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Apple II

Released 10 June 1977 by Apple
Gaming platform
Apple II - picture
The Apple II was a line of computers with its first model, the eponymous Apple II starting a line that became one of the first mass-produced microcomputers to be widely successful. Over the course of its history, over six million units were sold, including a million in 1983 alone. Apple heavily promoted the Apple II line as an educational computer and it quickly replaced the Commodore PET as the most widely used classroom computer in the United States. Even after the release of the Macintosh, the Apple II line was the major profit maker for Apple into the mid-1980s.

More than any other piece of hardware from Apple, the Apple II was a product of Apple's founders, the 'Two Steves,' with Steve Wozniak supplying the innovative internal design for the computer and Steve Jobs coordinating the design of its case which featured an integrated keyboard. Internally the Apple II was built on a 8-bit MOS 6502, for which Wozniak engineered a motherboard designed to eek out as much performance as possible. In its original incarnation, the Apple II offered a 40 column text screen and a high resolution 280x192 six color graphics mode. Due to the idiosyncrasies of the color video implementation which were closely correlated to the NTSC standard, PAL and SECAM Apple II computers only displayed black and white until the introduction of the Apple IIe in 1983. To help support introduction as a home computer, the Apple II could be connected to a standard television for its display. The sound system on the Apple II was relatively simple, although highly modifiable so while designed on a relatively simple toggle system for clicks could be massaged into producing multi-channel (albeit mono) sound. Wozniak's design also included eight expansion slots which led to a bevy of third party sound and video adapters, predating the support of third party hardware that would define IBM PC hardware model.

Following the original Apple II, the Apple II Plus was introduced in 1981 which featured AppleSoft BASIC replacing Wozniak's own integer BASIC in the ROM as the default mode. The Apple II Plus was the first model available in UK, Europe and Japan. 1983 saw the debut of the Apple IIe which had additional refinements, including the addition of a built-in lowercase character set and the ability (with a memory upgrade) to display 80 columns. 1984 saw the Apple IIc which offered a even smaller design, and was marketed as being 'portable' despite needing to be connected to a power main and an external display. It also featured an internal 5.25" floppy drive, that Apple would replace that in 1988 with the IIc Plus which had a 3.5" drive and a faster variant of the 6502. Apple's last model in the line was the Apple IIe Card which was actually an expansion card for the Macintosh that offered Apple II compatibility and its discontinuation in 1993 meant the end of the 16 year run of the Apple II.

Over the course of the Apple II series, the dominant format for media progressed from cassette tapes with the earlier models, to 5.25" floppies and 3.5" floppies at the end of its life. Care should be taken in noting the correct media when adding game titles to the database. While almost fully backwards compatible with the Apple II, the similarly named 16-bit Apple IIGS is a separate platform, and titles exclusive to that system should be listed there.
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