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The Mac turns 25

3 responses to “The Mac turns 25” »

  1. Jon Conley says:

    You mean the Macintosh is twenty-five. 😛

    What was your first Apple Computer? Mine was the Apple //e (or IIe, however you prefer to write it). Oh, how I loved it. We had the dot matrix printer, with this terrible Garfield ‘game’ (basically a ‘fill-in-the-blank’ card printing application), the DuoDisk Drive (goodness!) and a color monitor. Also, Karateka (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbCNABqNVMo).

    Oh, how excellent it was. I could write a book about that game, and that wonderful computer. This was my introduction to video games. My introduction to adventure games was the original Maniac Mansion for my beloved Apple.

    I missed out on the Macintosh computers, outside of school and a few friends. My family didn’t upgrade from the Apple IIe until about 1995, with the mass-adoption of the Pentium architecture. And then, we welcomed the unholy beast that is Windows 3.1, into our homes. I remember actually feeling more comfortable in DOS, having grown up in front of a command line interpreter. Besides, at that point, you had to launch most games in DOS anyway. But that’s another story.

    And so, the Apple IIe was packed away, like so many childhood relics. It was the ‘old toy’ that nobody wanted to play with. It couldn’t run Doom, nor could it connect to this newfangled ‘world wide web’. It didn’t have a CD-ROM drive and a virtual encyclopedia.

    It didn’t have a mouse.

    From that point on, my family was a Windows family. I wouldn’t be an avid Apple user again, until I went off to school and bought my own PowerMac tower.

    One day, I returned from college with the intentions of unboxing the old girl and taking Karateka for a spin. I missed the sound of the dot matrix printer. I missed the trash can filled with paper perforations. I wanted to remember what it was like, back in the 80’s. I wanted to be a kid again.

    The original box for the machine and the printer were still sitting in our basement, in perfect condition. I became overly excited. This was going to be like opening a new Apple IIe.

    Sadly, the boxes were filled with my old books.

    The computer was gone. It turns out, my mother had ‘donated’ my first computer to a local elementary school, in the age of the internet. At this point, a Windows 95-capable machine would’ve been frowned-upon.

    I felt betrayed, as if my mother had given away my baby photos, or something that might’ve had meaning to her, but mattered less to me. Because to me, that computer was my childhood. But to my mother, it was simply an old piece of junk, taking up a corner in the basement. Obsolete. Old. Useless.

    I can only assume that the IT people at the school laughed, and beat my poor Apple IIe with a baseball bat, in the staff parking lot; where she died a miserable and lonely ‘obsolete technology’ death.

    There was an animated short film I used to watch, as a child. It was about a family that upgraded to a new model of service robot, while the old sent himself to the disassembly plant. It was terribly depressing. I couldn’t help but think about that cartoon…

    If only they would’ve explored her potential! She could ‘surf the web’, honest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMzgp7xTp1k

    So, remember your roots, Macintosh. Apple II Forever!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcjlhFVTY50

    That is all.

  2. Jenn Frank says:

    Blah, you are correct. The title has been updated to reflect this. Thank you!

    I actually got my first Mac in… 2005. Hmm. Then it was stolen. My second Mac, identical to my first Mac, is in my lap right now. It has chicken soup in it, and it stops working when I unplug it.

    I was familiar with Macs before IBMs (or PCs? Did we ever agree on what to call those?), but our first family computer, later on, was an IBM-compatible—a 486-33, in fact! In more recent years, I’ve found that my early DOS education has really helped me make better sense of terminal commands.

    I’m really sorry about your first Apple. My parents use our crappy old mid-90s-era HP Pavilion to surf the web and check their email; if they were to throw it out without warning, I’d feel almost as betrayed. Yikes, so depressing.

    Here’s a question. See, I’m trying to type up a list of 25 (?!) Mac games I’d recommend in the here-and-now for modern Mac gamers. Do you still game on your Mac? What do you suggest? Obviously I am thinking Blizzard/Ambrosia/Ur-Quan/Introversion, but that seems so duh.

  3. Jon Conley says:

    It stops working when you unplug it? Because you’ve destroyed it with chicken soup, or because you need to reset the battery?

    Yeah, I remember the ‘IBM vs. PC’ naming scheme. I suppose you could say, from the 80’s-1994, they were ‘IBMs’. The IBM branding was similar to Apple’s. IBM was really the only game in town. It was a device. But once the Pentium chips came out, people knew what it was to own an ‘HP’ or a ‘Packard Bell’ (which would’ve, in the olden days, been considered IBM clones). PCs finally had brand names that were part of a larger platform, at that point. I don’t recall anyone calling PCs anything but ‘IBMs’ in the 386 / 486 days, though.

    Or, there’s the unholy marriage of the fabled ‘IBM-PC’. Remember that? ‘IBM-PC Compatible’, on the boxes of games?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_PC_compatible

    Thank you for your condolences. It truly was a beautiful machine. I guess that for geeks, old technology is like a familiar heirloom. It’s just a shame that our parents either give it away or sell it at a garage sale while we’re off to school.

    But I did love that computer. Everything about it was so stereotypically ‘computer age’. And though the show is dead to me, I always smile while watching ‘LOST’ and seeing the old Apple II and III machines in the background.

    I still game on my Mac, from time to time. I mostly just load up old games via emulator, and use this (http://sourceforge.net/projects/darwiin-remote/) to play with my Wii Remote. If I don’t do that (and don’t feel like dual-booting), I used Crossover Games (http://www.codeweavers.com/products/cxgames/) to play TF2.

    I mean, most big releases for the PC find their way to the Mac. I’m not sure if there are really any ‘hidden gems’, so to speak.

    I guess there’s something unique like Platypus (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_bywn0PiuA), but it wasn’t exclusive to the Mac. It’s probably the hardest ‘bullet hell’ shooter game I’ve ever played. Though, there’s a whole lot you need to know, before you even consider supporting the game. The creator (Anthony Flack) lost the rights to his own game, and now, a bunch of profiteers are trying to cash in (with the iPhone port, especially). Read: http://www.squashysoftware.com/makingplatypus.php

    Terribly depressing: the joys of indie game design.

    How exclusive does this list have to be? Mac-only? PPC games? Intel games? Universal Binary games? Games that can be emulated from pre-PPC days?

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