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Microkids was a kids oriented magazine about computers. The content wasn’t bad but it only lasted a few issues. Too few kids with computers that could also obtain a magazine subscription led to poor circulation numbers I suspect. The premiere issue from December 1983 includes:
- Isaac Asimov on The Dawning of a New Era
- Computer Piracy, Hollywood Style – Is it a fantasy…or could it be real?
- Confessions of a Teenage Computer Whiz
- An Introduction to Graphics Magic
- The Vid Kid – News and views
- Mastering Super Pac-Man
- Rating the New Games for Christmas
- 10 Great Gift Ideas for Christmas
- How to Grow an Apple
- “Fame’s” Lee Curreri – King of the keyboards
- Meet Michael Hyman – A demon in 3-D
- Tune in Tomorrow…Today
- The Coleco Adam – Everything you need and more
- The Spectravideo SV-318 – A breed apart
- 3…2…1…Blast Off!
- Computers in Space – Getting out of our sphere
- Computers in Space – Flying solo on the Starship Enterprise
- TI Diary – A programming primer
Whereas computer games mostly stayed around the same price point (usually between $20 and $50) throughout the 8-bit era, application software varied much more. For instance, this word processor, The Write Stuff, for the Apple II is being advertised at $99. This was not atypical for word processing software in the early to mid 1980s and some application software cost much more. However, by the time the late 1980s rolled around, there was stuff like GEOS being given away for free with a hardware purchase and most common application software could be found significantly discounted. Games were still $20-$40 for the most part though.
As far as ‘The Write Stuff’ goes, I don’t know that much about it. This ad comes from the May 1984 issue of Microkids and is for the Apple II version but I know there was also a ‘The Write Stuff 64’ for the Commodore 64 and possibly other versions. It seems relatively hard to find much information about this particular software so I would venture to say it was not the most popular word processor. Having said that, there were tons of word processors available in 1984. These days word processing is mostly dominated by Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or a variation of OpenOffice or LibreOffice but in 1984 there were dozens of viable choices. Just don’t expect a lot of cross compatibility.
These days there isn’t much reason to use 8-bit word processing software. Some people like the look and feel and minimalism of some of the older apps (George Martin of Game of Thrones fame is known for using WordStar 4.0 on DOS). However, I would want at least 80-columns and something that is responsive with large-ish documents. Something the Commodore 64 and Apple II did not offer by default.