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Apple Pippin (1996) (wikipedia.org)
68 points by org3432 on March 31, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 29 comments

> Once Bandai licensed Pippin from Apple, Apple made no effort to market the Pippin platform. All the marketing was to be done by the licensees. Bandai spent US$93 million in marketing alone to sell the Pippin line.[6] As part of the licensing agreement, both Bandai and Katz Media were not allowed to use the term "computer" when marketing the Pippin systems, so that the systems would not be confused with Apple's own Macintosh product line.

That is genuinely mental.

Steve Jobs made many brilliant decisions but two of the arguably worst missteps were 1) not ever having been a gamer, he had zero respect for games and the future growth of the gaming market (possibly also due to the fact that early Macintosh accusations included epithets such as "it's a fischer-price toy"), only to have this finally rectified on iOS, and 2) thinking a fruit diet would cure his pancreatic cancer.

I've been a gamer and Mac user my whole life (our family got the Macintosh 128k when I was 12 in December 1984) and the entire time, Jobs had a love-hate (but mostly hate) relationship with Mac gaming (I must have been a masochist for persisting, except for the fact that my DOS brethren had nearly constant driver/IRQ/DMA/sound issues with their games, while Macs had zero issues, digitized stereo sound long before PC's did, etc.). Despite that, there was a time when some really excellent games existed only on Macintosh, until Myst got ported to Windows 95 and that pretty much was the beginning of the end of Mac-exclusive gaming, the final nail in that coffin being Halo (which was supposed to premiere on Macs) being bought by Microsoft (which I'm guessing Jobs simply let happen).

Steve Jobs worked at Atari. I don't think there was 'gaming' in the sense that you mean it when Steve Jobs was younger.

I don't think he must have gamed much while at Atari.

I can state with some certainty that he never seemed passionate about games or gaming. I think he liked being a productive businessman and just didn't see the beauty nor profit in gaming until it was too late.

I'll never forget the time he demoed Halo (which was supposed to be PowerPC-first!) at Macworld Expo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tzrme9yWens We all know the huge letdown that happened after that. (Or at least, every Mac and gaming fan knows.)

I wonder if Jason Jones already knew at this point that they were going to sell out to Microsoft...

Worked in the sense that he grabbed the credit while sneaking Woz in the back door to do the actual wiring.

I think he understood gaming pretty well. The Apple II and the Mac were real gaming powerhouses back in the day. Most of it was 2D; side scrollers but I remember going into the computer stores and seeing all sorts of games for Apple.

After he left, and through a decade of weak management they were flopping all over the place. Windows 95 came out, their competing OS, Copeland, was nowhere to be seen. And when they transitioned to PowerPC a lot of publishers didn't want to expend the effort to port their existing catalog.

When he did comeback they were just a few months away from filing bankruptcy protection. Decisions were made and whole lines of products were cut. And they focused on the things that were working: education, creative, and science. Business, gaming, and productivity were on life support.

But, since those early years they never learned to entice game publishers. Microsoft went out of their way with DirectX, GDC, etc. Apple was, "here are our great game dev tools; use them." And just assumed developers would flock to the platform through osmosis.

Even now, their betting their future on the iOS. The game developers are there, the tools are there, and it's a very healthy ecosystem. Yet, I get the impression they want the iPad, the Pro namely, to be serious productivity tool. And if they have toss game dev to make it come to fruition I have no doubt that's what they would do.

The Pippin happened before Jobs had come back to Apple (in 1997). He did technically kill the project (as part of ending the Mac clone era) but it was already a flop by that point.

The very first Apple ][s literally shipped with Pong "paddle" controllers and a Pong game on audio cassette.


> DOS brethren had nearly constant driver/IRQ/DMA/sound issues

Sticking to adlib/soundblaster or compatibles seems to solve those more often than not.

The larger problem was getting enough of the 640k area freed up for some games to load (mostly during the EMS era, once XMS, never mind extenders, became common it was less of a hassle).

Another interesting (and sad) recollection about games in early Apple products: https://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&stor...

I've played one a couple times. The latest time at the Midwest Gaming Classic which is happening again in a couple weeks. I actually really dig the controller, find it strangely comfortable.

I'll be at MGC in a couple of weeks and kinda hope that Pippin's there so I can have a go at it. :)

I somehow never noticed that the Pippin controller was a batarang, like the prototype PS2 controller.




”A batarang is a roughly bat-shaped throwing weapon used by the DC Comics superhero Batman. The name is a portmanteau of bat and boomerang, and was originally spelled baterang.”

Right. I wouldnt exactly say that the pippin controller is bat-shaped.

The Personal Computer Museum in Brantford, Ontario, Canada has one of these. It was the first time I had seen one in real life.

A flea market used game store has on in Montrel North. I asked how much and they reeally had no idead how much it was worth and quoted $4k because of an ebay listing.

Console hardware collector here. $4K is insanely overpriced unless the thing was never opened in the first place.

I've been meaning to get a Bandai @tmark Pippin from Japan, but we're still talking maybe $500-600 and the "games" are just too hard to find outside of a couple of non-gaming titles. Finding Bungie's Marathon is nigh impossible, for instance.

Seems all the old guard of the micro era tried to go console in the end:


Atari https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_XEGS interestingly they didn't do the SE version [edit: I should of said ST not SE]

Was considering including that one, except that it was based more on the Atari competition to the C64 rather than the ST.

With the CD32, though, you could legitimately turn it into an Amiga desktop.

Looks like I'm not the only one reading Secret History of Mac Gaming.

I'd play that racing game for a few minutes.

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