Chris McVeigh's LEGO Apple II

August 20th, 2018 8:48 AM
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Last week, I wrote about Charles Mangin, who's known for his 3D-printed miniature Apple computers. But polymer resin and filaments aren't the only building blocks of computer models: long before 3D printers, we had LEGO. And just as Charles Mangin is to 3D printers, so too is Chris McVeigh to LEGO.

McVeigh made headlines four years ago with his portfolio of LEGO constructs, including TIE fighters, televisions, and Atari consoles. Favoriting our favorite retrocomputer, his offerings also included an Apple IIe and Apple IIc — or as they're known by names less likely to incur copyright infringement, My First Computer: Binary Edition and Seed Edition, respectively. Each model has a free online guide for assembling your own LEGO Apple II.

My First Computer: Binary Edition

1 computer. 8 bits. 353 blocks.

McVeigh introduced the IIe model in 2014 and released v2.0 in October 2016. I emailed him recently to ask what the differences were. He explained:

I usually revise a product for one of two reasons: (1) I am no longer able to source an important part (for example, if the part has gone out of production) or (2) newly available parts allow me to improve upon the original design.

The revision of My First Computer: Binary Edition was prompted by the reintroduction of large flat tiles in tan, but I took the opportunity to give it a full overhaul. The most obvious changes are to the computer’s internals (in the original design, they were more abstract) and the external disk drives (which were completely redesigned).

McVeigh isn't the first or only one to interpret the Apple II as a LEGO construct; in 2013, CK Tsang built his own model retrocomputer. But unlike many online creators, McVeigh doesn't just show you how he did it — he'll also provide you with everything you need to do it yourself. If you don't have all 353 LEGO pieces necessary to assemble the IIe, you can order them from McVeigh. This kit is currently sold out but is expected to be back in stock this Wednesday, August 22, for the cost of $87.50 + $15 shipping within the USA. That's only 29¢ per LEGO piece!

I love that there are so many artistic interpretations of the Apple II — though this one is perhaps the blockiest, stealing the award from Minecraft. What other Apple II products and peripherals do you think McVeigh should design next?

(Hat tips to Michael Mulhern and Derek Ngai)

Escapist News Network's unmarked Apple

May 10th, 2010 11:44 AM
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The Apple II made a brief visual appearance, though earned no actual mention, in last week's episode of the Escapist News Network, a satirical weekly news report of the electronic entertainment industry. Appearing at time index 2:25 – 2:35, the image accompanied a story that "Developer Splash Damage is claiming that the AI in their upcoming game, Brink, is so advanced, players won't know whether they're playing against a computer or not."


Escapist News Network's Apple II

The Escapist News Network's Apple II

I wasn't confident that the computer pictured was in fact an Apple II. The form factor of the floppy drive is that of a Disk II but lacks the distinctive rainbow Apple logo, as does the computer on which it rests. For additional perspectives, I consulted with Andy Molloy, associate editor of Juiced.GS, who offered, "It sure looks like a[n Apple] II [and a] Disk II to me. Unless it's a Russian clone or something." Dr. Steve Weyhrich of the Apple II History site agreed that the computer looks like a typical Apple II configuration, adding, "I am suspicious that the Apple logo was Photoshopped out of the picture. Or, as Andy said, it might be a foreign clone that didn't bother putting up a logo of any kind."

Consider this similar picture found via a Google image search:

Apple II comparison shot

This is not the same photo as ENN's, but the setup is similar enough to suggest that they are the same computer. What do you think is the source of ENN's vintage computer? Did they grab and edit the first photo they found online? If so, why the coverup? If not, do they in fact have a rare unmarked knockoff?

The full ENN video report is after the jump.
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