Greatest Apple II games

Discuss and discover all the great games of yesteryear!

Moderators: mknott, NickThorpe, Darran@Retro Gamer, MMohammed, lcarlson

Post Reply
User avatar
Darran@Retro Gamer
Posts: 6739
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 11:34 am
Location: Bournemouth

Greatest Apple II games

Post by Darran@Retro Gamer » Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:32 am

We're kicking off 2017 with a little more love towards the Apple II.

Tell us your top 5 games on the system and why you loved them and we'll do the rest :)

User avatar
Posts: 596
Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2008 9:13 am
Location: Northern Ireland

Re: Greatest Apple II games

Post by davyK » Fri Jan 06, 2017 8:43 am

The Apple II

The year was '79-80. That's makes me 13-14 at the time. My headmaster saw computing as the next big thing and was very enthusiastic. So much so he raided the school funds to get a couple of Apple IIes with floppy drives and monitors. God Bless him. I wrote my first bit of code as part of a class he set up that had a nationally recognised qualification at the end of it (A CSE for those of you from the UK of the right age. I went onto do O and A levels and an HNC before getting a Computer Science degree). For the class you had to write 5 programs showing mastery of branches, loops, screen layouts, subroutines etc. Program 1 was a real simple sequential program to take user input, do a calc using that input and output the result. My 1st program (you would call it an app now I suppose), accepted an input number, calculated the volume of a sphere with the radius of the entered value, and displayed the result on screen. Heady stuff. When it first ran my hands were shaking such was the kick I got out of it - and there and then I knew that's how I wanted to earn a living. Fast forward to now and I'm a 50 year old IT manager with quite a few years of coding behind me - though I don't get to actually code any more :(

Anyhow. Games. All of the games we played either came on the discs that were with the Apples, or were typed in from magazines. So it's unlikely my games will be on anyone's list. In no particular order....

1. Little Brick Out A Breakout clone that ran pretty slowly and the wall was on the right-hand side of the screen. I was good at Pong back then and the Apple came with paddle controllers so I made my mates (and the teacher's) jaws drop when I cleared all but one or two bricks on my first go.

2. Yahtzee. A lunchtime favourite, its 4 player turn-based action was an excellent tactical game. We played this more than any other. A few years later I would recreate this in Amsoft BASIC on my CPC464 (though I left out implementing the Apple version's optional CPU player!)

3. Space Invaders. This was a pretty accurate attempt at this and was one of the few games we had access to that was written in assembler. It used the paddle controller for some reason which felt weird but kind of worked. Sadly the ship only moved at a set speed - not the speed at which you turned the controller! This got a lot of play and was truly mesmerising for us as this was an ARCADE game!!

4. Golf A real basic looking game but it generated new holes every time you played. It was 2D top down view but was implemented pretty well. You had to enter the direction as a bearing with 0 degrees being North - so it was good geometry and trigonometry practice!!!

5. Gun fight - this was a copy of the old Boot Hill arcade game. Your on-screen rep wasn't a cowboy however - just a gun - but it was fun. The limited ammo added tactical play

As a wild card (and not a proper entry - just nostalgia kicking in), I'd enter the version of Monopoly I coded for the Apple IIe for my O level project when I was 16. I'd love to be able to see that again! It was fully functioning with all the rules catering for 4 players and the board was displayed using ascii/text (the graphics mode took up too much RAM!)
Last edited by davyK on Tue Jan 24, 2017 5:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 3657
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 3:20 am
Location: Chch, NZ

Re: Greatest Apple II games

Post by kiwimike » Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:08 pm

The first 'real' computer I got to use, the schools Apple IIe set. Most of my faves weren't exclusives, but certainly Classics often mentioned:

-Lode Runner- Has to be one of my favourite games from the era, I had this on so many systems. Still plays like a dream, Space Panic on steroids. And the level editor where you can challenge friends to play through the hardest levels you can create made this a game you pretty much didn't tire of for years.

-Castle Wolfenstein- Another early favourite that just seemed so advanced at the time. Searching a Nazi castle for war plans, stealing uniforms to sneak around in, searching bodies...kind of Hitmans great great granddaddy.

-Transylvania- My first text adventure, and the added pics at the time seemed cool, I have fond memories of this game as it introduced me to Text adventures, and after that I found infocom and level 9 games.

-Hard Hat Mack- This was when platform games and Donkey Kong (or as we had in our Arcades, a clone called Crazy Kong) were the rage, so this game along with Sammy Lightfoot was a popular one.

