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Commodore 64 vs Apple II

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Having been in the industry back in the day, selling,fixing etc (yes I am older) I just never saw the reason or attraction in an Apple. It just did not really offer anything I was interested in, games were horrid,joysticks as well, and it was WAY overpriced,even in 79 and 80. Of all the home pc's back in the day Vic Timex,c64,Atari,TRS etc, Apple was next to last on my list of having anything to offer. Not spreading hate, it was just a model I could not comprehend anyone buying.

It was just something where if you saw one,it was" YAWN, don't they have something more interesting to sell" . The only thing worse in my opinion was a PC,PC jr etc, and at least PC JR had some other colors to display LOL! To me anyway the excitement was in Atari,Commodore and to some extent CO CO and Ti. I could go on and on having owned a large retail store during the heyday and sold all this stuff new or used. Apple just never clicked, though for some it an apple centric way it did. Does not surprise me that as cultish as it was way back when that it became a much bigger cult later. It was lost on me and really still is. For those who enjoyed it.. Great! I just didn't get it.

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And I find that very interesting. I don't feel it's OK to add on to an Atari or C64 in ways that really change the machine definition. Much better to see creative efforts focused on what's mostly in the box, or what was there in the day. Love that, and I follow a lot of projects and like to do them too. With an Apple, it is OK to add on in very significant ways. Putting an mp3 player in there is just fine! That's what the machine is for, and that is how people used it in the day, and I kind of want one of those.

 

***On a side note, wonder whether or not an Apple could do Bruce Lee in double high res... That is something the Apple scene is missing, IMHO.

 

 

When you're dealing with custom chips sitting on the same bus as a CPU, you have to upgrade all the chips. It was not a popular thing (if it was ever done the first place) to upgrade a C64/A800 with faster microprocessor. If you did, you had to re-qualify all the custom chips, or, rather, redesign them. The C64/A800 hardware was closed in comparison against an Apple II. It's the same reason why you don't see people upgrading their VCS to 4MHz! While the software would run, the TIA would not.

 

To accelerate an Amiga, you had design a cache and buffer system out of discrete logic that buffered the faster CPU. And you had to consider all the custom chip timings. It really was a mess.

 

In the Apple II, with one method you could hang a co-processor off the bus and the system would see it as just another peripheral card. In layperson's terms, an Apple II numerical accelerator card would be accessed though memory locations, you poke the data in, and peek the data out. Bottlenecks for sure but the card operates independently from the main 6502, thus allowing great flexibility.

 

In another instance, you could get a card that was basically a recreation of the Apple II memory map with a fast processor. All program activity stayed on the card. It had it's own ram, shadow rom, and bus logic. Basically a whole new computer. This was the transwarp design. The main 6502 and memory on the motherboard was for all intents and purposes shut down. Your program resided and ran entirely on the Accelerator card. Your "old" Apple II was now a terminal and slave expansion box to the new "computer" you just installed.

 

Some Z-80 CP/M cards used the Apple II main memory, while others sprinted ahead with their own onboard fast ram, some were buffered. Here, the Z80 would use the main memory for program execution, and the Apple II video circuit would blissfully scan away dumping info to the screen - independent of any processor activity. Others took the transwarp approach.

 

Later we had stuff like the zip chip, with internal caches. And the chip would run 5MHz and faster, but the bus communication would happen at 1MHz. I like to think of this as the first cached and clock-doubled CPU. The precursor of today's intel chips that fly at 3GHz and talk to the outside world at 200MHz.

 

The one final point I want to reiterate is that the Apple II expansion slots provided direct connections to the address/data lines along with many other timing signals and strobes - without firmware interaction. This is also what the IBM PC did and the toy computers did not.

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Yes. That all rings true for me as well. A whole lot of people doing retail computing were just into it on a fairly casual level, and that's not what the Apple was about.

 

Many Apple users got into them through the schools. IMHO, that really was one great Apple use case, though I would have loved to see how the Atari labs type stuff played out.

 

More than the other machines, the Apple was a serious workstation type computer. That and educational type uses were the vast majority of Apple use cases. For me personally, I got started on the Apple at school and it really was a great experience. All the good docs, monitor, mini assembler, etc... made for fast learning. Those machines were well equipped too, seeing RAM, mice, etc... and the result of that was early and relevant exposure to business type productivity computing as well as more advanced programming. C and PASCAL are capable on an Apple, and fairly fast too, all things considered.

