Apple II Wii

July 16th, 2018 9:12 AM
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Filed under Hacks & mods;
2 comments.

I'm not one to hack, crack, or jailbreak; I tend to use products as they were designed. One notable exception was the Nintendo Wii, a video game console released in 2006. Its innovative point-and-click interface made possible a variety of console game genres and experiences that were previously impossible. I wanted to see what hobbyists and enthusiasts could do with these tools, so I installed the Homebrew Channel.

Ironically, my favorite use of the channel was the SCUMM emulator: once this tool was installed, I could play classic LucasArts games. I owned a legal copy of Day of the Tentacle, but it required a version of Classic Mac OS that I didn't have. By copying its files to an SD card, I was able to play it on the Wii's ScummVM. It remains the only way I've ever played this game, despite its 2016 remastering and release for modern systems such as Mac OS X, iOS, and PlayStation 4.

I deleted the Homebrew Channel before migrating my data to the Wii U in 2012, and it's only now that I realize what an opportunity I missed: the original Wii could emulate not only SCUMM, but also the Apple II. Christian Simpson explores this feature on a recent episode of his YouTube series, Retro Recipes:

The video is more an overview of the Wii's many emulation modes; we don't get to see the Apple II until 5:36 into the video. At that point, we discover the emulator, WiiApple, is a port of AppleWin/LinApple — neat! But the only game we see it play is Frogger — not more popular or original games like Choplifter, Lode Runner, Prince of Persia, or King's Quest.

WiiApple is a nine-year-old emulator running on a twelve-year-old console. Nintendo has since released the Wii U (2012) and Switch (2017), but Apple II emulators for either have not yet surfaced. If you want to emulate the Apple II on a home game console, Simpson's video shows you what's still the best way.

(Hat tip to Christian on Google+)

Fallout 3 terminal emulator

April 18th, 2016 11:51 AM
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Filed under Game trail, Software showcase;
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I'm a fan of both retro and modern video games, and I love to see the lines blur between the two — whether that's a new game like Plangman that has a classic feel, or a modern game like Halo that's ported to a classic console such as the Atari 2600.

Falling into the latter camp is the work of thewheelman282, a fan of the action-RPGs Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, released in 2008 and 2010, respectively. This franchise is set in the 21st century that arose after nuclear war broke out in the 1950s, impeding the advancement of technology beyond a Cold War state. In this fictional future, players use monochromatic computer terminals that wouldn't look out of place in an Apple II user's collection.

thewheelman282 brought that connection to its logical conclusion by porting the Fallout 3 terminal software to the Apple II. He gives a demo starting at 2:55 in this video, which uses the Agat emulator:

I've never played Fallout 3 so would have no idea how to use this program without the above tutorial, as the software comes with no documentation or inline help that I can find. However, it does appear to function quite similarly to the source material:

This program was written to perform a specific function and doesn't allow the input of new commands or programs, recreating a utility instead of an environment. I think it'd therefore be more accurate to call it a simulator instead of an emulator. Regardless, it's an impressive work of 958 lines of Applesoft BASIC code, which you can download in disk image format. I converted that source code to a text file, which is available here.

I originally thought thewheelman282 was going to demonstrate piping Fallout 3 output to an Apple II, similar to what Joshua Bell did with Second Life. While that too is an impressive hack, it's been done before, and eight years ago at that. To see something original and which is further available for us to download and play with is pretty cool. Thanks, thewheelman282!

(Hat tip to Robert Rivard)

An Apple II emulator for Dick Tracy's watch

January 14th, 2013 10:19 AM
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Filed under History;
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Apple II emulators are most broadly used on modern platforms, such as Sweet16 for Mac OS X or AppleWin for Windows. But the Apple II inspires a hacker's "can-do" spirit, and for the novelty if no other reason, the Apple II has been emulated in a variety of non-standard environments.

Video game consoles are likely targets for emulation, as unintuitive as that may seem. WiiApple was released for the Nintendo Wii back in 2009. It unfortunately hasn't been updated. It supports a USB keyboard as well as GameCube and Wii controllers as a substitute for a standard Apple II joystick. Similarly, Soul Captor for the now-defunct Sega Dreamcast was released in 2002. It too requires a physical keyboard — no iOS-style virtual keyboards here.

But perhaps most interesting is this Apple II emulator for the Fossil Wrist, a Palm OS-based PDA that was sold 2003–2005. This Dick Tracy watch featured a 160×160 B&W touchscreen and could run most Palm software. Using the program Appalm ][ (formerly PalmApple), the wristwatch could could be turned into a portable Apple II.

Fossil Watch emulator

Karateka is everywhere!
Photo by Don Dula.

There are many more details about the Fossil Wrist on DonDula's blog post. And, of course, there are many other unusual emulators out there, which I cannot begin to attempt to catalog here. Suffice to say that, chances are, if it's a computer, you can upgrade it to an Apple II.

(Hat tips to Sayt and Javster)