Wade-Memoir

Wade Clarke's memoir of growing up writing games for the Apple II

A lot of creative types bemoan the loss of things they made when they were young. Not me. I tried to keep everything. I had a too serious little creative soul and, already, some regard for everything I made.

Wade-Memoir is an ongoing game design and programming memoir about the games I wrote on my Apple II+ and Apple IIGS computers while I was growing up. I’ll be concentrating on my "prolific" period from ages 8 to 21. There are action games, adventure games, graphical games, text games, strategic games and totally random games. I made them primarily for myself, though in high school I did share some with friends, and these were met with positive response. None of my games were commercially published during the Apple II's heyday, or even non-commercially, so in the case of the majority of them, their appearance on this site will be their first public unveiling.

Not all of them are great, some are terrible, and too many went unfinished. Many are on here only because they're of technical value in demonstrating progress through 8-bit programming techniques. But going through them today, I can trace my development as a game-maker and programmer, and be reminded of what I took from the computer and arcade games I enjoyed as a kid.

Want to get to the games? To see the titles for a particular year, click the arrow beside that year in the menu. Click the year number itself to read my overview for that year.

Want to see my disk label art? I illustrated a lot of 5.25-inch floppy labels by hand when I was a kid. I've got scans of 30 of these on the site, plus my covers for boxes for Moebius and Ultima IV. These are all on the Disk Label Art page.

My thanks to David Finnigan who hosted this site on his a2hq domain until 2021.

In light of my slow progress on Wade-Memoir, I've uploaded my entire inventory of historical Apple II games, demos and bits and pieces — and music I made with Music Studio and The Electric Duet — to this site in the form of two archives called The Bus Files and The Bus Files Music. Their titles come from the idea that I at least need to get this stuff online before I get hit by a bus. I hope to write about some of these items in depth over time, but in the meantime... people can fiddle about in The Bus Files.

THE ORDER IN WHICH I’LL BE ADDING GAMES TO THIS SITE

While it would be most logical to upload my games in chronological order, that would be too boring for me (I'd be pining to jump to the exciting stuff) and perhaps also for readers, who might feel stuck amongst my kiddie material for too long. So I'm going to write about games in a semi-random order that I hope will keep all of us interested. In the end, they should sketch out my development path with the Apple II over the years that eventually leads to today.

Sometimes the gap between new additions to the site is only a week. At other times it's months or years. The important thing is that I just keep going.

PLAYING GAMES OFFLINE

Each game page includes the game’s disk image. You can download these and use them on an Apple II emulator or computer of your choice. Some good emulators are:

  • Virtual II (Commercial, Mac OS X — Emulates all Apple II models except the Apple IIGS)
  • AppleWin (Free, Windows — Emulates an Apple IIe)
  • Sweet16 (Free 32-bit app for Pre-Catalina Mac OS X — Emulates an Apple IIGS)

YOU USED TO BE ABLE TO PLAY SOME OF THESE GAMES IN YOUR WEB BROWSER WITH ACTIVEGS…

But you can't anymore. Sorry. I've removed all the ActiveGS code from the site because pretty much all major web browsers locked out that kind of plugin around 2016.

— Wade Clarke