 

Because of that, I left High School very well equipped to put computing to use directly. Apple ][ was a huge part of that. And I played the crap out of my Atari computer and VCS. Didn't get C64 until later, but I played the crap out of that one too, just didn't program it as much. By then, I was moving on and into real work that paid the bills. C64 was almost completely gaming for me, due to time. The Atari was gaming and a mix of hardware tinkering, as was the CoCo, that and running FLEX with some others doing funky stuff with that powerful 6809. :)

 

For most people, those kinds of experiences were not what home computing was about, and that's why the retail scene just didn't take off for Apple like it did the other machines. Now, if you were to visit a business computing store? Apple ][ was big there. CP/M machines of all kinds, right there with Apple ][ computers, which ran CP/M well, and were a bridge between that and color graphics, and all that we know came from that tech, leaving text terminals of all kinds behind. None of the 8 bit computers were well aligned with this like the Apple ][ was.

 

Again, the get shit done computer as opposed to the fun computer. The same could be said of the PC as opposed to the various 16 bit machines.

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Another way to put that difference:

 

I ended up moving right into manufacturing and engineering work. Atari, C64, and CoCo 3 were good for the soul, programming, gaming, hacking on the chips and sometimes doing quick little projects with the various ports.

 

But, it was the Apple 2 and PC that provided access to experiences that proved to be worth it, translating right into making good money, which I did in manufacturing and automation. If you had an Apple, and a few contacts, you were in. Same for the PC. Bootleg some stuff, get good skills, go to work, get paid good money, buy toys. Worked for me. Unless one went into game development, that was not the typical Atari / C64, etc... experience, though any and all of the machines did lead to embedded programming of all kinds.

 

A quick look at the various communities today highlights this. Your typical Apple user will have gamed as all of us did, and they may have even had other machines to game with, like I did, but they also did a lot of practical money paying things too. That was my experience. Using all the business apps paid very well as I had the jump on a lot of people, right from school able to do spreadsheets, various word processing, publishing and even fairly professional quality collateral. The Apple 2 could do postscript output, and that was killer when it came to those things. Helped to pay for some college on my part.

 

CAD was something very powerful that I first did on the Apple as well, moving rapidly to the PC where it's greater memory space, speed and cheaper / faster storage options made mechanical CAD a reality. Mix in the programming skills, and I sold my first software package for CAD systems, making me enough money to really get a great PC, and that's remained true. For me, the computing hobby has always paid for itself and always will. Run the Apple, make shit people want, get paid, buy an Atari or C64 to play on, wash rinse repeat.

 

Lots of C64 / Atari users just paid and played and that's fine, but that's also not the typical Apple scene and that's something people should understand today because that difference was very significant and often overlooked in lieu of the sexy games and such we all like so much.

 

And in the US, paying and playing really was the norm. We never did get a scene like the EU had, and the divide between most Apple users and the rest of the 8 bitters was getting shit done for one, and gaming as a focus as opposed to computing for the other. A look at the CoCo scene highlights this too, with your typical Color Computer user, particularly the 3 doing lots of stuff, programming, embedded, etc... while gaming too.

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I always thought of the Apple II as the last single-board hobbyist computer.

S-100's, RCA Cosmac VIP, Kim-1, TRS-80 Model I, IMSAI, Altair, Heathkit, countless others. The Apple II belongs to the same heritage and engineering philosophy as those machines. Sooner or later, a machine would hit on the right combination of features to make it long-lived. And the Apple II happened to be it

 

Everything designed after it was geared toward the consumer market with a purpose. Features were now being carefully chosen in a price/performance matter with a goal in mind. Remember there was no goal or marketing benchmark set for the Apple II, the joe-blow consumer and technical hobbyist alike were still discovering what a computer was and what one could do with them when the 2 series was born. It is the last of the hobby systems, last of the green-screen terminal type devices. And it guided the transition from basement-dwelling to mass-marketing computers as a practical or fun tool.

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Yep, and those early adopters pioneered many computing niches, not just gaming. The Apple ][ was built to exploit those, right along with enough capability to deliver a reasonable home computing experience.

 

The masses that came later saw games and other things, which built demand. The VCS was there too, showing everybody what a TV game was and that was all exploited by the future machines, A8, C64, with titles like "Star Raiders" selling machines cold. What sold Apples? Education, and Visicalc....

 

And that's the "vs" conversation right there.

 

Hey, who is from where? I have to go and look now. US Apple users often got a much different experience than those from other nations, depending on what their TV standards and economics were. For many developing nations, the Apple was WAYYY too expensive, for others the PAL TV standards made for a mess, because the Apple depended on NTSC for it's artifact color capability. That colors things considerably, IMHO.

