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


In 1984 I turned nine and was in the third grade, my first year of primary school. In 1987 I turned twelve and was in the sixth grade, my last year of primary school.

(A summary of the Australian public school system: You start off in infants school in the kindergarten year. Then you move through years 1-2, then you go up to primary school for years 3-6, and finally you go to high school for years 7-12.)

As early as 1985 it seems I was sticking dated copyright notices on the title pages of my games, which is obviously great now that I want to find out what year I made them. But I didn’t do this for all the old ones, so in a lot of cases, I can only go on my memory as to when I made certain games. Most of the uncertainly-dated games fall into the 1984-1987 bracket. There may even be some from 1983 or 1982, but there’s no way of verifying that. The DOS 3.3 file system on the Apple II did not store any date information with files. Something that does help me date certain games is that some of my old 5.25 inch floppies boot up with a message left by my dad in their HELLO program which states the date they were initialised.

As I continue to add to this site, some of these years will get their own pages. But for now, it’s a big vague area into which I can toss games whose date I can’t nail down. I’ll start off by presenting the first text adventure game (with a parser) that I wrote. I have to add the “parser” qualification for today’s audience, but in the mid 1980s, the term “adventure game” most often connoted a text adventure game with a parser, which may or may not have had graphics as well.