(Softalk Reader’s Poll) [1]

The Top Ten

  1. Super Invader by M. Hata, Creative Computing; arcade. “Progenitor of home-arcades. Still good hi-res, still a challenge. Softalk readers’ Most Popular Program of 1978-1980.” This was an Apple version of “Space Invaders”.
  2. Adventure by Crowther & Woods; adventure. “The original text adventure, created on mainframes, contributed to by so many over a long time. Very logical within fantasy framework, excellent puzzles, maps; complex, convoluted, and great. Solving problems takes precedence over life/death peril. Several publishers including Microsoft, Apple Computer, and Frontier Computing”.
  3. VisiCalc by Bricklin & Frankston, Personal Software; spreadsheet. “Electronic worksheet for any problem involving numbers, rows, and columns. No programming necessary.”
  4. Sargon II by Spracklen, Hayden; strategy game. “Computer chess game with seven levels of play.”
  5. Asteroids In Space by Wallace, Quality Software; arcade. “Make little asteroids out of big ones, plus occasional hostile alien ships. Hyperspace, autobrake, autofire. Quality Software.” Later called Meteoroids In Space, this was a clone of the popular arcade game, “Asteroids”, which itself was a commercial version of a very early computer game called “Spacewar”. That game was written to run on the CRT screen of a PDP-1 by hackers at MIT in the 1960’s.
  6. Flight Simulator by Artwick, SubLogic; strategy. “Uses aerodynamic equations, airfoil characteristics for realistic takeoff, flight, and landing. Two years on the Top Thirty.” Later updated to give animated 3-D color graphics, transcontinental flight, and a World War I aerial battle.
  7. Hi-Res Adventure #2: The Wizard and The Princess by Williams, On-Line Systems; adventure. “The king has offered half his kingdom to the one who will bring back the kidnapped princess. Cross mountains, deserts; battle the wizard to claim your reward.”
  8. Odyssey: The Compleat Apventure by Clardy, Synergistic Software; fantasy. “Fantasy adventure far beyond one place and one setting. Castles, catacombs, an ocean voyage, and the orb of power.”
  9. DOS 3.3 by Apple Computer; operating system.
  10. Apple Writer by Lutus, Apple Computer; word processor. “The most popular word processing program in town. Type, erase, move words around, save and insert segments from disk, and print out. Easy to use.”

Runners Up

  1. (tie) Bill Budge’s Space Album by Budge, California Pacific; arcade.
  2. (tie) Temple Of Apshai by Epyx/Automated Simulations; fantasy. “Lead title in Dunjonquest series, winner 1981 Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design ‘Computer Game of the Year’ award.”
  3. Hi-Res Adventure #1: Mystery House by Williams, On-Line Systems; adventure. “Whodunit in a Victorian mansion. First adventure with pictures. Two-word parser with logical comprehension.”

    Screen shot from “Mystery House”
  4. Cyber Strike by Nasir, Sirius Software; arcade.
  5. (tie) Easy Writer by Draper, Information Unlimited; word processor. The author, John Draper, was the “Captain Crunch” of blue box fame, friend of Jobs and Wozniak and early Apple employee.
  6. (tie) Dogfight by Basham, Micro Lab; arcade. This was later included as a free bonus with Bill Basham’s Diversi-DOS speedup for DOS 3.3. It would allow as many as eight players to play at once, assuming all those hands could get to their respective controlling keys on the keyboard without too much local conflict.

Business 3

  1. Easy Writer by Draper, Information Unlimited; word processor.
  2. Apple Plot by Apple Computer; graphics plotting.
  3. Data Management System by Herman, Personal Software; database.

Graphic 2

  1. Bill Budge’s 3-D Graphics System by Budge, California Pacific.
  2. Apple World by Lutus, United Software Of America. This interesting program allowed creation and display of 3-D line drawings of objects, such as a house, and then rotate and display them from other points of view, including zooming in on the object.

Hobby 2

  1. DOS Tool Kit by Apple Computer.
  2. Apple-Doc by Wagner, Southwestern Data Systems; Utility to simplify editing and debugging of Applesoft programs.


  1. [1] —–. “Super Invader Is Reader’s Choice”, Softalk, Apr 1981: 13.

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