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Retro Gaming Hacks by Chris Kohler

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Run the Apple ][

Get your old system up and running again.

There are old Apple ][ systems, from the original Apple ][ to the last Apple IIgs ROM 3, lurking in attics, closets, basements, and the occasional store all over the world. I kept my old Franklin Ace 1000 (an Apple ][+ clone) in my parents’ attic for a decade or so, and found the hardware worked just fine when I turned it on. I’ve since acquired an Apple //e and two IIgs computers, and an Apple IIe card for a Macintosh LC. There’s lots of Apple ][ stuff out there, though Apple discontinued the IIgs in 1991, and the IIe emulator card in 1993. Searching on eBay today brings up 212 items for the string “Apple II”. (“Apple ][ doesn’t work well as an eBay search string, as the ][ seems to get ignored.)

Tip

Apple changed its mind repeatedly about how to spell “2.” They went from ][ and ][+ to //e and //c, then to the IIgs and the IIe compatibility card. I’ve tried to keep them all straight, but it’s a strange challenge.

Making an Apple ][ system work requires a few key ingredients: an Apple ][ (or compatible) of some kind, a disk drive that works with that computer (unless you have a model that supports tape cassettes and have a lot of patience), a monitor (a TV is fine), and some functioning floppy disks. Sadly, disks can demagnetize over time, and I discovered to my sorrow that many of my more than one hundred old disks no longer worked. The ingredients you need vary slightly by computer:

Apple ][, ][+, //e, Franklin Ace, or similar ...

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