 

Rybags mentioned another thing above: "See no reason to own one today, but for hacking on homebrew hardware" Well, I've highlighted some of the reasons, but I also want to say that's kind of true!

 

I'm on a homebrew / embedded kick right now. 8 bit gaming is a bit stale and I'm taking a break from that. An Apple is a great experience, if you are there, BTW. I also find these things go in cycles, so I won't get rid of gear like I did last time. Fuck, that was painful. Got all sorted today, with PC access hardware for all my machines. The only thing I won't go back to is IRIX. Kind of done there. Don't know why --well, maybe I do, and I think it's embedded that took over. I like little machines more than I do really big powerful ones. SGI machines are killer, but they take a mindshare investment that's a bit too much.

 

Anyway, when gaming gets good for me again, I'll shift back and that's the beauty of retro. It's all still there, plus new projects. All good.

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I love my A8, but the Apple ][ will forever be more of a "serious" computer to me than any of the other 8-bit computers. It was expandable. It could do 80 columns. And, it had no dedicated graphics or sound chips. It was a general purpose computer, not a game machine with built-in BASIC and an expansion port.

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Yep. Me too. Precisely.

 

A flick of the power switch....

 

On Apple, *BEEP*, chuga, chug, chug, chug, Bzerrp, whirr, click, click, click, click. "]"

 

On Atari, click, bzzzst, ba, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, pause, da, da, da, da.., (longer time), READY.

 

On CoCo 3, whirr, bzeerp, click, click, click, clickety, click, click, click, click, step, click, click... OK.

 

On C64, READY. Then you type stuff, always hated that. Once done, it's all fun from there though. :)

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I learned a set of skills, both electronic hardware and software, on the 2 series that I would not have been able to do had I had a C64/A800 as my first "CRT-based" computer. If I had gone the TRS-80 route I *might* have also picked up a similar skillset.

 

I learned tons of things about data storage and preservation methodologies that ring true till today. While the differences in the PROM of a 13-sector vs. 16-sector drive controller (and how it worked) is pretty much non-relevant today - It is the thought process you hone when working such such hardware. Everybody in the computing industry no matter how slightly involved should spend a little time with one of these machines. In working with a primitive and bare-metal machine like an Apple II you will gain an appreciation and understanding of modern hardware that is otherwise unobtainable.

 

Why did I get an Apple II in the first place? To play games!

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Oh, and joysticks.

 

Ok, I really like the Atari VCS controllers. Always have, always will, but I have to say analog controls are damn cool and digital input users missed out in some ways. Play "choplifter" on the Apple, and it's a different experience from the other machines that lacked analog controls. Play "robotron" on Apple (which kicks a ton of ass BTW), and the two buttons also brings a different experience and some strategy to the game missing from the digital or dual stick configurations.

 

Modding an Apple joystick to work on the Atari was one of my first hardware projects! I never did complete a game back then, but I did get some nice movement going, and I think that all of us Atari, C64, etc... digital input users are still missing out on that front. Somebody needs to produce some hardware and we can go and analogify some great games. Seriously!

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Seconded on low level stuff. Apples taught me a lot, but then again, so did the Atari and CoCo 3, both of which had some good systems engineering put into them. The Apple had redirectable I/O, meaning I can use it with a serial terminal today, and ADT uses that to squirt PRODOS right into the machine to be written to a master disk. Spiffy! The Atari can do this kind of stuf too with device independent I/O via XIO, though I don't know it can be bootstrapped the way an Apple can. And that's another design difference. Bootstrapping was very common in the 70's, and the Apple ROM was built for that to actually happen with whatever you happened to have handy. Audio, paper tape, serial, type it in, whatever. Newer machines did not incorporate that, due to the industry being more established. Apple ][ was right there at the edge, which is very cool in the same way A8 / C64 / Speccy, others did just a bit later.

 

BTW: The second edition Propeller micro controller has boot strapping Apple style built right in! Get a serial connection, connect, power up, and you are in! Type in a DOS, or whatever you need and go, or upload through the serial. Damn cool! And it means I can use my Apple, or Atari, whatever to do stuff to, if I wanted to. And on the Apple, 80 columns + terminal makes a lot of sense, as does the CoCo 3. Just differences here worth noting on a vs thread. Not better, just "versus", mind you. I hate that "best", "better" shit.

 

The CoCo got serious computing, even multi-user with FLEX, followed by OS/9. Of all those, the Apple was the most open though. Schematics and a full commented ROM listing. Sweet! (and the stuff that got a lot of us programming 6502 early, BTW)

 

IMHO, this is one of the least strong areas of the C64, though it did prove to be a great hack on it playground, so don't get me wrong there.

