The Greatest Computer Games of All Time (Apple 2 Edition)

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I will always have a deep and abiding love for Sir-Tech's Wizardry games. I appreciated how gritty and unforgiving the gameplay could be, and how rich the (mostly text-based) story was. I started playing Wizardry I and II on NES, and then picked up Wizardry V in college after it was released on SNES.

I never really was into the Wizardry series after the first three (Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord, Knight of Diamonds, and, um, something with L?). I vaguely remember 4, but by that time, I had moved on to the Bard's Tale and Might and Magic.

My first love was always the Ultima series; I-IV will always be the formative games for me.

log in or register to remove this ad

My Apple II game memories are probably mostly to do with educational games, so I immediately think of Oregon Trail and Carmen San Diego. Also Word Munchers, various typing games


We had an Apple II (iirc) when I was a kid, though my memories are fuzzy. I just vaguely remember playing a sort of graphic adventure (mostly static images) where you had to type what you wanted to do (go left, pick up xxx, use yyy, etc) , which wasn't very easy for a kid with only a rudimentary knowledge of the English language at that time.
I remember the game started out in the appartement of a guy and you ended up in an alien spaceship (and/or a submarine?) and the logo had some sort of lightning bolt.
God I wish I could remember what the name of that game was. Sigh


Morkus from Orkus

It's been a minute .... That's right, it's time for another in the occasional series of Snarf Lays Down the Law by Presenting an Inarguable List of Greatest Things That People Will Argue With Anyway!

You might be thinking to yourself, "Self, why should I care about this list? Apple II? What is that, anyway? Is that, like, a pre-Mac?" Well, the answer to that is ... you don't have to care. I'm not the Boss of You. YET. But when I am .... MUAHAHAHAHAHA .... you'll wish you read this list. Anyway, I'm a little out of practice, but if I recall correctly, I usually post some sort of rules here.


A. This is a list of games for the Apple II (Apple 2). Not the IBM PC. Not the Atari. Not the Commodore 64. Not the Apple IIgs. Not the Mac. Do I mean the Apple II, II+, IIc, or IIe? Yes. Yes I do.

B. By that, I mean that if the game was originally for the IBM PC, it is considered a PC game, not an Apple II game. Not eligible. But many, if not most, of these games were released on multiple platforms and that's fine.

C. I had to have played it. If a game was super awesome but I never experienced it, it just wasn't that awesome, was it?

D. When it was released counts. The heyday of the Apple II was from 1977 until the beginning of 1987 (approximately the release of the Apple IIgs). So while there were come great game released for the platform after that, I am only considering games released in the years 1978 - 1986 (inclusive). I will give a bonus to games released earlier as being "groundbreaking."

E. The list is not in order- this is just the top 10, and being #1 is not more important than being #10.

1. Karateka (1984). Words cannot explain how game-changing Karateka was for the time. This was the first game on the home computer to marry fluid animation and good (if simple) combat. Most importantly, it told a story in its game. Anyone who played it remembers it- and, like many, you likely remember what happened the first time you finally triumphed and approached the princess. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! What?

2. Beyond Castle Wolfenstein (1984). Before games went FPS, there was this gem of a game that invited you to try to win through stealth.

3. Wizardry (1981). Was Bard's Tale better? Sure. Was Might & Magic more fun? Indubitably. But Wizardry was first. It was the proof of a concept that people keep returning to- What if D&D, but on a computer?

4. Star Blazer (1981). Like Wizardry, this game pioneered a format that would be re-used and improved upon in the next few years. Choplifter might have been a better execution (and I do mean execution ... you know what happens when the hostages meet the rotors), but Star Blazer burned the trail.

5. Trinity (1986). Okay, this is a bit of a cheat. A style of game that had its greatest moments back then was the text-based adventure game, aka the Infocom game. I could have picked anything from Zork to Planetfall to Mind Forever Voyaging to Hickhicker's Guide, but I'll go with Trinity as representative of the best in the genre.

6. Aztec (1982). A stunningly original, and mostly forgotten game, from the time, it pushed the Apple 2 to the limits, and often past it, resulting in the occasional maddening glitch along with the exciting gameplay.

7. Taipan! (1982). Hey kids, do you like capitalism? Do you enjoy learning about basic economics while also absorbing some less savory lessons (.... opium always trades well, right)? A game that was both enthralling and, in retrospect, had some elements that might not be considered so savory today, it was still remarkable at the time.

8. The Bilestoad (1982). When anyone tries to sell you the ol', "Things are so much more violent today," just remember that people used to play a game where victory was achieved by chopping off the limbs of your opponent. You know, for kids!

9. Ultima I (1981). Did I like Ultima II better because time travel and humor? Do you know me ... of course I liked it better! Was Ultima III, with multiple characters, a massively better game and evolution? Yep. Is Ultima IV generally considered the best of the early games? Uh huh. But there wouldn't be any of them without Ultima I, and its success. (But Ultima II will always be tops in my heart)

10. Autoduel (1985). Fight me.

Honorable Mentions-
Archon. I LOVED this game. But it was a port from the Atari 8 bit computers.
Lode Runner. Everyone else loved it. I ... thought it was fine. Whatever.
King's Quest. Really, any of the Sierra On-Line games. I was always really meh about these.
Winter Games. Originally a C64 game.
Wasteland. 1988.
Mahalito! I also liked Elite and Zork when I played them on my Apple IIe. I don't know if those two games were Apple games or came from elsewhere, though.

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
This is a very good list. I'd just add Swashbuckler (a proto-Aztec by the same designers, I think), Pinball Construction Kit and Sundog (a true classic and the best Traveller game that unofficially ever was).

I also loved the Scott Adams (different Scott Adams) text adventure games, especially Adventureland and Pirate Adventure.

My Apple II game memories are probably mostly to do with educational games, so I immediately think of Oregon Trail and Carmen San Diego. Also Word Munchers, various typing games
Same here. I think there's probably a substantial cohort of people whose only Apple II experience was in a school computer lab.

So yeah, Carmen Sandiego and Oregon Trail are both top tier from my perspective. They're what we were allowed to play when we finished the requisite amount of Mavis Beacon.


Tell me you know about 401(k)s, reverse mortgages, and you watch a lot of History Channel without actually telling me you're old.

Remove ads


Remove ads

Upcoming Releases