Archive for August, 2012

Lode Runner Classic comes to iOS

August 27th, 2012 11:28 AM
Filed under Game trail, Software showcase;

Mike Maginnis and I were driving home from KansasFest 2012, half-listening to the Major Nelson podcast, when I thought I heard news of something called “Lode Runner Classic“, featuring the Apple II game’s original 150 levels. Since this was primarily an Xbox 360 podcast, and I consider Lode Runner one of the best games ever, I was excited by the prospect of a follow-up to 2009’s Lode Runner sequel. I love remakes and reboots, but there’s just something about going back to the source that can be extremely satisfying.

I rewound the podcast to hear the details I’d missed… and alas: the game was released for Windows Phone 7, a mobile operating system I’ll never have access to.

Yesterday, Kotaku ran a "one month later, this game is still great" review. As an aside, the author, Mike Fahey, briefly mentions: "Nearly three decades later, Tozai Games has released Lode Runner Classic for Windows Phone 7, with versions coming soon for iOS and Android."

WHAT?! iOS version? Truly??

The developer’s official Web site says only: "Don’t worry, Android and iOS fans — your versions will be releasing soon with shared leaderboards, country-code bragging rights and achievements!"

Okay. I can wait. After all, it was nearly two years between when Lode Runner for Xbox 360 was announced and it was released. I just need to remember to breathe. In the meantime, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one excited by this release. Said the franchise’s creator, Douglas E. Smith, on the game’s official Web site:

When Lode Runner came out on the Apple II, the last thing I expected was that the game would be alive and kicking on platforms as advanced as today’s smartphones. It’s really gratifying to me that so many people are still interested in the game.

And, as the Kotaku critic commented:

Thirty years down the road I feel I’ve developed a much deeper appreciation for Lode Runner than I had as a child. This seemingly simple title is actually a rather complex mechanism crafted specifically to hand me my [butt]. I’ve not gotten any better at it, but at least now I understand my failure is a result of brilliant programming.

Follow-up on Christie’s Apple-1

August 20th, 2012 2:43 PM
Filed under Hacks & mods, Mainstream coverage;
1 comment.

Two years ago, Christie’s of London auctioned an Apple-1 for $213,600 USD. Although that amount has since been bested by Sotheby’s, the Christie’s auction is still an interesting tale — and one that isn’t over. What happened to that machine after Marco Boglione purchased it? Did it ever become the centerpiece of a museum exhibit, as he intended?

According to Federico Viticci, it has, if only temporarily. Viticci writes at

I live in Viterbo, a small town in Lazio, Italy, not too far away from Rome… Today, the medieval buildings that make Viterbo an evocative architectural tapestry of art and history became, for a moment, a gallery for the modern history of technology.

Thanks to the efforts of Medioera, a festival of "digital culture" at its third annual edition here in Viterbo, Marco Boglione’s original Apple I gained a prominent spot in the gorgeous Piazza del Gesù…

The Apple I exhibited at Medioera is the same that was auctioned (and sold) at Christie’s in November 2010.

Viticci goes on to quote me (which would be a bit too meta to quote here) before offering an extensive history of the ownership of this particular Apple-1 — a lineage I’ve not seen published elsewhere — and photos of this and other machines that were a part of the festival.

Medioera is a temporary exhibit that has since left Viterbo. Where will Boglione’s Apple-1 appear next? … Maybe Russia?

Waiting for Espinosa

August 13th, 2012 1:39 PM
Filed under Musings;

Chris Espinosa has long been an unsung hero of Apple Computer Inc.; as Apple employee #8, he holds the record for the company’s longest-running employment. He occasionally pops up on radars to give an interview or unveil some historical blueprints, he blogs about Apple history, and I’m told he occasionally speaks at WWDC‘s Stump the Experts panel.

Yet I’ve never had the opportunity to meet or speak with Espinosa. As editor of Juiced.GS, I have more than a passing interest in retro Apple topics. Whether it’s Chris Espinosa, Steve Wozniak, Andy Hertzfeld, or Bob Bishop, I love to meet the industry’s founders and learn more about life at Apple.

So imagine my surprise when, while attending the Denver County Fair this past weekend, who should I bump into but none other than Cris Espinosa!

Espinosa was very gracious as I explained my role in managing an annual Apple convention, how excited I was to meet such a celebrity, and could I please get a photo? Espinosa graciously paused grooming a chicken to come out from behind the table and pose, telling me that with my gushing enthusiasm, "You just made my day."

Cris Espinosa

I can’t tell which of us was more surprised!

I don’t know why the County Fair’s name tag is missing the ‘h’ in Espinosa’s first name, but I’m sure it’s not a big deal.

The above attempt at humor has caused far more confusion than I anticipated. To clarify:
Chris Espinosa (male) is a Cupertino-based programmer for Apple Inc.
Cris Espinosa (female) is a Denver-based chicken farmer.

In memory of Christian Oberth

August 6th, 2012 9:34 AM
Filed under Happenings, History, Software showcase;
1 comment.

The Apple II community has suffered some prominent losses in the past year, such as Stan Marks and Steve Jobs. One that recently flew under the radar was that of programmer Christian Oberth, who passed away in mid-July at the age of 59.

By the time Oberth turned 30, he’d developed an extensive résumé, creating computer and arcade games for companies such as Milton Bradley, Stern Electronics, and Datamost. His published titles for the Apple II included 3-D Docking Mission (1978), Depth Charge (1978), and Phasor Zap (1978). He also programmed coin-op arcade games such as Armored Car (1981) and, perhaps most notably, Anteater (1982), adapted in 1983 to the Apple II as Ardy the Aardvark.

Sadly, the extent of Oberth’s portfolio was not fully recognized in his obituary, which offered only the summary: "He was an original Apple programmer, made an anteater game and was passionate about making and playing games."

Donations in Oberth’s name can be made to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, a four-star charity on Charity Navigator.

(Hat tip to Craig Grannell)