For many, the first Macintosh model is the one that connected them forever to the Apple brand. For others, including this writer, that connection happened earlier thanks to the Apple II and Apple IIe. These computers were the stars of many grade school computer classes in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Decades later, I have no memory of the instruction we received in my sixth-grade computer class. However, I do remember how we were allowed to spend the last few minutes each day. Lemonade Stand was the first computer game many of us experienced, and it's why I continue to love Apple and technology so many years later.
Is that enough sugar?
First introduced in 1973 by Bob Jamison of the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium (MECC), Lemonade Stand was a business simulation game that got its start on a mainframe computer. Charles Kellner ported the game in 1979 for the Apple II.
Like an actual lemonade stand, the game taught children about managing money, keeping track of supplies, and how to make a profit. After a few rounds, the game got tougher as costs rose, and the weather got nastier. Each round ended with a summary of the player's current status with the game ending after 12 rounds.
The Apple II version of Lemonade Stand added music, including bars from "Singin' in the Rain," "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," and "Summertime." Color screens were also added.
Throughout most of the 1980s, Apple included Lemonade Stand with its computers. MECC also offered the game for sale in various kid's software bundles and later for Atari 8-bit consoles.
Today, there are various sites online where you can play Lemonade Stand on your 21st Century Mac. The game hasn't aged well, of course, but that's not the point. For those of a particular generation, the game was our first exposure to what would become personal computing. And that's what makes its place in computer history secure.
A good-bye and hello again
I mostly stopped using Apple computers after high school for reasons others did as well. Before heading to Penn State to begin my understudies, my parents made it clear they wouldn't be buying me a Mac, which at the time cost over $4,000 or around $8,500 in today's dollars. Instead, they bought me the best Brother word processor you could buy.
The arrival of Windows 95 took me further away from Apple, and that absence would continue for many years to come. In 2001, I returned to the Apple fold (finally) when I purchased a white iBook. Since then, I haven't looked back.
For many years, I served as an information technology manager across various industries. During those years, I used to tell people that I fixed Windows computers at night but enjoyed Mac computing at night. In 2010, I began working full-time online and ditched Windows for good.
Which Apple product was the first for you? Did you ever play Lemonade Stand? Let us know in the comments below.