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  • VersaWriter (Apple II)

    Source: Micro – Issue Number 64 – October 1983

    VersaWriter is a drawing tool that was released for the Apple II and other computers sometime in 1983. It consists of software and a tablet with an articulating arm to aid in drawing or tracing. All of this could have been yours for the low price of $299. Accounting for inflation, that would be more than $770 today.

    The software that went along with VersaWriter was fairly sophisticated despite being written (mostly?) in BASIC. You could use this for art, drafting type drawing, diagrams and tracing other things easily. Unfortunately, the very high price of this product meant that few could afford it. As far as artistic uses, there were other far cheaper products that worked just as well and if you were doing professional drafting or something similar I would imagine there were better prodcuts for that as well. In other words, the market for this product was probably very small.

    Although this ad emphasizes the Apple II, it also mentions availability for the Atari 8-bit and DOS based PCs. I’m not sure if there are any price differences but if there were it was likely a higher PC price. The ad also mentions additional software products other than what comes with the tablet that adds additional functionality. There are three Expansion Packs mentioned, the last of which adds animation capabilities. However, I don’t know if these were all released.

    There isn’t much use for this product today except as a historical curiosity. I imagine that this item complete with software and hardware is probably quite rare so it may be of interest to collectors. The above ad is from the October 1983 issue of Micro: The 6502 Journal.

  • Run For It (Apple II, Atari)

    Source: enter – Issue Number 14 – January/February 1985 – – Run For It (Apple II, Atari)

    Run For It seems to be one of those rare games that was released for the Apple II and Atari 8-bit computers but not the Commodore 64. At least that seemed pretty rare by 1985 when this game was released. In this game you control a robot as he progresses upwards through a maze. This game is a fixed/flip screen game which was a popular genre before side-scrolling platformers took over the world. In this type of game, all game play takes place on a single screen at a time. You must overcome enemies and obstacles in order to reach the exit, wherever on the screen that may be. In the case of this game the exit would be near the top of each screen. Simply progressing through a maze isn’t challenging enough so you have a timer and enemies to destroy or avoid. Your robot has a gun to aid in that task. Time can be increased by collecting tokens or will be decreased when you contact enemies. Your goal is to reach the top of the building before time runs out.

    This is an okay game if you like this sort of thing but it’s nothing exceptional. Like the side-scrolling platformers that came later there were just so many games of this type that it is hard to stand-out. It won’t be terribly easy to find an original copy of this one either as this wasn’t exactly a game that took the world by storm. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to play via emulation.

    The ad above is from the January/February 1985 issue of Enter magazine. The screen shots are from the Atari 8-bit version of the game.