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In another instance, you could get a card that was basically a recreation of the Apple II memory map with a fast processor. All program activity stayed on the card. It had it's own ram, shadow rom, and bus logic. Basically a whole new computer. This was the transwarp design. The main 6502 and memory on the motherboard was for all intents and purposes shut down. Your program resided and ran entirely on the Accelerator card. Your "old" Apple II was now a terminal and slave expansion box to the new "computer" you just installed.

 

That's sort of how processor upgrades or replacements work on the C64 too, except they arrive as a cartridge rather than a card; the SuperCPU is basically a big cartridge with a 20MHz 65816 and up to 16Mb of RAM that takes over the bus, tells the 6510 to nod off and just uses the video, audio and I/O whilst the relatively recent Turbo Chameleon has an FPGA implementation of the C64, 16Mb RAM expansion and 1541 in one standard cartridge case and can run at over six times regular speed - it makes games like Driller almost playable! The Spartan apparently doesn't even need to halt the C64, it "mates" with the ports and borrows the keyboard but you get two machines (C64 and Apple II+) working simultaneously.

 

i'm keeping out of the main discussion because i've only ever seen two Apple II machines in the "flesh" (one was i think about thirty years ago) and never actually used a real one myself.

 

One question that springs to mind whilst i'm here though; are any of the Apple II folks in this 'ere thread writing new games at all? i'm always looking for new stuffs to review for Retro Gamer! =-)

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@TMR: Yes.

I know where to find you when there is something to talk about. Apple needs WAY more of that kind of thing.

 

I will be a long while yet. On //e, the signal I want is there, but not on ][+ Right now, just building lower level things, blitter, main loop, and testing various things out, including the 65C02, which I never programmed for specifically. Honestly, thinking just //e and the c right now. If whatever happens runs on a GS, great, but I'm not targeting that one.

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One question that springs to mind whilst i'm here though; are any of the Apple II folks in this 'ere thread writing new games at all? i'm always looking for new stuffs to review for Retro Gamer! =-)

 

Here's one for you http://rsp.retrocomputacion.com/games-the-deadly-orbs-by-brian-picchi/ he entered this in the Retrospectiva 8-bit game competition. It's in Basic but it's not bad. He's also got a few other games he's written recently for the Apple II.

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As a fan of both, and from a purely gaming perspective, I think the Commodore 64 smokes the Apple. You can make any excuse you want about the Apple being released years earlier* and not having dedicated graphics or sound chips, but I stand by the statement. The Commodore played better games, IMO.

 

I won't say the Apple didn't have some things going for it; the two-button joystick (really two paddles stuffed into the same box) was an advantage, it had an arguably nicer and faster disk interface, and it excelled at text adventures and RPGs. But generally, any game the Apple II could do, the C64 usually did better (Kung Fu Master, Gauntlet, Donkey Kong, and any of the other Atarisoft titles immediately come to mind). It had lower graphical resolution, but the Commodore had vastly better color and unquestionably superior audio.

 

It also had games like Blue Max, Stealth, Beach Head II, Space Taxi, and other games I consider favorites. The Apple didn't. The list of "exclusive" Apple games I count as favorites is limited pretty much to Sabotage and Star Blazer, which was later ported to the Atari 800 as Sky Blazer anyway. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of Apple games that I like a lot. It's just that I can also play most of them (Lode Runner, Choplifter, Miner 2049er, Apple Cider Spider, etc) on other platforms. And they're often better on said platforms, even if only marginally.

 

I make the comparison only with the II+ and IIe systems that were roughly analogous to the C64, since it's not fair to compare the C64 and its software to the generic late '70s BASIC games that the early Apple II had (it DID have Apple Invaders, at least, which is amazing btw). I really don't even consider the IIgs to truly be an Apple II. It's almost more like a Mac mishmashed with Apple II functionality and compatibility, like some kind of FrankenApple. The IIgs is better than the C64 in most, if not all ways, but again, it's not really an Apple II. (Similary, I consider the Color Computer 3 a separate system from the CoCo1 and CoCo2.) The Atari ST or Amiga would be a fairer comparison.

 

If you want to talk about stuff like performance and processor speed and programmability and practical utility, those are separate arguments. From a purely gaming standpoint, none of those things really matter (unless you write games) since they each run their games equally well, although I will concede that some later Commodore 64 games have some atrocious load times.

 

The Apple II is a hella fun piece of hardware to work on, though. :-D

 

(* If you're going to use this argument, btw, you don't get to flip it around and say the IIgs was better than the C64. ;) Especially since it isn't really an Apple II anyway.)

