1977 Greats #08 – STAR WARS

STAR WARS
Year:  1977
Platform:  APPLE II (Computer)
Developer:   Bob Bishop
Genre:   Space Shooter (1st person)

No 1977 era list would be complete without at least one reference to Star Wars!  The movie so big, it spanned galaxies and culture alike.  Everything from toys to television, video games to pop culture… nothing was outside the influence and excitement that Star Wars brought to the national scene.

When the APPLE II computer came out, it was well ahead of its time.  It offered hi-res graphics, sound, and video output as standard features.  The real genius was the expandability of the system, which helped continue its forward march as technology improved.  Expanded sound abilities, more RAM, and all types of peripheral add-ons kept the APPLE II relevant for many years to come.

BYTE-starwarsBut what really made the APPLE II a success (like almost all successful systems of the era) was its ability to play games!  Seriously.  People talked about productivity, balancing a checkbook (boring) and other “useful” applications, but what seems to have always sold systems is the whiz-bang nature of games.  It’s partly the fact that games have a tendency to push systems to the limit of their abilities, and Star Wars was just such a game.

Bob Bishop was the talented programmer who used the abilities of the new Apple II to create an engrossing computer game for its time.  Using the paddle-controllers that  initially shipped with the Apple II, Star Wars simulates a space shooting gallery where you attempt to down enemy tie fighters.  You have both lasers and torpedos at your disposal and for the enemy’s disposal.  The torpedos are easier, but take twice the energy to use.

Colorful graphics, sound effects that satisfy, and even the ability to achieve and advance through ranks.  This is the type of program that awe’d people in its day… when a home computer wasn’t a standard household item, and the doors were just being opened to the potential stored inside.

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