20/11/2013: Educational Software Updates Via California

Welcome to the first of some fairly hefty content updates - this edition focusing on Educational software.

In September I made a trip to California to take up Tony Diaz's offer from the End of Year Open Apple Podcast Wrap Up from 2011 - to help sort his collection.

And that we did...finding a multitude of things not previously archived:

Reading Magic - Flodd the Bad Guy. I always enjoyed Reading Magic Jack and the Beanstalk, and was very happy to come across Flodd the Bad Guy, the other title in this series, released for the IIGS...officially too, as I found an original disk, because apart from that, there's been next to no information that it was ever released for the IIGS.

AstronomerGS - not a commercial program, but a 7 disk shareware epic that requires some files be on the boot volume, so you're best left to install this yourselves than for me to include on one of the 32meg volumes found on the home page.

Base Ten Blocks Demo - nothing much more than a random curio, the Base10 Demo seems to be an educational proof of concept with multiple games attached. This demo only includes one working module. I don't know if the developer, Mike Gralish, ever got this concept any further.

Alas, I didn't find anything more that was IIGS specific. Such is the way with educational software - as I've said before it is definitely the hardest category to archive, unfortunately, because I don't think it was ever ‘cool' to crack and collect. It's ironic given the major reason the Apple II was still around as late as it was due to the education sector. But there's a little more IIGS goodness coming – more on that later.

But, that leaves a lot more content for my other educational priority - 8-bit Apple II software on 3.5" disk. Here are the new inclusions:

Word Attack Plus! Spanish (I've been wanting to get my hands on educational warez for learning other languages. Comes with a scan of the box too! Thanks to Antoine for removing the protection!)

Electric Crayon (the archive held a good collection of pictures for kids to colour in before, but it's now even bigger (possibly even complete) and is still on a single 3.5" disk - only for IIGS users though, sadly)

Story Starters Social Studies (another in the series by Pelican Software for youngsters to create scenes to themes)

Cross Country USA (a game that'll teach U.S. geography)

Sensible Spelling

Sensible Grammar

Report Card

Monsters & Make Believe... now in Spanish, as well as English!

Stickybear Town Builder (who needs SimCity GS?), and other Optimum Resource / Weekly Reader Software non-Stickybear titles: Map Skills, Punctuation Rules, Sentence FunSpelling Rules.

As usual, however, I've discovered there are still more releases in this series to make it complete in regards to disk images: Reading Comprehension, Math Word ProblemsVocabulary Development (for which we've now got box scans at least) and Car Builder. Incidentally, I didn't know Stickybear software was still being made and sold. Did you?

Which also leads onto a couple more rare titles on 3.5" that would be worth having: Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego? are available on 3.5" disk in their 8-bit form, as seen in later Broderbund catalogues.

Now, back to the IIGS specific stuff. I did find another copy of Inner Body Works at Tony's - imaged it, hoping this copy would work, but alas, another dud. Or was it? Although I thought I had already tested it on a real IIGS, turns out the program simply refuses to run either under Sweet 16, Bernie ][ the Rescue or KEGS/ActiveGS/GSPort, citing a ProDOS error occurred; perhaps that wasn't the only problem. The program would also hang entering either the tour or game segments, even though the second disk was already mounted. Oddly, I found, that if you actually don't have the 2nd disk mounted, a dialogue will appear asking you to insert it, after which, the game seems to work. Following the hard drive install options that Club 96 includes on disk, after doing that, it works from a hard drive. At least the Junior Edition does. But the only difference I've found between Junior and Senior editions is that the silhouette graphic of the body you're exploring the innards of changes. No big deal.

So, we do have a working copy of Inner Body Works now, preinstalled on the ‘Science, Social Studies, Kids Creative, Computer Skills' 32 meg volume, as well as individual disk images.

Also, I recently found to my chagrin that Math Blaster Plus! IIGS wouldn't work from its 32 meg image (Reading, Writing and Mathematics) I went back to the hard drive installer program on the original disk and tried again...it crashed every time you tried to install to a volume other than the boot - how annoying. So I temporarily copied over a System folder to the Reading, Writing and Mathematics volume, booted from that, and ran the installer again. It worked...for the most part. You can now launch and play the game but when you go to quit, the IIGS crashes with a weird memory trash error...even though if you play it from the 3.5" floppy, it doesn't do this. Sigh. The things I do to try to make things nicer from larger ProDOS volumes for you people...

Also as part of my own collection, Reading and Me (8-bit), the 8-bit version on 3.5" disk – Antoine's cracked that one too :-)

Well, that about wraps it up for the time being. I'll be making more updates available in the hardware, games and applications field after my time in California, so stay tuned.