18 Jul 2012 The Apple II Was About Games
 |  Category: General

KansasFest 2012 Report:

In John Romero’s keynote speech at KansasFest this year, he pointed out the significant contribution to gaming that has been made by programmers over the years. It “forged the future”, by teaching these pioneers how to write tight, fast code that worked well on the Apple II, but also laid the foundation for the work they did later on game consoles like the Nintendo, and even games of today that are played on Facebook.

  • Akalabeth (1980) set the foundation for Ultima and even World of Warcraft
  • Dungeons of Despair (circa 1981, limited release) preceded Wizardry (1981), created the RPG genre on computers
  • Beneath Apple Manor (1978) was a predecessor to Rogue, but Rogue worked much like the older game, and set up that genre, and even set up the basics for Minecraft today.
  • Castle Wolfenstein (1981) led to Wolfenstein 3D, one of the earliest examples of a first-person shooter. Castle Wolfenstein also was the original stealth game, of trying to get through an enemy-infested area without being caught (not necessarily shooting everything in sight).
  • Bilestoad (1982) inspired games like Mortal Kombat, the one-on-one fighting games.
  • Oregon Trail (1978, though origins earlier) let to Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego? and many other educational games.
  • Wasteland (1988) led to many other post-apocolyptic games, including Fallout

He discussed the process in creating Wolfenstein 3D, then Doom, then Quake, which themselves have spawned other similar shooters over the years.

Despite his later work on other platforms, Romero stated that his origins of programming on the Apple II have defined his career.

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3 Responses

  1. 1
    Xyzzy July 19th, 2012 at 4:45 am

    I wonder where Romero was getting his info — according to Wikipedia & Mobygames:

    1979/1980: Akalabeth (Ultima 0) and unrelated RPGs
    June 1981: Ultima 1
    September 1981: Wizardry 1

    I wonder how many people with creative careers (writing, programming, art, music, etc.) were originally inspired by the games they played on the Apple II series or other systems in the 70s/80s…

  2. 2
    John Romero July 21st, 2012 at 4:01 am

    The writer misinterpreted what I said. Obviously Akalabeth set the stage for Ultima and Dungeons of Despair set the stage for Wizardry. They were both inspired by D&D, not each other.

  3. 3
    Steven July 21st, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    John, I have corrected my original post. Thank you!

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