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Apple II Game Server Online!

Thanks to A2Central.com for the heads-up that Apple Game Server Online! is now, well, online. For those who still rock original Apple II computer series systems or compatibles, this means you can now use your iPhone 4, iPad 2, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and more to load games onto your classic system via its standard cassette input jack. While there are a variety of flash- and cable-based solutions for doing a similar thing - and of course original software itself - this is a particularly intriguing, convenient, and zero cost option. Over 100 games are presently available.

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Remarkable Auctions: Ultima II: Revenge of the Enchantress (1982) for the Apple II

Today's remarkable auction is Sierra On-Line's (OnLine Systems), Ultima II: Revenge of the Enchantress, big box version, for the Apple II. Ultima II was Richard Garriott's somewhat divisive sequel to the first Ultima game, and one of the most sought after entries in the series for collectors. There were several different versions of the game, some in large boxes, some in small boxes, and some with Origin as the primary publisher rather than Sierra. Origin also re-released Ultima II in yet another variation, this time in conjunction with Ultima I and III, in a materially scaled back compilation called the Ultima Trilogy. In any case, what makes this particular auction remarkable is not so much the final sale price, which was a relatively fair $257.00 with free shipping, but the fact that the game was sealed, which had the potential to drive the price even higher. As with most of the Ultima games, Ultima II saw release on a wide range of platforms, but the Apple II version was the original, and also was one of the only Western platforms to get a slightly upgraded re-release. I personally own all the games in the Ultima series boxed except for Ultima II, which I only have outside of PC CD-based compilations in the Commodore 64 version of the Ultima Trilogy, though I do have the original disks for the Atari 8-bit version of Ultima II. Though not spectacular, the Japanese-only FM Towns version of Ultima II, is arguably the nicest looking of the official releases.

Check out the video from LordKarnov42 below to see the original Apple II release in action for the RPG game that tasked you with traveling to every planet in the solar system, including Planet X:

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Remarkable Auctions: Cyborg (198x) for the Apple II

Cyborg (C-64 version from Sentient Software)Cyborg (C-64 version from Sentient Software)Today's remarkable auction is a doozy, Cyborg for the Apple II, Softsmith Software version. Why is it a doozy? Because the Softsmith Software version was the budget-packaged re-release of the Sentient Software original, and it sold for an amazing $157.50, plus shipping and handling. The original Cyborg, from computer game pioneer and sci-fi author Michael Berlyn (also of Infocom fame) and published through the Sentient Software (both of whom also did the more famous, Oo-Topos, which I personally own, which also had a later re-release (and update) through another publisher), was released in 1981 for the Apple II. An Atari 8-bit version followed in 1982, as well as a Commodore 64 version. Cyborg is a science fiction text adventure game in which an artificial intelligence is electronically merged with your body as the result of a scientific experiment. Your mission is to find a source of energy to keep you alive. The game uses a text parser, except for character interaction, during which you choose a question from a predetermined list.

In any case, at some point Softsmith Software got the rights and, apparently without Berlyn's knowledge (and, obviously, consent), created a PC DOS version that, amazingly, had compatibility issues with most true PC's (see the trivia section, here). Though not shown on the Mobygames Website, there was in fact an updated Macintosh version that Berlyn mentioned that was published through Broderbund, shown here. As you can tell and what I find appalling about the final sale price, the Softsmith Software version was packaged in that company's usual generic boxes in as lazy a manner as possible (though of course, even the original version of the game was just a folder with some instructions, but at least a colorful folder with actual artwork). To me, that throws any significant value right out the window, but of course, to us collector's, that's often irrelevant to the end goal of possession.

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Don Lancaster releases his classic computer books as free ebooks!

Thanks to the Apple II news Website, A2Central.com, for the heads-up about Don Lancaster releasing some of his classic computer books as free ebooks, each of which are presently available for download as PDFs. Check it out, particularly if you're into the Apple II!

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Virtual Apple ][ (Apple II) Updated - Play Apple II and IIgs games in your Web Browser on PC and Mac!

Willy Byte in the Digital DimensionWilly Byte in the Digital DimensionFacebook friend and Virtual Apple ][ guy himself, Bill Martens, sent word that the site, which allows anyone to play a large range of Apple ][ and Apple IIgs games in your browser, has been updated to version 4.4, and now supports both PC and Macintosh. This has been an Armchair Arcade favorite for a long time now, so this is welcome news.

To play a game, select the disk from the menu. Click on Yes to automatically download the ActiveGS emulator and disk images in Internet Explorer. Click on Install Add-Ons when prompted in Mozilla's Firefox Browser or Safari. The new ActiveGS plugin is compatible with most browsers on both Mac OS X 10.5.x and PC Windows 2K and newer (you will need to install the plugin in order to use the games on the site). Joystick control is through the mouse/touchpad. All of the games on the Virtual Apple ][ website are playable offline as well as online. You can download the disk images to your favorite game right from the website, fire up an emulator on your machine and play them right there on your local PC or Mac (or any other OS that supports an offline emulator for that matter). More news is promised in the coming weeks, but be sure to check it out now!

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Apple II (2) News and Notes for August 2006

Apple //c Cable Connection Photo from Brendan Robert's "Apple Game Server"Apple //c Cable Connection Photo from Brendan Robert's "Apple Game Server"

A2 News and Notes August, 2006

INDEX
* Old Computer, New Clone
* Phoenix Wings
* Solid-State Work
* Another Anniversary
* We're Number 1!
* Prairie Home Changeover
* Plug In, Tune Out?
* Hacking Around
* File Storage
* Software News

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Apple II (2) News and Notes for July 2006

By Ryan M. Suenaga, M.S.W. and edited by Howard Katz:

A2 News and Notes July, 2006

INDEX
* Kansas In July
* Phoenix Rising
* Sweet Emulation
* Name That Format
* Apple I Rebirth
* Apples Online
* Name That Game
* More Storage Options
* Software News
* Emulation News
* SignOff

-- By all accounts, KansasFest (aka KFest) was a success this year. Held

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Apple II News and Notes for June 2006


A2 News and Notes June, 2006

INDEX
* Cloning Around
* What's My Spec?
* Old Parts, New Owner
* Software Copyright
* Programming For The Masses
* Understanding Apple
* Online Group Kill
* VGA Support
* Color Our World
* KFest

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Apple II News and Notes for May 2006

From A2 News and Notes May, 2006Apple LogoApple Logo:

INDEX
* Old Hardware Made New, Redux
* Hardware-emulated Apple II
* Apple II Internet
* CFFA News
* Moving In Reverse
* Making Music
* VGA Support
* KFest
* Software News
* Emulation News
* SignOff

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Get Software to Your Apple II simply using Java and a Cable!

Apple //c Cable Connection Photo from Brendan Robert's "Apple Game Server"Apple //c Cable Connection Photo from Brendan Robert's "Apple Game Server"Anyone who has read my past writings knows that I'm a big collector and a huge fan of playing original games (or code) on original hardware. There are countless solutions for various computer and videogame systems for doing this, and one of the systems that has become particularly robust in its offering of late is the Apple II-series of computers. Between compact flash adpaters, disk drive adapters and countless other often manual and complicated transfer methods, it looks like Brendan Robert has created one of the easiest and cheapest systems to date. While I highly recommend both the Apple II compact flash adapter (dreher.net/CFforAppleII/) and the SVD (www.thesvd.com/ - which is particularly good for multi-system collectors), Brendan's solution seems particularly elegant, though I have yet to try it for myself.

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