Good afternoon to everyone out there! As the weekend approaches, chances are you might be looking for something fun to do! If you’re the beach going, adventure seeking type, you can of course “go out and play”. If you are the traveling type, you might even be on your way to Nerdapalooza in Orlando! (Just like some of us on our staff!) But what if you are more of the “lazy Sunday afternoon” type, and prefer staying at home with the A/C blasting in your hair? Well, I wanted to take a chance to share with you all a website that I have been visiting for MANY years. If you were like me, programming on an Apple ][ system, it’s something to be appreciated.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, “Virtual Apple ][“! This website has been online for nearly 10 years, and since I started using it many years ago, has just continued to grow and grow. Virtual Apple ][ is a site devoted to the preservation and online access to DOZENS and DOZENS of game programs for the Apple ][ series, from the original Apple ][ all the way to the Apple IIGS. This site has so many programs, you can literally waste your entire day trying them out! Whether you have fond memories of “computer class” in elementary school, playing the original MECC games like “Oregon Trail” and “Number Munchers”, or if you were into the Atarisoft library of games like “Pac Man” or “Gremlins”, or if even if you liked the adventure games like “Questron” or “Below The Root”. Heck, even if you want to play the original “Deja Vu” (and it’s sequel!) They are all here.

You can play the games three different ways. Either online through your browser, or you can download them for play on your favorite Apple ][ emulator. (Or better yet, turn them into actual Apple diskettes! More on that in a minute.) When you play on a modern emulator or through the web browser of your choice, you’ll be able to adjust the speed of the system. (Barely any loading times, just change the speed to an appropriate one when you start to play!) For games that used paddles, a joystick, or a mouse for input, the online version allows them all to be used for the most realistic experience. You can also tell the system if you would like to play the games in true old school green and black, or if you want the great color that the Apple IIGS was capable of. No matter how you grew up playing the games, you can simulate the experience beautifully!

But, if you are like me, and prefer to play the games on an actual system, this is where the site truly shines. If you have an actual Apple ][ system of any kind, you can download the actual diskette images to your computer, and using a program like ADTpro (Apple Disk Transfer), you can make physical diskettes for instant play on the real stuff! This process will require the computer you are on now, along with an Apple ][ computer, and a serial modem cable that you can connect the two computers together with. Have the modern system enter a BASIC program into the Apple system, and you’ll have everything you need to get started! My first computer ever was an Apple ][+ with 48k of RAM and I love the series so much that I currently have a pimped out Apple IIGS, so these downloads give my beloved machine all kinds of new life!

I do need to mention for legal purposes, that by downloading the disk images, either for use of emulation or to make actual disk images, is of course subject to copyright issues. According to the website, all of the games available are either freeware, shareware, abandonware, or public domain. Some of the programs have copyrights that have expired, but there is always a chance that some of them may still have the original copyrights still active, but with how careful the site has been over the many years of experience I have with them, I know that is not an issue. Still, it would be best if you at one point owned the original programs before making physical copies of the games for yourself. In a world of piracy all over the place, I just want to make that perfectly clear.

Update! Last night I received a very nice email from the webmaster of the site. On the topic of what I said above, he actually had a very interesting piece of insight! He asked me to mention to you all, that many of the games available for play and download were actually donated by the original programmers! I personally feel that is a fantastic thing, to keep their hours and hours of hard work alive! Thanks so much for the kind words!

But enough of that! Let’s start playing! I know when I play Oregon Trail, and die of dysentery, and get asked what I want written at my grave site, I for one will be proud to say, “I want pepperoni and cheese on my tombstone!” Virtual Apple: Almost every Apple ][ and Apple IIGS game ever made, ready to play in your browser!

Virtual Apple ][: http://www.virtualapple.org

ADTpro: http://adtpro.sourceforge.net