Buyer's Guide, specifically Fall 1987 and Spring 1988. Tony recalls that Joe Kohn gave one or both of these magazines to him, so not only can we thank Joe for the legacy of his writing, but also for these scans.
Tony's also contributed even more hardware scans, so when it comes to RAM, you can rely on using this site as a reference to quickly identify those expansion cards you find in the odd IIGS picked up at a garage sale or thrift/recycle store. The latest additions include the Applied Engineering GS-RAM II, QRAM and RAMPak4GS. At the almost the same time, both Tony and Wayne Stewart submitted scans for the 4+4 revision of the Sirius RAM card, and it took me a while to distinguish between the 4+4 Rev versus the version 2.0 revision scan I already had; both are now included.
Wayne's also submitted the Parallax TopRAM manual, in his perfect PDF reproduction style.
If it's one thing you can count on at the moment, it's that Antoine Vignau of Brutal Deluxe is always up to something with the Apple II. Recently, he's patched Bubble Ghost, Gauntlet and Paperboy to run from a hard drive, as well as System 6. I've updated the individual 2image archives for these titles, as well as the 32 meg ProDOS image that includes all action games. Three cheers for less disk handling! He's also scanned in the rare paid shareware version manual for DuelTris, as well as scanned the Mac version's cover art for Cogito and the Tinies.
As I've been pouring through A+ and InCider magazines looking for content to add to the book, I came across some interesting IIGS titles that I'd not previously listed. They're all Hypermedia titles and they all involve the use of an accompanying laser disc; a device for playback and control of laser discs with the IIGS was almost completely unheard of, but none-the-less, these titles were developed for the education market. GTV was the first, but then the Science Vision series followed (at least according to InCider/A+).
In addition, I came across an article in InCider/A+ December 1990 to perhaps the only IIGS specific CD-ROM software title: Your WordBox!
If anyone has more info on these very rare titles, please write in.
17/02/2010: Manual Mania!
A lot of people seem to think 2010 is the year of the tablet...think again! It's the year of the manual! That's right, 'What is the Apple IIGS?' now has even more documentation on IIGS games and applications! Arnaud Brossard's manual scans of last year have inspired me to scan all of my own manuals and as luck would have it, Antoine Vignau of Brutal Deluxe (the man who doesn't sleep) was also doing the same with his original documentation. As even further luck would have it, there was little crossover between us, so all our efforts have combined with Arnaud's contributions have gone on to produce a very comprehensive library of documentation. Again, each of these PDFs is completely searchable as all text has been OCRed.
Antoine's contributions to games have been:
Cogito and the Tinies (both of which Antoine and Olivier Zardini ported to the IIGS back in the 90s), Impossible Mission II, Reach for the Stars, Shadowgate, Shanghai, Sword of Sodan (yep, it wasn't released for the IIGS, but here's the documentation from the Amiga version), Transylvania III, Ultima I.
Antoine's also covered a lot of apps:
Pegasoft DrawTools v3.1 (for which I've created a new archive), Instant Music, Pyware Instrument Designer, Pyware Music Writer, Inwords, List Plus, Master Tracks Junior, Micol Advanced BASIC v5.0, Music Construction Set, Signature GS, discQuest v1.2 (for which I've created an entry for in the Hypermedia category), Graphic Writer v2.0, Softwood GSFile, NoiseTracker.
as well as some educational software:
My own gaming contributions are as follows, and this should now allow for many of the more complex games to be played much more easily with background story, rules, objectives, hints & tips:
Ancient Land of Ys, Arkanoid, Beyond Zork, Block Out, Captain Blood, Cribbage & Gin King, Cryllan Mission 2088, Downhill Challenge, Dragon Wars, Dungeon Master, Gauntlet, Hardball!, Hover Blade, Keef the Thief, Laser Force, Life & Death, Mancala, Mean 18, Panzer Battles, Pipe Dream, Qix, Rastan, Sinbad & the Throne of the Falcon, Skate or Die, Sea Strike, Serve & Volley, Strip Poker II, Tass Times in Tonetown, The Lost Tribe, The Third Courier, Triango, Tunnels of Armageddon, Uninvited, Vegas Craps, Vegas Gambler, WindWalker, World Games.