-Starblazer- Just loved the simple blasting fun of this side scroller, and the little detailed graphics seemed cool at the time. For shooting fun we usually turned to this or Battlezone clone Stellar 7

*After that, was thinking about the mighty Choplifter! We played that to death as well. It's kind of a tie between Starblazer/Stellar 7/Choplifter for our shooting fixes :)
Last edited by kiwimike on Sat Jan 07, 2017 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Posts: 1251
Joined: Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:04 am
Location: Australia

Re: Greatest Apple II games

Post by ncf1 » Fri Jan 06, 2017 6:11 pm

I'm so glad we had an Apple II at the time as opposed to say an Atari 2600 or TRS-80 as it was so easy to program and the games were always interesting; games on the Apple II just had that charm of their own, a kind of quirkiness not found on any other system.

* Beyond Castle Wolfenstein : for me the best game on the Apple II, atmospheric, the chilling and for the time incredible sound effects you just will never forget, the premise of infiltrating Hitler's bunker and getting out in time before it explodes, the adventure element exploring doors and chests for ammunition and other things, just simply an amazing game all round.

* David's Midnight Magic : I'd played Raster Blaster for ages and thought it could never be beat, until I fired up David's Midnight Magic. Based on an actual arcade machine - it might have been Black Night but I'm not totally sure - it was incredibly hard the first number of goes due to the physics that made the table seem it was slanting on a 45 degree angle or something ridiculous, but get used to it and you wont look back, it was just superior to the other pinball games on offer at the time and for years to come.

* Transylvania : The ONLY game they would allow us to play at school because it was deemed "educational" and not a key-basher, and so naturally every spare second spent in computer class was trying to get further in it. Thankfully for the only game we could play it was a cracker, with atmosphere in spades, great graphics, and a bizarre but fun storyline that always kept your interest up.

* Conan : This was the first multiple disk game I'd played and to be in possession of such a game was popularity-inducing stuff! YOU'VE GOT CONAN?! DAMN! YOU GOTTA GIVE IT TO ME!!! Yeah yeah whatever. Anyway, with amazing animation and gameplay which included a somersault you kept doing over and over just to see how good it looked, Conan was a head above the rest at the time and one that would grace many a screen when the teachers 'weren't looking'. And if they were they would inevitably ask you for a copy because they would be impressed too.

* Chivalry : Mario Party decades before its conception! A game which more or less a computerised board game and comprised of a number of mini games, it was an amazing looking and sounding game that really needed a joystick for maximum enjoyment, and really I think a game that pushed the Apple II to its limits, really brought the best out of the machine.

User avatar
Posts: 148
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2006 1:23 pm
Location: Spokane, WA (USA)

Re: Greatest Apple II games

Post by Tabe » Sun Jan 08, 2017 2:30 am

My top 5:

1) Ultima IV - such an incredible revelation of an RPG with its emphasis on being virtuous and not a thieving, killing machine. I spent hundreds of hours playing this one and my story or dedication to it appeared in issue 50.

2) I.O. Silver - an overlooked classic, this action-puzzle take on Pengo is right up there with Tetris as best action-puzzle game ever, IMHO. 30 years later I still regularly return to this one.

3) Lode Runner - an all-time classic arcade game. I love the mixture of strategy, puzzle, and action. The difficulty ramps up perfectly and you get a level editor as well.

4) Ultima II - something of an anomaly in the Ultima series because of its setting and space travel, this is the first great entry among the Ultimas. This was literally the first game I ever got for my Apple.

5) Night Mission Pinball - easily the best of the early pinball games. I'm a huge sucker for digital pinball and this is one of the first to get me hooked.

I love that you guys are doing more Apple coverage. Long overdue but very much welcome by me!

User avatar
Posts: 412
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 7:17 pm

Re: Greatest Apple II games

Post by lavalyte » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:52 am

1) Dogfight - eight players around the keyboard! I don't think I had that many friends at the time.
2) Hard Hat Mack - Donkey Kong-eseque
3) Choplifter! - Fun stuff
4) Karateka - Showed me where games were going
5) Stellar 7 - nice version of Battlezone
'I have nothing but the greatest respect for other peoples' crackpot beliefs' - Sam The Eagle.

Posts: 1574
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2005 11:02 am
Location: Grimstad, Norway

Re: Greatest Apple II games

Post by NorthWay » Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:48 am

Looking forward to this. Hopefully Night Mission Pinball gets proper attention for once!

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests