Thirty Years of Apple II

June 5th, 2007 by Benj Edwards

Apple II Painting

Thirty years ago today, the Apple II personal computer officially went on sale in the United States. As Apple Computer, Inc.’s flagship product, the Apple II put the company on the map, made stars of Apple’s founders, and changed the world of computing forever. The machine stood out at the time of its release due to features such as its all-in-one, no assembly required design with an innovative plastic enclosure; integrated color graphics, sound, and paddle inputs; and the ability to use an ordinary TV set as a display.

Benj's Apple II PlusI’m not going to get into the details as to why the computer is great — it’s been written about so many times before that you’d be better served reading about it somewhere else. But I did interview Steve Wozniak, creator of the Apple II back in February for Gamasutra, and I had a great time talking to him. Wozniak crafted the innards of the Apple II, an absolute masterpiece of minimalistic yet highly functional design, all by himself. Steve Jobs provided the finishing touch by insisting on a stylish case for the unit, and the rest is history.

My first computer was an Apple II Plus, a unit I still have and hold dear to this day. I squeezed years of entertainment out of it just by programming BASIC, so the Apple II means a lot to me personally. Happy birthday, old friend.

10 Responses to “Thirty Years of Apple II”

  1. Gil Says:

    Still have 5 working Apple ][s. Once a year I take one out (always a IIc) and finish Karateka and several levels at Situation Critical: Mission II. Heck, I could go for a session of Swashbuckler right now!

  2. huntrm Says:

    I still have Apple IIe with the 128kb ram card – not to mention several floppies that are still running today. Bilestoad, Karateka, Bruce Lee, Zork, Planetfall, Dr. J vs. L. Bird, Hard Hat Mack, Bards Tale, Captain Goodnight, and many others. Even ran my own BBS software using two floppy drives.

    Find myself also getting nostalgic, and playing the games – sometimes I fire up the Apple II emulator and running the games on ROMS on my PC. Quick/easy.

    Needless to say, am proud to see this day, and of course dread it as I’m getting older (ha!). Good times!

  3. SirPaul Says:

    I used an Apple ][ when I was young, before my elementary school switched them out for IBM PS/2 Model 25s. There were a ton of good games that I remember playing on it, including Oregon Trail, Odell Lake, and, of course, the Munchers series. Good games..

  4. Dennis P Says:

    Has it already been thirty years? I bought a iie for word processing, wrote my first few short stories and much of my first book on it.

  5. KitsuneDarkStalker Says:

    The 2 will definitely go down in history.

    As the precursor to the 2GS.

  6. Irwin Fletcher Says:

    Please don’t forget the Ultima series, specifically IV and V.

    Can’t get those hours back (not sure I want to either)!

  7. doug Says:

    Not a bad phone phreakin’ machine….and hacked out some good
    UNIX mainframes back in the day (bitnet…tymenet)..mine still boots and runs
    AE terminal software and get this….Fire Organ screensaver!!!

  8. Zoyous Says:

    I had a ][e. In addition to the abovementioned games, I had a lot of fun with Tony Suzuki’s Star Blazer, and Infocom’s Trinity.

  9. S Johnston Says:

    Ultima !!! Man … now, that was gaming, it was a brave new world … the IIE, sigh … We thought it was some seeriously hi-tec times, we were the geeks !! The Godz of Tech … Lords of Token Rings !!! Thirty years huh? Sigh …

  10. Dan Bodenheimer Says:

    Ah yeah, the good old days. I’ve found a great Apple ][+ emulator so that I can play Taipan once in a while — Ah, t’is a pity to be 86% damaged Taipan…

    My favorite Apple ][ device was my AWESOME Apple Cat 300 baud modem that would do a raging 1200 baud (half duplex) when talking to another Apple Cat! Genius and so so fast…

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