Today, gamers are going gaga over titles like Red Dead Redemption 2. Before that, it was Madden and Grand Theft Auto and Pokemon Go and the like.
I want to take you back today to a video game that doubled as a teaching tool and as a logic construct.
And thanks to modern technology – you can play the game today in your computer browser.
The game was called Rocky’s Boots.
Rocky’s Boots was a game for the Apple II computer (way back in ancient times, before the iPhone and the Mac, and encouraged players to create algorithms and logic streams to control a robotic boot to kick items off a conveyor belt.
Here’s an example of the gameplay.
First you learned how to control your cursor and pick up and put items down, how to toggle sound controls and whatnot, and then you connected different controls in a sequence to create a circuit.
This is educational software. And this was in 1982. Yes, back in 1982 computer companies created games that could be used to educate children.
You don’t hear much about Rocky’s Boots any more – the original company that manufactured Rocky’s Boots (and another educational computer game, Reader Rabbit) was purchased by Kevin O’Leary (you know him as “Mr. Wonderful” on the Shark Tank show) and sold at a profit to Mattel – Mattel had no idea how to market or develop the software for more modern equipment, and Rocky’s Boots limped into oblivion. In fact, here’s an article about the history of Rocky’s Boots and Reader Rabbit, and why you can’t find the programs any more.
Or … can you?
What if I told you that you could still play Rocky’s Boots today – simply by visiting a website?
Right here at archive.org, for example… you can still play Rocky’s Boots – and you don’t need to worry about downloading any of the software. You can build the logic puzzles, get the high score, and have Rocky do his little celebratory dance (no “flossing” dance, sorry).
How waycool is this?
Look, would you rather have your kid slinking around in some faux-post-apocalyptic world like Fallout or Fortnite – or would you rather your kid was trying to stimulate his/her mind with logic puzzles and analytical thought?
The fact that you’re now looking at this archive.org link .. answers my question. 😀