Fun with the Apollo Guidance Computer

There I was, pursuing my interest in retrocomputing and reading a good book on the Apollo Guidance Computer, an unavowed exemplar of the new genre of platform studies, and I idly wondered, “Did anyone ever write an AGC emulator?”

Oh, man, did they. Versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Fan videos and hardware workalikes. Canned moon missions. Poster-size PDFs explaining every detail in Italian. Instructions on how to make the Apollo Guidance Computer your desktop clock. (As famous astronaut Jar-Jar Binks once said, “How rude!”)

https://i1.wp.com/www.ibiblio.org/apollo/V16N36E.png

Please, take one of the highest achievements of the American space program and do what you will with it. It’s the spirit of making and open source.

(later)

Well, I did it. I installed the emulator, punched in the right commands, and made the Apollo Guidance Computer my bitc… er, my desk clock.

Because the AGC accepts commands in verb/noun combinations, an interactive fiction “GET LAMP”-style connection is vaguely gesturing at me. Script the AGC with ZIL? Port the emulator to Inform for an “abuse of the Z-Machine”? The possibilities are endless, if somewhat implausible and, as I say, vague.

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