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... digital input users are still missing out on that front. Somebody needs to produce some hardware and we can go and analogify some great games. Seriously!

 

You mean like the Atari 5200 did with Atari 400 games? Remind me how resoundingly popular that idea was. :P

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@TMR: Yes.

I know where to find you when there is something to talk about. Apple needs WAY more of that kind of thing.

 

Yeah, i know that you know - but i wanted to make sure that other people knew too! =-)

 

Here's one for you http://rsp.retrocomputacion.com/games-the-deadly-orbs-by-brian-picchi/ he entered this in the Retrospectiva 8-bit game competition. It's in Basic but it's not bad. He's also got a few other games he's written recently for the Apple II.

 

i reviewed Surfshooter previously and have Deadly Orbs on my "to do" list already, but was hoping to find something that... erm, made a little more use of the machine perhaps?

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Oh, and joysticks.

 

Ok, I really like the Atari VCS controllers. Always have, always will, but I have to say analog controls are damn cool and digital input users missed out in some ways. Play "choplifter" on the Apple, and it's a different experience from the other machines that lacked analog controls. Play "robotron" on Apple (which kicks a ton of ass BTW), and the two buttons also brings a different experience and some strategy to the game missing from the digital or dual stick configurations.

 

Modding an Apple joystick to work on the Atari was one of my first hardware projects! I never did complete a game back then, but I did get some nice movement going, and I think that all of us Atari, C64, etc... digital input users are still missing out on that front. Somebody needs to produce some hardware and we can go and analogify some great games. Seriously!

sounds interesting, just never did (and still dont) much like analog joystick, funnyt how in time that became the satandard,though not in the cludgy way of an apple or PC. Also on another note while an Apple kind of was the as you say, "get stuff "meaning work" done " 8 bit, that was also because mainly that was all it could do, no dedicated graphics or sound,poor joysticks etc. Atari should have stomped the crap out of it with the lower price and greater features. Business places carried apple for sure but there were very few of these type of stores. My high school had a couple of early apples but sadly nobody was allowed to touch them (1980-81)

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The 5200 controllers didn't quite execute on simple, robust analog input. Personally, I found them difficult, but they did have lots of options!

 

Actually, that wasn't all the machine could do. Anyone saying that simply hasn't played very many games on the Apple. Sorry. There are lots of kinds of games and lots of ways to render them. One could flip that around and bitch about all the Atari games that present less than they could because of the sprite system and lack of high resolution colors without a ton of CPU being involved too. 6 color high res screens are enough to do basically anything. 4 color high res screens aren't, and look at all the CPU tricks to get more than those 4 colors.

 

PoP is a great example of this, and the good use of the double high resolution screens on the better Apples. 6 color screens, with some high resolution color capability meant for some killer pixel art that is very difficult to reproduce on the machines with custom hardware. That hardware brought more colors, which is a good thing, but the trade-off was not having smaller color dots, and or significant freedom of movement on multi-color scenarios. These differences impacted how games were presented, and the fun part here is exploring that, of which the Apple has a lot to contribute.

 

Again, don't get me wrong here. I think Atari / C64 gaming is superior in many ways, but that doesn't devalue Apple gaming. Spectrum is a similar dynamic. Many of those games are killer, despite significant system limitations. Good games are to be had all over the place, not just on the more spiffy machines, and in fact, those hardware features influenced games strongly, and that was not always a good thing. And we see people hammering on the Speccy for many of the same reasons, despite there being a shit ton of great games produced on it.

 

And the standard has moved back to analog input too. The difference today is we get encoders in key places instead of pots, which is a very nice improvement. Dual analog sticks are used a hell of a lot more these days than we see binary inputs. On my PS3, it's nearly all analog, but for the D-pad. Funny how that works, isn't it?

 

I think there is absolutely nothing kludgy about PC / Apple inputs. Having the hardware assist that is good, but not necessary.

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The 5200 controllers didn't quite execute on simple, robust analog input. Personally, I found them difficult, but they did have lots of options!

 

Actually, that wasn't all the machine could do. Anyone saying that simply hasn't played very many games on the Apple. Sorry. There are lots of kinds of games and lots of ways to render them. One could flip that around and bitch about all the Atari games that present less than they could because of the sprite system and lack of high resolution colors without a ton of CPU being involved too. 6 color high res screens are enough to do basically anything. 4 color high res screens aren't, and look at all the CPU tricks to get more than those 4 colors.

