I have spent the past 24 hours searching gathering and assimilating information about a topic I find most interesting and rewarding: Infocom. I admit that it was an unusual turn that brought me back to this old haunt, and one, that I have learned from the archives, which, historically, has a well-traveled path. And I blame it all on the Replica 1TE.
There is far more reading and investigating that goes on with the Replica 1TE than I would have thought initially. Due to the fact I like to exhaust resources before I ask questions, I should have seen that coming. This past week I have been deep inside the document archives looking for information and it has paid off well. I love pulling the string on the sweater just to see what unravels. Early this week I continued to research magazines, trying to support my QUarterly Accurate Software Apparatus and References (QUASAR) proposition that I made last weekend. It was during this period that I became very curious to look at Open Apple Magazine as I had only read it when it was current and wanted to go back and have a read. I made it through precisely one sentence. From Open Apple Volume 1 Number 0:
“Uncle DOS, the beloved leading character of Softtalk magazine’s monthly DOS talk column, is in good condition after a close brush with death.”
All right. That was a detail I had missed: Open Apple was kind of sequel to a magazine that is mysterious to me. I stopped right there and decided to investigate Softtalk magazine. I’m glad I did. I learned that Softtalk illuminated all parts of the Apple world of the time, from programming, game playing, business use, home use, as an industry, as a hobby, as a toy, and a culture. It even ran fiction. This magazine had it all, at least for me, because it saw the Apple II as I do: A cultural touchstone. I began in earnest to look for scans of this magazine and found a few issues. It’s a beautiful magazine, and I pondered reasons that I may not have come across it in my Uncle’s computer shelves. There are only 2 reasons I can think of. First of all, my uncle embodied the definition of hardcore computer hobbyist and this magazine didn’t have the myriad of dry technical articles, useful and not, that were abundant in other computer journals of the time, so the issues that must have come with his Apple II were not well-regarded. The second is that I didn’t see them for what they were, and overlooked them amongst the copies of Byte, 73, CQ, Nibble, Compute and others that he subscribed to, because it didn’t look like a computer magazine. It looked like an entertainment magazine, to judge a book by the cover. I found some good information about maybe coming across scans of this publication in the future, but for now I am on hold. I did, however find the Softtalk Facebook page.
I am not exactly sure of the reason but that branched me into looking at Beagle Bros and I think it was because as I studied my machine language book I wanted a reference and made the wall paper from the previous post. I started looking into Beagle Brother catalogs, trying to get information about the time frame of each software release. This came about because I wanted more information about Shape Mechanic. I was inspired by a stray idea about making a shoot ‘em up for the Apple II. I have a theme for the game and even have the screen layout and style. I sketched out a few of the shapes I am going to need. I do not have the permissions to do it, but I am going to do it anyway, try to stay high quality, and let the chips fall where they might. Along these lines I wanted to see if Beagle Bros could help me with some shapes as I designed them. I was looking for a manual or information on Shape Mechanic, and came up empty. It was then that I saw something in Beagle Bros catalog 2.5 and got lost in some US Festival moments via YouTube.So, researching my game idea, I discovered that Jordan Mechner actually made available some project notes from the days when he was working on Karateka and Prince of Persia. This may be old news to some, but I was genuinely excites when I tumbled across this information on Amazon. I am looking forward to this as I hope it will help me bitsmith my game idea.
And it is at this point that the thing I am waiting for arrives. I met the postman at the door and snatched it from his hands. I was now the owner of Rich Dreher’s CFFA 1. That’s right, my Replica 1 had more available storage space than it could imagine in its little electric dreams. Within hours of receiving it I began toying with where I could take this machine now that my files have permanence, and lots of it. Within hours of exploring the new set up I had locked in on an idea I had read about that combines the Replica 1TE with Infocom adventures and all weekend I have been hooked into finding out how to make that weird but beautiful thing happen.
I will update you about that later this week, as I think it’s a post that deserves its own entry.