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oracle_jedi

Opinions on the Apple IIe emulator for the Macintosh LC?

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I've always had a soft spot for old school emulators.

 

Although common place today, BITD there was something absolutely fascinating to me about an Atari ST running a PC, ZX81 or TRS80 emulator in software, or emulating a Macintosh with a hardware add-on.

 

I've never owned anything by Apple, and so it was relatively recently I learned about the Apple IIe emulator that Apple made for the Macintosh LC line. It sounds like a really cool idea and it has me interested in trying to acquire an LC III and the Apple IIe card. I like the LC III as it is compact, and still relatively cheap. It seems it would not require a major investment in money or space, and would allow some of the common Mac games of the era to play on native hardware.

 

What's everyone's opinion on the Apple IIe card? Does it allow most IIe applications and games to run, or it is only a subset of the most well behaved apps and only games that do little to exploit the IIe's features? If I got one, would popular IIe games that run fine be the norm, or the exception?

 

Interested to hear people's thoughts.

 

 

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The //e card and software environment isn't an emulator, it's a user interface that allows you to interact with additional hardware. The difference being that the //e card is a near full Apple II complete with an integrated 65c02 processor minus a hand full of functions (like RAM and ports) that the Macintosh logic board provides. The software simply allows you to interact with it. In essence, installing a //e card is literally installing a full Apple //e into your Macintosh. By contrast, an emulator simulates all that hardware in software as well as the user interface. Sadly, 68k Macs aren't powerful enough to do that. Although interestingly, PowerPC Macs actually do run an emulator in the background in order to run 68k compatible software.

 

The truth is that the //e card was never really meant to provide a true Apple II experience. Rather, it was meant to help //e users to migrate over to the Macintosh platform,

 

That said, the //e card is remarkably compatible with most Apple II software, so long as it's 65c02 compatible. Some older software designed for the 6502 won't work (this includes most but not all versions of Centipede that I've found), and the color/black and white options can be a little wonky with some text-based programs. Bank Street Writer, for instance, won't display legibly in black and white mode, and the artifact color makes the text unreadable in color mode. AppleWorks, on the other hand, works just fine in both.

 

The biggest annoyance for me (in use) is the "Reset" key. On an Apple //e, holding "Control-Reset" goes to Basic prompt, and "Control-Command/Open Apple-Reset" reboots the computer. On an LC III, the "Reset" key is for a soft reboot. If in //e mode, you hit the "Reset" without hitting the "Control" key at the same time, your whole Macintosh will reboot instead (not just the //e). Since resetting a //e is the principle way to switch between programs without turning it completely off and on again, one can see the problem.

 

Another issue is cost. As I said, this isn't an emulator, so you will need to buy some additional hardware to make this work. At minimum, you'll need a 5.25 in floppy drive (which isn't too expensive) and disks, plus the Y-cable to connect it (those things were going for around $90 alone the last I checked). Add the actual //e card (another $100-$200), the LC III (probably $100 plus), a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and price wise, you're well past the cost of an actual //e that would run more software.

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