About some Apple II educational "games".

Primarily directed at Zerothis, because of the many Apple II educational game entries that were added lately. I checked some of them in an emulator because the titles sounded suspiciously non-game-like. And I would say that a good number of them are pure education/information programs that I would not call edu"tainment". Sometimes there is a training for a lesson. Maybe the training could be considered game-like but often its not much of a game and feels like doing homework. Some other titles like all the "North Dakota..." titles seem to be pure informational databases. I see nothing interactive there nor elements that are supposed to entertain in these titles. So I just wanted to say that if I should ever consider a big Apple II screenshot project and I stumble upon those entries (after having them started and tried to play via emulator) I suppose that I could hardly resist deleting them.

Agreed; many are like homework. I'm sorry you found absolutely no entertainment value in homework; school must have really sucked for you. For me, each homework problem was a puzzle that was satisfying to solve. Repetitive, sure. Certainly Mario and Zelda were more entertaining. But is a homework paper all that different from a page from a printed puzzle book? Homework has the interactive element of score or completion. Also, achievements'. Additionally, there is a tenancy for ARG elements. Most if not all MECC educational title included real-world activities in the games materials meant to be performed in conjuncture with the computer element in a school environment and/or home use with parental participation. Many of these titles had a "show the teacher" screen or wrote to a file to be reviewed by a teacher (score, completion, achievement). Note, many of the online collections, and well, physical media collections too, lack a copy of the 'teacher's disk' and/or printed materials that together form the full game experience. Judging a title by running the program from just one of the 'student' disks does not offer a fair assessment. One person, alone, running one disk under emulation on a modern computer does not provide the same experience as the original (this is true for *any* game)

Perhaps you are requesting a strict 'educational' gametype? A number of education oriented platforms at UVL already had 'homework' style titles and you've not deleted them when adding your screenshot.

I've skipped many titles that are strictly utilitarian display of information. Yes, I've entered training software. Educational titles for such subjects as motorcycle operation, improving sales, database theory. Homework style activities, but not simple display of information. Are they not valid simply for not targeting children, or focusing on subjects that are not considered fun? Just a reminder, many, including from the target audience, would classify a great many subjects as 'not fun' (math, history, language, computer circuitry). I admit I didn't playthrough all of them. Perhaps I did add a few in error, they should be deleted if found to be only utilities. But, I maintain that this cannot be determined simply by running it in a emulator.

2021-12-23 (updated 2021-12-24)
So... What is a video game?

Is Microsoft Excel a video game? I know people that really like it, but it isn't.
Is Photoshop a video game? I enjoy using it, to discover new functions, new tricks, to improve my skills, but I don't consider it a video game.
Because they are not meant to.

Many software are getting gamification to make them more enjoyable, but they do not become games, they are just software with some game mechanics.

Is UVL a video game? I think we find entertaining adding data to a database, filling the gaps, get entries "complete", but it really isn't.
What if you get one point for each game edit? Is it a game now?

We should try to define where is the limit for a software to be considered a game, and this is clearly not an easy task.

Excel, Photoshop; No. But add score, compleatuon, and/or axhievements then maybe.

(dont mention this to Microsoft)

2021-12-24 (updated 2021-12-24)
For me its hard to define the line between can be considered a game or not. And it seems we have different definitions of it. Elements like "scores" hint for being edutainment or at least there is one mode in the software that is gamelike. Then there is the way the whole stuff is presented. Take Typing tutor software for example. For me its important that it not only explains how to type fast but to have at least one mode that functions like a game or challenge to type as fast as possible. I would not consider a "learn a language software" to be valid for a game entry only because it features a vocabulary test at the end of each chapter. As most of you know I am going through reviews in old magazines right now. Sometimes they have an education section with reviews. Sometimes I add these titles to UVL, sometimes I don't. On a case by case basis.

The fact that I did not delete some entries in the past, that would disqualify under my own game definitions does not mean much. The number of such entries was so low that it did not bother me very much. Seeing the latest batch of very technical sounding titles made me check out a few of them though. If the "North Dakota abc" titles had at least some sort of quiz function I likely wouldn't have started the forum post (or I was blind and did not find the challenge/trivia section in it). And I want to bring this topic to discussion before the floodgates are opened, because there are literally thousands educational software titles for the Apple II alone.

BTW: School was mostly great. Homework sucked.... always.

I need to see them... I'm not going to time-travel to really experience the software, so I'll stick to an emulator.

