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:
In conjunction with this bit of press, the official HackFest archives have been expanded. Previously listing only those hacks that were available for download, the database now lists every known entry into the HackFest competition.
May this renewed interest in the premier Apple II convention’s programming challenges bring inspiration for future hacks!