A Return to Wasteland

It was over 24 years ago that I bought my original copy of Wasteland.

I was actually working on a postnuke RPG of my own (mostly dreaming about it would be more accurate) for the Apple II when I found out that Wasteland was being published. I was a teenager at the time and so I was a little disappointed I didn’t finish my game first but that didn’t prevent me from being excited about Wasteland coming out soon.

Back then there weren’t a lot of computer stores around and I ended up going with a friend of mine to a computer show at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds and found a copy sitting on a vendor’s table there.  In fact, when I was going through my original Wasteland stuff I found the receipt tucked into the box: 1:05 PM 3/26/1988.  Offhand I’m not sure what the exact publishing date was for Wasteland but I don’t think it had been out too long at that point.

I spent the next few months playing it.  And while I have started replays a few times over the years I’ve never finished it since the first time I played it back then.

Now is the time.  Or, it was back on the 20th anniversary of my original purchase, 3/26/2008.  Well, that was the intention.

I was going to just replay it on my original Apple II+ that I still have, but then I got to thinking, it would be cool to archive the play somehow.  And not just excerpts, but the ENTIRE game.  From the first boot, to creating the player disks with the in game utility (yes I really did record 15 minutes of disk copying), to the end. To make them more watchable (bearable?) the movies are greatly sped up, so an hour of play might take 5 minutes to watch.

I ended up emailing the author of Virtual ][, probably the best Apple II emulator for Mac OS X.  I ended up convincing him to add some new features, including a memory dump one. I’ll go into more detail as to how and why I’m doing it this way another time, but basically I dump the hires screen memory to files periodically.  I generate images from these and then movies from those.   I played several play sessions and generated a couple test movies.

And then real life intervened.  I just didn’t have time to play games as much as I used to, especially not like back when Wasteland came out, when I could spend the entire summer playing it.

I remember more than once I just left my Apple II on when I was too exhausted to continue in the middle of the night.  I’d turn the monitor off, jump into bed, and fall asleep.  In the morning I’d wake up, flip my Amdek monitor back on and continue playing right from where I left off.  The heat of the day would be stifling at times which fit well with Wasteland.  As there was no in game music, I’d commonly blare New Order’s album Substance while playing.  To this day I am reminded of Darwin Village when listening to Bizarre Love Triangle.

So every once in a while I’d intend to go back to my 2008 replay and continue but it just never happened.  Then, I got an IM from another friend saying that I probably already knew but did I know that wasteland 2 might become a kickstarter project? Um, NO I hadn’t heard.  But I jumped to my regular postnuke news source NMA and sure enough there was a post about it!

I spent quite a while following the wasteland 2 board and the kickstarter and getting more and more excited as I realized wasteland 2 — a REAL wasteland 2 with a full party, turn based combat, and an open ended world to explore — might actually happen.  It wasn’t long before I started digging through my drive looking for my directories full of wasteland screen dumps to see how far in I’d gotten and prepare to continue.

I had intended to get this site up a month ago and to start replaying then.  Well, again things have gone slower than I’d have liked but when I realized the kickstarter was ending in just a couple days I decided I had to at least get it up before then.

As of now it’ll be over in about 30 hours.  At $2.6M, they are well over their initial $900K funding goal.  But any additional amount will just make the game better.  They’ve promised a modkit at $3M.

I will be endeavoring to post my replay and commentary of the original Apple II Wasteland game here. At the same time I’ll follow and comment on Wasteland 2 development also.


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