I downloaded a random one, AppleWin and chose a random software from the UVL list, Algebra Tutor, but I couldn't get after the loading screen, as it asks to "flip the disk". (I had both disk installed, and clicked the "swap" disks, but no success)
I managed to run the 2 disks PoP, so the emulator is working IMHO.

Will try again in the next days.



This is the furthest away from being a game (or I fail to see the game-like option somewhere inside the menu structur). If this gets defined as being a valid UVL game entry we can safely say that tutoring/training software with more or less interactive lessons are valid entries as well.

And what does it say in the manual?

I cannot find the manual. What does it say indeed?

If there is something in the manual that says you can use the data to build your own quiz with it and thats what the game element is, then this is the kind of information that needs to be in the description.

But in this case the game would be played entirely with paper and pencil ...
Nowadays we would substitute it with Wikipedia to make such quizzes, and wouldn't be considered video games.

We're the Universal Videogame List. :P
If you use a crossword tool software to create a game. That doesn't make the software a game =)

If they aren't games then delete them. But this cannot be fully determined only by the downloaded portion of a game that was never intended to be downloaded. The vast majority of these games were specifically designed to prevent digital transfer. Games of this era and especially Apple II games, did not have publishers adding DRM to them. The game creators would create their own copy prevention (though sometimes a publisher would stack their own DRM on top of the developer's DRM). Downloading was specifically not intended by the game's creators. These days we have games that are filly a downloaded experience. These are a minority in the history of gaming even if one also considers early games created for timeshare platforms.

Are we adding entries based only on the hacked, pirated, trainer versions, of games? Or are we, as much as reasonably possible, basing our entries on the original author's work?

All the games for the first home game console every released, did not keep score on the screen nor in memory. One might say the majority portion of the graphics, were a screen overlay. But physical cardboard, paper, and tokens were a larger portion of the game than the screen graphics and overlay. The program was such a small portion of the game that the genre of some game cartridges could be, in fact was intended to be, changed without altering the programming. Thes games shipped with papers and pencils.

As late as the NES era, manuals came with intentionally blank pages for the player to make maps and such.

I don't think we should ignore most of what the game shipped with.

2021-12-26 (updated 2021-12-26)

I don't think we should ignore most of what the game shipped with.

I fully agree with this. But as long as there is only a cracked version and there is no robust evidence that the cracked version misses out a (game) feature we must assume there is no such feature.

The biggest trouble I have with cracks are altered title screens. I 99,9% refrain from uploading title screens that have a "cracked by team x" in the title. But I have never encountered something that cuts away the core game mode.

The program was such a small portion of the game that the genre of some game cartridges could be, in fact was intended to be, changed without altering the programming. Thes games shipped with papers and pencils.

I also agree.
I entered such games myself. I remember this game here which was reviewed normally in the games section in gaming magazines of its time and which was advertized as being a computer game:
You cannot play this game without the board. Downloading and running this game in an emulator is useless. Thats why I wrote it in the descpription that this is not playable without the accompanied board/cards that were shipped with the game.

We're the Universal Videogame List. :P
If you use a crossword tool software to create a game. That doesn't make the software a game =)

If its a tool to create crosswords on paper its not a game. If its a tool to create and play it on the screen I consider it a valid game entry if it comes with at least one pre-shipped playable demo-crosswords puzzle. Thats where I normally draw the line between its IN or OUT of UVL. Often these "Crosswords Maker" tools contain such a playable crosswords puzzle. So I don't find such titles entered by other persons suspicious of maybe being not valid.

Just "tested" the newly added Math Sequences: Percents with this online emulator

Enter DRILL as user name to go on (or ctrl-I for the teacher admin page)
It asks math questions, and you have to reply.
If this is really a game, it could barely be related to a trivia game (but it's not).

At least, let's try to set the gametype appropriately, not "adventure" as it's now. I'm not going to test all the thousands of them BTW.

Also a group should be made to define this kind of things (as long as they are considered games)

If this is really a game, it could barely be related to a trivia game (but it's not).

Its "educational" without the "entertainment" part. So not edutainment. Regardless whether you find it entertaining for yourself to use the program or not. The program has to aim for being entertaining in some form or another mostly by using gamelike elements. And this is much more often the case with children's educational software.

For the moment I am not concentrating on doing Apple II updates so I am not likely to go through them in the near future. If I ever should decide to do a major screenshot update for all existing Apple II games in UVL its fine for me that Zerothis wrote that we can delete them if we consider them to be too far away from being "entertaining software" (after personally checking it out by running the game of course -- which tends to be the case when making screenshots anyway).