The Minecraft-Apple II connection


Filed under Game trail, History, Software showcase;
1 comment.

There are plenty of places on the Internet to find people's stories of their introduction to the Apple II: blogs, podcasts, videos, and tweets. Though games are often early computer users' gateway to the platform, I don't expect to find their stories within a game.

Troy Cheek is the exception with his YouTube channel, which features a daily Minecraft video blog. As he explores the sandbox world from a first-person perspective, he records his musings, which meander through both the virtual world and his own history. On day 142, posted on New Year's Eve 2011, Troy tells the story of his first Apple II program and its unexpected longevity. The first mention is at the 2:00 mark, but the below video starts at 3:24 with the crux of the odd juxtaposition of Minecraft and Apple II.

At 3:55, Troy says that his school bought computers "not for computer science geeks, but for the business office — the vocational education people." That reminds me of Mark Simonsen, who said in his KansasFest 2010 keynote speech that he first encountered computers in his college accounting class. I wonder how many people were introduced to the Apple II almost by accident, as a tangent to some other professional endeavor, without anticipating the impact it could have on their lives?

At 14:34, Troy mentions that the school attendance program he developed employed the bubble sort algorithm, which he calls "the redheaded stepchild of the sorting family". It's true that it's not the most efficient way to sort a large data set, but it's also one of the easiest to implement and the best-known. Heck, even President Barack Obama is familiar with it:

Of course, Troy isn't the first person to intersect the Apple II with Minecraft. Steve Weyhrich did so nearly a year ago with his amazing and faithful re-creation of an Apple II using Minecraft building blocks. He later presented his work at KansasFest 2011, including a virtual Apple Store.

What other inspirations of the Apple II have you seen in your favorite games?

  1. I'm glad you enjoyed my story. It was slightly embellished, but mostly the truth. The Apple II+, IIe, and IIc computers were a bit part of my early computer experience. I'm glad to see that there are still fans out there.