 

PoP is a great example of this, and the good use of the double high resolution screens on the better Apples. 6 color screens, with some high resolution color capability meant for some killer pixel art that is very difficult to reproduce on the machines with custom hardware. That hardware brought more colors, which is a good thing, but the trade-off was not having smaller color dots, and or significant freedom of movement on multi-color scenarios. These differences impacted how games were presented, and the fun part here is exploring that, of which the Apple has a lot to contribute.

 

Again, don't get me wrong here. I think Atari / C64 gaming is superior in many ways, but that doesn't devalue Apple gaming. Spectrum is a similar dynamic. Many of those games are killer, despite significant system limitations. Good games are to be had all over the place, not just on the more spiffy machines, and in fact, those hardware features influenced games strongly, and that was not always a good thing. And we see people hammering on the Speccy for many of the same reasons, despite there being a shit ton of great games produced on it.

 

And the standard has moved back to analog input too. The difference today is we get encoders in key places instead of pots, which is a very nice improvement. Dual analog sticks are used a hell of a lot more these days than we see binary inputs. On my PS3, it's nearly all analog, but for the D-pad. Funny how that works, isn't it?

 

I think there is absolutely nothing kludgy about PC / Apple inputs. Having the hardware assist that is good, but not necessary.

 

Oh I have played quite a few Apple games, we sold the software, had one on demo, it was always the least played. Not only that, but with apple and being a discount place, we used to get apple closeouts frequently, couldnt sell them for love nor money, till we RAISED the price :/ just must be some apple thing. Yes analog dual analog has become the game standard.(and yes there is EVERYTHING kludgy about an old analog apple joystick, constant adjustments,crappy reaction,unless you were playing a simulator) I don't really like it but at least it's not the goofy old apple/pc setup with adjustments and whatever. Not to mention back then they had the highest return rate by far. Not apples fault for sure, but what a horrendous choice for arcade games ( the preferred genre of the day). Most customers just thought it was a joke,unless you wanted to write a letter,otherwise it didn't do much and had a high price. It was the kind of pc that a teacher or parent (person with a low fun quotient) might choose but not the person who had to use it. C64 was by far and away a better choice for most folks.to each his own, just never really knew anyone or at least very few who made that choice.In a 10000ft store with tons of traffic you would think we would have seen more folks liking,asking,buying etc. Like I said it was like the "Apple Club" mentality. They didn't go for discounted games,even current gen discounted stuff from buyouts of stores that failed. You had to raise the price for it to sell. odd group for sure.

Edited by atarian63

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I dunno, pirated Apple ][ software was everywhere I went back in the day. xD

The only machine I know of with pirating parties and a magazine dedicate to game copying parameters.

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Yep! That was pretty excellent, and if you had an older ][+, cracking games was pretty accessible due to the monitor and how reset worked originally. That was my first experience doing that, and a few of us got one to work! Learned a lot doing that. A similar experience was cracking CoCo carts. It was entirely possible to do that with just EDTASM, a cassette and a ROM dump right to the tape. Bad ass. My first Atari crack was a lot easier frankly. It was Ultima II, and all you really had to do was open the door after a certain number of beeps to get past the bad sector check. An error was needed, didn't matter which one. Started down that road with MAC/65, but kind of was moving on at that point, so it never came to pass, beyond editing some sectors and such to make games easier or change the art.

 

(sorry guys, we all were kids, and I didn't have a lot at that time anyway)

 

"Raise the price"

 

Yep. This is something Apple has rather consistently shown the industry as a whole, much to it's chagrin. Here's the deal: It never, ever was about share. It is all about margin and repeat business. Always has been, always will be.

 

Apple computers cost a lot more than the other 8 bitters did, but you got a lot more too. In fact, the more you paid, the more you got! Many other machines flat lined in terms of core features, where an Apple ][ just didn't. Want to run a 6809, 68K in your Apple ][. Done. Want very high resolution color graphics, sprites, whatever? Done. Better sound? Big ass storage? I/O for test, measurement, cross development, whatever? Done. And with that came people who knew their shit and could help you get it done, whatever it was. An entire ecosystem came up around that whole thing, and it all moved to the PC, all of it eating at UNIX where the real serious computing was getting done anyway.

 

Decided I was in an Apple mood and Mrs. wanted a few tunes. I do that on my MacBook only. That MacBook costs more than a Dell, but it's a great machine throughout. Great design, usability, documentation, ease of use, etc... The OS gives me no shit ever too. That's worth a lot, and when you combine it all together, the margin on the PACKAGE, not just the hardware, adds a lot of value, and look at how well Apple is capitalized compared to most other computer companies who really don't get it, and never have. There is no contest.

 

There wasn't back then either. For people who wanted a serious computer to get shit done, the Apple ][ was that computer, until the PC, and then it became that computer because IBM did get it.

