At the tenth annual KansasFest, Eric Shepherd had an idea: to challenge attendees to push the Apple II with a programming competition. Limitations breed creativity, so programmers would be required to write their programs start-to-finish within the time of KansasFest. How cool a program could be produced in just a few days?
Thus was born HackFest. Across the last 15 annual HackFests, at least 46 programs have been written or attempted, from games and utilities to cracks and demos. Some were conceived at KansasFest, while others had been plotted for months, with the results ranging from the ingeniously simple to the insanely complex. A few programs went on to become full-fledged software releases and staples of the Apple II library; others were highly anticipated but languished in a permanent state of beta. All were cool and impressive, wowing the KansasFest crowd with public demos.
Of those programs that have been released, 11 were selected to be featured in a recent Computerworld.com slideshow, "Hacking the Apple II at KansasFest". The screenshot and video gallery represents a range of entries entered into HackFest 2007–2012, demonstrating the breadth and depth of hacks that Apple II enthusiasts have been inspired to create, such as Michael J. Mahon's 2007 winning entry NadaPong:
As usual, KansasFest made and continue to makes headlines throughout the retrocomputing world. Many podcasts have focused on the convention throughout the last month, featuring interviews and reflections from the world's premier Apple II event.
Archivist and Serenity extra Brian Wiser appeared on episode #251 of the RetroMacCast (iTunes). This first-time attendee gave two presentations at KansasFest, and his enthusiasm for the event is evident in this interview.
Finally, the Open Apple podcast (iTunes) aired show #18 with a panel consisting of Wayne Arthurton, who recently attended his first KansasFest since 2004, and Paul Hagstrom and Jeremy Rand, both first-time attendees. Arthurton presented at KansasFest, while Rand came in first place in the HackFest competition, providing diverse perspectives on the same event.
Want to hear more great audio content from KansasFest? Listen to podcast coverage of KansasFest 2010 and 2011, as well as the Echoes of KFest podcast for sessions from KansasFest!
KansasFest 2012 was fortunate to have as its keynote speaker John Romero, a rockstar game developer who got his start on the Apple II. He spoke at length about the games and developers that got their start on the platform, having conducted interviews and research to create a presentation targeted toward his audience of diehard Apple II users.
The KansasFest exhibit hall makes its second annual appearance this week! All attendees of this year's Apple II expo are invited to showcase their coolest or most unusual hardware or software, whether it's for display purposes only, for hands-on demos, for for sale and trade. You'll be alongside a variety of merchants hawking their wares at the annual vendor fair. Both sessions are held concurrently in Corcoran Hall on Saturday, July 21, 3:15 – 5:30 PM CDT.
These two events are the only sessions open to the general public. That's right: if you're in the Kansas City area and have anything from a passing interest in to a longtime passion for the Apple II, you're invited to visit our event! Be a part of our community, check out our goods, and go home with a few new toys
Corcoran Hall is locked to non-attendees. A student should be available to let you in, but to be sure, please let us know you're coming, and we'll give you a contact phone number to ensure your access to our event.
Any recurring gathering, be it a family reunion, a civic organization, or convention has this in common: Tradition! We gather to see family or friends, have a good time together, and sometimes participate in activities that happen nowhere else than that event. The family gathering may be used as an opportunity to play Pictionary, or hearing Grandpa once again regale us with stories of his time in the Army during WWII. The civic organization may be the annual discussion about how we will do fundraising this year, and Fred's insistence on a polka-thon. And a convention like KansasFest is no stranger to these traditions, which include meals we share at favorite restaurants, or a trip to the Apple Store, or attending a movie in the company of fellow retrocomputing enthusiasts.
These after-hours events add to the enjoyment of sessions presented by the top luminaries in the Apple II world. And beyond that, there is the opportunity for each attendee to demonstrate their own prowess on the field of competition. We offer:
HackFest — a chance to create a program in just a few days while in attendance, something to inspire awe and respect from your peers
Tie One On — anyone can wear a tie, but how many can display the most unique tie of anyone else at KFest?
Bite The Bag — demonstrate your ninja skills of balance and dental dexterity to pick up an ever shrinking paper bag from the floor
Door Decoration — Hey! It's a dorm, and what's a dorm without a unique way to show everyone which door is your door? Show us your amazing artistic acumen
Exhibit Hall — showcase the most interesting or unusual hardware or software you have!
And who knows with what else we might come up!
Of course, to reward the display of your unique set of attributes, there are prizes! Among the available booty this year, you could win:
Get the Guidebook app for your guide to KansasFest 2012!
The session schedule for next week's KansasFest is now online! Dozens of attendees and outside experts will be sharing their knowledge throughout the day on a variety of Apple II subjects, from software to games to podcasts to fundraising. For those staying on-site, parties, contests, and dinners will keep everyone engaged throughout the week.
Attendees who are staying on-site will be hosted in the Corcoran residence hall for the third consecutive year. Drivers looking to unload their cars and get checked in should temporarily park at 1354 Rockhurst Road; once you have clearance to access the secure parking lot, you can then proceed to the main entrance found at 5400 Troost Avenue. Both addresses are in Kansas City, MO 64110.
The KansasFest welcoming committee will be at Corcoran first thing Tuesday morning. If you are concerned about getting lost, or are staying off-site and need access to Corcoran, please email us beforehand to obtain a contact phone number.