Woz Was Here - Steve Wozniak On His Gaming Past
May 4, 2007 Page 4 of 4
GS: There's that game, Little Brickout. Did you program that? That came with the DOS disk on the Apple II?
SW: Yes. In the early days of the Apple II, we did ship my Breakout. We did change the name to “Brickout”. Yeah, that's correct. I wrote it. I even had a little trick in there. I forget if they included the trick in the one that shipped, but if you hit control-z, the paddle would wiggle and wiggle, but never miss the ball. So if you put your hand on the paddle control, you would almost think it's so jittery, but you never missed. And you wouldn't realize the game was playing automatically. You would actually think you were playing it. I tricked the players.
GS: Yeah, I actually played Little Brickout recently. I thought about trying that trick -- I read about it in your book. I'll have to try that and see if it works.
SW: Yeah. Control-z.
GS: Let's talk briefly about games today. What are some of your favorite video games of all time?
SW: OK, let's see. Defender is my favorite of all time. Very fast play. I actually like Breakout as a classic. I like a lot of the classics. I like Pac-Man, I liked Ms. Pac-Man. I like Crystal Castles with the rolling trackball. I liked Joust. And I loved that first video game, Dragon's Lair. I mean, the first one with a laserdisc.
Arcade laserdisc classic Dragon's Lair remains one of Wozniac's favorites.
I'd say, maybe my most fun one to ever play though was Police 911. It was one that sensed your body motion and adjusted the display accordingly. There must be a ton of games like that that I missed, but I loved that one at my house.
GS: That's neat. I heard that you liked Tetris once, and that you're really good at it. Do you still like Tetris?
SW: Tetris on the Game Boy, I was the World Champion. In 1988, Nintendo Power magazine printed the top scores, and I was always the top of the list.
GS: Yeah, I remember that. I saw it when that magazine came out. I remember that.
SW: I love that. I played Tetris on a 14-story building a couple years ago.
GS: Yeah, that big one in the windows? That lit up the windows?
SW: Brown University, at the Sciences Library.
GS: Yeah, that was really cool.
SW: Yeah, Tetris. I still play Tetris on airplanes. And I don't play that many video games with motion anymore. I loved Snood on the computer.
GS: You loved what on the computer?
SW: Snood. In arcades, it was a game called Bust-A-Move.
GS: Let me get to one more question before you have to go. Your book got me thinking about how the media has portrayed you, and Steve Jobs, inaccurately at times. What do you think is the thing that historians get wrong about you the most, in books about Apple and things like that?
SW: Oh, the amount of time I spent on my workbenches building projects. The effort that it took, how many different things that were created that led up to personal computers; where some of the great ideas came from, where some of the excellence came from.
GS: So you think they just gloss over how much work it took?
SW: Some of the step-by-step decisions we made when we were in our young twenties, with no money and no business background. How did we pull it off? Some of the little, small steps just get kind of missed over, and yet people love that like it's history.
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