 

Hard pill to swallow for those of us who like really interesting machines like the ST, Amiga, etc... but one that's really hard to deny.

 

In fact, your best sale would have been a nicely equipped Apple, positioned as a serious machine with a lot of potential, which it was. That would be a maximum case value proposition with a lot of margin in it for you, particularly if you had offered get started services and some packages to go along with the machine itself. Selling just an Apple, Disk and game controllers really wasn't where it was at. That didn't do much, but one that was sold with interface cards, dual disks, a great printer, Apple Works, maybe a CP/M card, Modem, and other goodies? Big dollars, but also big value, high margin sale too.

 

In fact, Apple people still pay. My CFFA wasn't cheap, but it's kick ass. Happy to do it, and the package adds value just like most things Apple did. Great docs, professionally produced hardware, updates, the whole deal. Hell, if I want to, I can go and produce something on the Apple, and drop the Postscript files onto a thumb drive, or FTP them to a network and Postscript capable printer and get great output today on a mere Apple ][. That's the kind of thing people bought into, and it's more than a set of specs.

 

Back in the day, "power without the price" was nice, because people could get a machine cheap and do a lot of stuff, and that wasn't a bad thing to have out there. Worked for me, but... That race to the bottom never really ends well, and a lot of computer shops suffered over time because of it. Apple computer stores consistently moved up the chain, keeping value high, margins high, from ][ to Mac, and that extends through today. They did well, able to exist out there adding a lot of value over time, not always trying to package more into fewer dollars every year.

 

Yet another "vs" point of discussion. I always wonder what would have happened with another machine raised to that bar, done with slots, case, and supporting docs, open enough to carry the Apple ][ torch forward. It was the PC, but at that time, another could have stepped in, as could have Apple themselves. Apple didn't, because they wanted to raise the value proposition again to keep margins and expectations high for the future. So they focused on Mac, investing just enough into the ][ to keep the dollars coming in, but no more. Pity... I think that was a mistake, as they still could have done the Mac, but gotten a nicer slice of the PC pie and a nice push into that time. But it has worked out fantastically for them, so what do I know? Still... Would have been killer to see the ][ series get that push, which the GS was, but it was just odd and a little late, IMHO. Great machine, but not a focus of mine personally, that's all there. I'm not a GS hater, just never caught the fever as I was off onto other things at the time. Wanted one though.

 

Turns out, they did well with the Mac vision, but it was kind of a bumpy ride. All that good value, high margin in the ][ basically funded the Mac though, rendering Apple a billion dollar company on the 6502. Say what you want, but that kicked a lot of ass. Count me as a fan.

 

BTW, once I got that, I kept moving up the chain to higher end hardware / software. A PC setup to do great mechanical CAD, for example, could just be some graphics card, ram, cheap case, cheap CPU. On the other hand, if you really wanted to get shit done, you paid for a Methieus graphics adapter with serious co-processor, the top end CPU, full compliment of RAM, fast hard disk, and good software written to leverage all of that. The difference in both value delivered and margin back to the seller was huge!

 

A serious CAD station with all the fixings, setup ready to rock and roll, complete with DOS menus, utilities and such all setup to just go, tablet, plotter, you name it started out at $10K, and could hit 20. The rock bottom was $1500 to $5K, but with almost the same sales effort, and interestingly, most of the same expectations, meaning the seller / service people were always figuring out how to do the good stuff cheap ass, making a third doing it too, while the ones who just stepped up and offered, supported and trained people on kick ass gear got paid very nicely, and the difference in productivity was like night and day.

 

Later on, some graphics adapters cost more than entire PC machines did, but they delivered high end UNIX workstation functionality too. And those were powerful boxes starting at $10K and going up to over $50, depending on what it is that needed to get done.

 

Unix fell by the wayside as a serious workstation OS for nearly everybody, until guess who? Apple! So yeah, that Mac costs more, but the package carries with it a lot of value. Always has, always will, and those that get it and pay up and get the benefit of it all will do it over and over and over, because it's worth it. That's Apple, and it all started with the ][, which was done right in that respect.

 

Also BTW, doing professional services in the race to the bottom ecosystem is what, $20 - 60 / hour? Maybe $100, depending? Doing it in the high value / high margin space? Try $200 today. That realization has had a very favorable impact on what I make each year, and I can trace that all back to the Apple ][ being a serious machine and all that came with those expectations. Extremely valuable life lessons, even if the games were not quite as killer sometimes.

