14/11/2015: 8-bit on 3.5" Disk Educational Titles Updates

If you've not come across the great work by 4am, cracker extraordinaire, then you've got a treat in store. The mysterious figure has spent at least the last 12 months procuring original copies of 8-bit Apple II, cracking them, then archiving them for all to enjoy...in most cases, for the first time ever even after all these years.

Additionally, the vast majority of 4am's conquests have been educational software, something I'm particularly pleased with as I hope to bond with my 1 year old daughter by playing these titles (when the time is right at varying stages of her cognitive development) on a real Apple II so she doesn't miss out on the same fairly meaningless experiences I had growing up. 8-bit stuff on its traditional media of 5.25" disk isn't within the regular scope of this site's goal, however, 4am recently came across some some 8-bit stuff on 3.5" disk, which included his/her cracks of Alge Blaster (original), Read 'n' Roll, Math Blaster Plus!, Math Blaster Mystery, Math and Me, Spell It Plus!, Word Attack Plus! Spanish and the never before archived (in either 3.5" or 5.25" disk format), orginal Word Attack (for which 4am has been generous in sharing them with this archive - just follow the previous links). These have been merged with existing archives (most of which were cracked by 'Logo', or as we better know him, Antoine Vignau) and this has yielded some newer and older versions of the programs not previously archived.

In other educational 8-bit on 3.5" disk news, I recently reviewed my DataFlow catalogues from 1992–93 and 94 and came across some interesting things. DataFlow was Australia's largest software distributor in the 1980s (and into the 90s) and it adds a lot of credence as to exactly which 8-bit 3.5" releases actually made it out to consumers (even Apple's own list doesn't seem entirely accurate), as they wouldn't have included titles that simply weren't available, especially by 1992, when there really wasn't much new Apple II software coming out by then.

As part of that, it looks like earlier Davidson titles, like the original Math Blaster and Spell It, were indeed available on 3.5" disk. So if anyone has those, be sure to image them and send them on to this site.

Another series of 8-bit educational software in the catalogue that caught my eye was the Explore-a-Story, Explore-a-Classic and Explore-a-Science series:

Explore-a-Story - Rosie, the Counting Rabbit, Explore-a-Story - The Bald Headed Chicken, Explore-a-Story - A Brand New ViewExplore-a-Story - Where Did My Toothbrush Go?

Explore-a-Classic - Princess & The Pea, Explore-a-Classic - Stone Soup, Explore-a-Classic - Three Little Pigs

and Explore-a-Science Dinosaur Construction Kit.

The reason these are particularly of interest is that they were (supposedly) released on 3.5" disk, they use double-hi-res graphics, and a mouse driven interface. The only examples of the Explore series that have been archived over the years are Explore Australia and Explore-a-Science Whales. And they're great. In Animal Watch - Whales, you can drag and drop a whales epidermal, muscular and skeletal layers – imagine doing this with Dinosaur Construction Kit! It's potentially one of the coolest pieces of software ever created for the Apple II! It NEEDS to be archived!

There are even MORE Explore-a-Story series that weren't listed in DataFlow's catalogues as being available on 3.5" disk, but would be very worth preserving despite only having been released on 5.25" disk: Explore-a-Story - The Sleepy Brown Cow, Explore-a-Story - Just Around the BlockExplore-a-Story - A Great Leap, Explore-a-Story - The Best Bubble Blower, Explore-a-Story - The Lima Bean Dream.

I've also compiled a quick list of other 8-bit educational titles released on 3.5" that were included in DataFlow's catalogues, which should prove they were released and worth pursuing creating images of them: Banner Books - On the Streets Where You Live

Banner Books - All Along the Alphabet - by Pelican Software

Banner Books - Hiking Though Habitats - by Pelican Software

Big Book Maker - Cute & Cuddly - by Pelican Software

Big Book Maker - Feeling Good About Yourself - by Pelican Software

Big Book Maker - Aussie Art - by Pelican Software

Alice in Wonderland & The Wizard of Oz - by Pelican Software

Beauty and the Beast / The Little Mermaid - by Pelican Software

Animals with Attitude - by Pelican Software

Dinosaur Days - by Pelican Software

Robin Hood / Peter Pan - by Pelican Software

Easy as ABC - Springboard Software

Early Games for Young Children - Springboard Software

Math Word Problems - Optimum Resource

2nd Math - by Stone & Associates

Logo Works: Lessons in Logo - by Terrapin Software

Kinderlogo - by Terrapin Software

Also, thanks to the Dataflow catalogues, I think I've discovered why some Unicorn Software releases (Phonics Fun, Fraction Action, Decimal Dungeon, Percentage Panic, Ghostly Grammar) have been impossible to find - it's because some or all were actually released for 8-bit Apple II models, and Fraction Action has been recently cracked by 4am. I'll keep an eye out for IIGS versions, but there's a good chance they were only ever released for the IIe and IIc.

Last but not least, I also discovered that the image I scanned for Word Attack Plus! Vocabulary was in fact for Word Attack Plus! itself! I thought it was a data disk! Always nice to know I had something in my collection under my very nose. So the entry for Word Attack Plus! Vocabulary has been removed, and the box scan I've had of that has been given to the Word Attack Plus! archive entry. I don't always miss the finer details! ;-)

So if you've got any of those titles, be sure to create disk images of them using the CFFA3000 (which incidentally a new batch is shipping), DiskCopy on a classic Mac with internal disk drive, or ADTPro and submit them to What is the Apple IIGS?

In other news, Edward Backstrom has written in to remind me that the Byteworks back catalogue of IIGS programing tools is now available much more conveniently through Juiced.GS magazine. If you visit any of the Byteworks archives under the Apps > Programming area, the links to download will now take you to the Opus ][ collection, which includes every Byteworks development tool ever released...and then some.

To wrap things up, Mitch Spector wrote in to supply some Music Construction Set tunes. In Mitch's words: "(This is a) Collection of Music Construction Set songs, 30 in total, including some unique and originally composed pieces. Arranged by Francois Labelle, from Montreal, Canada. Francois sent these to me back in 1992. From what I recall, he composed these in his early youth (only 12-14 years old?), when he belonged to a local computer club in Montreal. They had several different platforms, but the IIGS is what interested him, and that's what lead to these MCS pieces. And his eventual purchase of a GS. Mostly classical music pieces here, but extremely well done. Have a listen to some of the Beethoven pieces (Clair du Lune) and APO Le Theme is kinda cool, reminds me of stuff Miami software did....Space Shark theme. I'll try and dig up his Soundsmith music pieces, those were really awesome. He also started programming a MOD tracker and composer, which unfortunately was never finished. Still have it here in my archive. Think it was called "Track-It!".

The new MCS tracks can be found in the .zip archive on the disk image 'Music Construction Set Beatles & Einstein.2mg'.