For additional good measure, I also scanned the solutions to Questron II and Tower of Myraglen from Quest for Clues Book II. With all this added documentation for RPGs and sim games, if anyone would like to take screen shots while playing these games, it would be greatly appreciated.
And then there are my scans for application software:
DeskWorks (Beagle Brothers Desk Accessories), Dream Grafix, Fantavision, Graphics Studio, Harmonie, Paintworks Gold, Paintworks Plus, Shoebox, The Desktop Manger, The Manager, The Music Studio v2.0, The Print Shop, The Print Shop Companion, TopDraw.
GSymbolix (Eureka Symbolix)
Because we've come so far with documentation so relatively quickly, I ask other IIGS fans to look through their own collection to see if they can scan in the following in the hope we can one day have complete documentation:
Bouncing Bluster II
King of Chicago
Lost Treasures of Infocom
Chess Master 2100
Full Metal Planete
Gold of the Americas
Pick n Pile
Solitaire & Cribbage
Cryllan Mission 2088: The Second Scenario
Mighty Marvel Vs the Forces of E.V.I.L.
Spirit of Excalibur
Star Saga One
Star Saga Two
Grand Prix Circuit
GBA Championship Basketball
Jack Nicklaus Greatest 18 Holes of Major Championship Golf
John Elway's Quarterback
Street Sports Soccer
Superstar Ice Hockey
World Tour Golf
Notes 'n' Files
Your Money Matters
Graphic Writer III v3.0 (by Richard Bennett)
Imagemaster: Basic Paint
Master Tracks Pro
Font Factory v2.0
The Graphic Exchange
GS Font Editor
Super Convert v4.0
Trans Prog III
We'll focus on eduuational software a bit later.
I've reviewed the steps I've taken to scan manuals for best possible quality, so if you'd like to submit something, check out these guidelines first.
02/02/2010: Major Hardware Update
Thanks to Tony Diaz of 16 Sector, the archive has experienced the largest single hardware contribution yet...and given that it leaves little left to desire, there probably won't be another large hardware haul like this ever again! But Tony might keep us guessing. After all, by the description of his house, a labyrinthine maze where one's path is blocked at every turn by walls of retro gear reaching the ceiling...anything might turn up next!
Sink your teeth into these little beauties:
Apple 1 meg RAM (curiously labelled Vegas), The Apple II Ethernet card (yes, the one that never got released!), the Applied Engineering GS-RAM 2 Meg Expander, AST Vision Plus (the precursor to the Visionary GS), Chinook 4 Meg RAM, Cirtech Plus RAM 8, Cirtech ROMDisk GS, Doctor Design Sound Card, Epic 2400 Classic Rev C, Applied Visions Inc. FutureSound, Applied Ingenuity GStereo, a generic RAM card that can hold either 512k or 2meg, Applied Ingenuity GS Juice Plus and regular GS Juice, GS Super Expander, Hayes Smart Modem 1200A, Hyperstudio Sound Card, Pacemark IIGS Super RAM II, LANce GS, MDIdeas Digitizer Pro, MDIdeas OctoRAM, Mexel DynaRAM 1meg, Parallax TopRAM, SoundMeister (in Alltech red livery), the Uther Ethernet Card (the current darling of enabling Ethernet on a IIGS or IIe), the Zip Drive (nope, not the one from Iomega, rather an alternative to the Focus Drive), the Mark Twain Daughter Board (yep, something from the unreleased ROM04) and the Cortland ROM Card.
Additionally, Tony has provided some factual tidbits to most of these new additions.
Last, but certainly not least, Andy Molloy has provided a great scan of the cover to the ‘System 6 Book' by Jerry Kindall. This brings the archive for book covers precariously close to being finished - check out the books section and see if you've got one of the missing covers, then scan and submit it.
09/01/2010: Joe Kohn
It is with equal sadness and shock that I write that Joe Kohn passed away on the 6th of January 2010 after battling lung cancer. Joe was a prolific writer for the Apple II, working for The Apple IIGS Buyers Guide and InCider, after-which creating his own publication Shareware Solutions II to keep coverage of our favourite computer going after the major publishers quit the Apple II. During that time, he published many IIGS programs and collaborated with 'Burger' Becky Heineman and Brutal Deluxe. He will be sorely missed.