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Yep! That was pretty excellent, and if you had an older ][+, cracking games was pretty easy. That was my first experience doing that, and a few of us got one to work! Learned a lot doing that. A similar experience was cracking CoCo carts. It was entirely possible to do that with just EDTASM, a cassette and a ROM dump right to the tape. Bad ass. My first Atari crack was a lot easier frankly. It was Ultima II, and all you really had to do was open the door after a certain number of beeps to get past the bad sector check. An error was needed, didn't matter which one. Started down that road with MAC/65, but kind of was moving on at that point, so it never came to pass, beyond editing some sectors and such to make games easier or change the art.

 

(sorry guys, we all were kids, and I didn't have a lot at that time anyway)

 

"Raise the price"

 

Yep. This is something Apple has rather consistently shown the industry as a whole, much to it's chagrin. Here's the deal: It never, ever was about share. It is all about margin and repeat business. Always has been, always will be.

 

Apple computers cost a lot more than the other 8 bitters did, but you got a lot more too. In fact, the more you paid, the more you got! Many other machines flat lined in terms of core features, where an Apple ][ just didn't. Want to run a 6809, 68K in your Apple ][. Done. Want very high resolution color graphics, sprites, whatever? Done. Better sound? Big ass storage? I/O for test, measurement, cross development, whatever? Done.

 

Decided I was in an Apple mood and Mrs. wanted a few tunes. I do that on my MacBook only. That MacBook costs more than a Dell, but it's a great machine throughout. Great design, usability, documentation, ease of use, etc... The OS gives me no shit ever too. That's worth a lot, and when you combine it all together, the margin on the PACKAGE, not just the hardware, adds a lot of value, and look at how well Apple is capitalized compared to most other computer companies who really don't get it, and never have. There is no contest.

 

There wasn't back then either. For people who wanted a serious computer to get shit done, the Apple ][ was that computer, until the PC, and then it became that computer because IBM did get it.

 

Hard pill to swallow for those of us who like really interesting machines like the ST, Amiga, etc... but one that's really hard to deny.

 

In fact, your best sale would have been a nicely equipped Apple, positioned as a serious machine with a lot of potential, which it was. That would be a maximum case value proposition with a lot of margin in it for you, particularly if you had offered get started services and some packages to go along with the machine itself. Selling just an Apple, Disk and game controllers really wasn't where it was at. That didn't do much, but one that was sold with interface cards, dual disks, a great printer, Apple Works, maybe a CP/M card, Modem, and other goodies? Big dollars, but also big value, high margin sale too.

 

In fact, Apple people still pay. My CFFA wasn't cheap, but it's kick ass. Happy to do it, and the package adds value just like most things Apple did. Great docs, professionally produced hardware, updates, the whole deal.

 

Back in the day, "power without the price" was nice, because people could get a machine cheap and do a lot of stuff, and that wasn't a bad thing to have out there. Worked for me, but... That race to the bottom never really ends well, and a lot of computer shops suffered over time because of it. Apple computer stores consistently moved up the chain, keeping value high, margins high, from ][ to Mac, and that extends through today. They did well, able to exist out there adding a lot of value over time, not always trying to package more into fewer dollars every year.

 

Yet another "vs" point of discussion. I always wonder what would have happened with another machine raised to that bar, done with slots, case, and supporting docs, open enough to carry the Apple ][ torch forward. It was the PC, but at that time, another could have stepped in, as could have Apple themselves. Turns out, they did well with the Mac vision, but it was kind of a bumpy ride. All that good value, high margin in the ][ basically funded the Mac though, rendering Apple a billion dollar company on the 6502. Say what you want, but that kicked a lot of ass. Count me as a fan.

it may have worked for some but you would have to agree mostly folks thought is was low value or just did not understand computers back then,they fell back to "you get what you pay for" in making a "safe" decision about something they knew little about.Also a bit of "well they have one at school" mentality,which really was smart on apples part and really made the company.Without such I think there would be no apple. Certainly C64 Atari had that over Apple hands down. It really wasn't repeat business with apple, folks bought a few things and were done. For gaming there were much better options. Repeat customers were in DAILY, but Atari,commodore software,add on devices etc.PC's were much the same, get your lotus and word Processor and mostly you were done,at least until adlib and ega/vga came along to give the machine what it should have had from the beginning.

This is not to say that there weren't some extreme hobbyist such as yourself who found alot of use and value.Each platform has some of these, many are probably here from time to time.However, there were many many more who found more value in a c64.

 

Just not a fan, to this day and with my kids we own NO apple products. Consoles,Android, PC's work fine and cost much less. Heck my kids never had an ipod. Always samsung or something else. to each his own I guess.

Edited by atarian63

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