KansasFest & John Romero featured on PCWorld

Posted Fri, Jul. 27th 2012 in News

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 full video of his presentation is still being edited, but in the meantime, an excerpt is currently featured on PCWorld. Audience member Ken Gagne asked Romero for his thoughts on the Ouya video game console. The resulting video, a collaboration between Gagne and Jeff Blakeney, is hosted on Gagne’s YouTube channel with permission from KansasFest and Blakeney.

Watch this space as more videos and media from the event are published. In the meantime, check out our gallery of online photos from KansasFest 2012!

John Romero to keynote KansasFest 2012

Posted Fri, Sep. 30th 2011 in News

SEPTEMBER 30, 2011 — KansasFest 2012, the Apple II convention scheduled for July 17–22 in Kansas City, Missouri, comes just two months after the twentieth anniversary of Wolfenstein 3D, the first-person shooter that, when released for MS-DOS in 1992, defined a genre that is still popular today. Not only did the game, which was later ported to the Apple IIGS, use as its inspiration the Apple II game Castle Wolfenstein; Wolfenstein 3D’s creators got their start working at Apple II disk magazine Softdisk.

To commemorate that anniversary and heritage, KansasFest 2012’s keynote speech will be delivered by none other than Wolfenstein 3D co-creator John Romero.

John Romero. Photo by buzzpuzzle

Romero, whose Apple II credits include Dangerous Dave and Dark Castle, has been a pillar of the electronic entertainment industry for nearly as long as the Apple II has existed. Popular Apple II magazine inCider published Romero’s first program in 1984, with many more of his titles to appear in both inCider and Nibble. Romero later joined Origin Systems, publisher of the Ultima and Wing Commander games, as a programmer, after which he co-founded Inside Out Software. At both companies, he ported software to and from the Apple II and Commodore 64. With KansasFest 2008 keynote speaker Lane Roathe, Romero also co-founded software company Ideas From the Deep, where he developed the Apple II game Zappa Roidz as well as the InfoDOS operating system for Infocom’s Apple II games.

In 1989, Romero joined Softdisk, a stint that introduced him to three important people: John Carmack, Tom Hall, and Adrian Carmack. The four co-workers left Softdisk in 1991 to co-found id Software, which a year later revolutionized electronic gaming and demonstrated the potential of the shareware distribution model when they released Wolfenstein 3D, which sold 100,000 units in its first 18 months. Later id Software blockbusters, including DOOM and Quake, further cemented the company as an industry powerhouse. Romero has since been involved with many additional high-profile games, including Deus Ex, Daikatana, and Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows. He most recently co-founded social games company Loot Drop, developer of the popular Facebook game Ravenwood Fair, which currently has nearly five million users.

Despite such overwhelming success and a storied résumé, Romero has long celebrated his roots as an Apple II programmer. In 1998, he reunited forty Apple II programmers in celebration of the Apple II turning 20 the year before. So prestigious were Romero’s invitations that in attendance was Apple II inventor Steve Wozniak, KansasFest 2003’s keynote speaker. It was this event that later inspired Jason Scott, keynote speaker at KansasFest 2009, to begin production on a documentary of the 6502 processor, which powers the Apple II. Romero appeared in Scott’s text-adventure documentary, Get Lamp, and will support Scott’s upcoming 6502 film as well.

From Commander Keen to DOOM and Quake, Romero’s games — 97 to date — regularly become household names and spawn countless imitators. Romero’s reflection on the role of the Apple II in both his and the industry’s successes will captivate KansasFest 2012 attendees.

KansasFest is an annual convention offering Apple II users and retrocomputing enthusiasts the opportunity to engage in beginner and technical sessions, programming contests, exhibition halls, and camaraderie. KansasFest was originally hosted by Resource Central and has been brought to you by the KFest Committee since 1995. Any and all Apple II users, fans, and friends are invited to attend this year’s event. Registration details will be announced on the KansasFest Web site in early 2012. For photos, videos, and presentations from past KansasFests, please visit the event’s official Web site at http://kansasfest.org/

KansasFest 2012

KansasFest 2008 keynote to be given by Lane Roathe

Posted Tue, Jan. 1st 2008 in News

KANSAS CITY, MO — January 1, 2008 — Lane Roathe, cofounder of Ideas From the Deep and former managing editor at Softdisk, will be the keynote speaker at KansasFest 2008. At Softdisk, a monthly magazine of original software for the Apple II, Mr. Roathe teamed with John Romero and John Carmack to create the internal gaming division, producing such hits as Dangerous Dave, Catacombs, and Star Axe.

“When I found out KansasFest was still going and I hadn’t known, I could’ve kicked myself,” said Lane, who last attended KFest in 1991. “To be invited back — and as keynote speaker, at that! — is an honor and pleasure.”

Mr. Roathe begin his career as a programmer when he created Blue Mountain Micro where he wrote and distributed games and utilities, including the Disk Utility Program and Copy Protection Notebook, for the Apple II. Later, at Tristar Computer Solutions, he cut his teeth on Alpha Micro mini computers. He then moved to UpTime, where he wrote the shell that drove the monthly Apple IIe and IIgs disk magazines. At UpTime, he met John Romero, with whom he’d later formed Ideas From the Deep, a company that has worked on titles such as Dark Castle, Zappa Roidz, Write Away!, Bugdom, Nanosaur and more. He performed a similar function at Softdisk, where he met John Carmack. Carmack, Romero, and Roathe would later work together to create Commander Keen, id Software’s first title. Roathe’s career has continued to envelop all aspects of programming and management. His current position is Director of Technology for Method Solutions, a video game production company that develops exciting and exceptional video games on consoles, PCs and wireless phone handsets. Roathe also continues as president, cofounder, and lead developer for Ideas From the Deep, which provides software publishing, development and contracting services, and specializes in platform independent development titles and libraries.

KansasFest 2008 is set for Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri, from July 22nd through July 27th.

KansasFest, the Apple II summer gathering also known as KFest, was originally hosted by Resource Central, has been brought to you by the KFest Committee since 1995. Any and all Apple II and Macintosh users, fans, and friends are invited to attend this year’s “summer camp for geeks”; you’ll be glad you did!


KansasFest 2008