Animated GIFs on an Apple II


Before the Internet, computer enthusiasts needed to get their cat pictures, image macros, and animated gifs somehow. If only [Nate] was writing code back in the 80s: he created a video player for the Apple II, essentially turning the classic computer into a machine that can play one or two animated gifs.

Vintage microcomputers aren’t especially noted for a huge amount of RAM, or being very fast, so [Nate] needed to bring in some extra hardware to give his recently acquired Apple II+ a 64k RAM disk to store the gifs.

The gifs are loaded off the floppy drive after being converted on a PC with a Python script, reducing the resolution and colors to 280 x 192 pixels and an amazing rainbow of four colors. For some gifs, seen below, it’s actually slightly impressive an Apple II can pull off this trick. It’s amazing  [Nate] got this thing to work, as well.

If you have an Apple II set up, you’re awesome. You should go peruse [Nate]‘s git and make your own animated gifs for your awesome classic computer.


  1. Hirudinea says:

    “You can’t play animated gifs on an Apple II+!”, “I find your lack of faith disturbing!”

  2. HackJack says:

    Disk is so out of fashion. Streaming is the way to go. :)

    Super serial card and cassette interface came to mind.

    • daves says:

      Long time ago I did Worms movie for ATARI 130XE, it has 128Kb ram memory.

      See it at

    • g-man says:

      The real point of this is not the fact that it’s an apple II playing video. It’s that it’s decompressing and playing a file that fits in its ram. Streaming the file would require less compression and thus not be as impressive.

      • HackJack says:

        I would not think streaming video on an Apple ][ is anywhere less impressive given the lack of network interface of an Apple II and a significantly under powered CPU. But if someone is able to pull it off, it would mean unlimited video playback.

        • Kevin says:

          There was an Apple II Ethernet Card that worked in the IIe and IIgs. This is a II+…. a little older. There was also a Localtalk network card for the IIe. The IIgs had localtalk built in.

          Just because a machine is before your time, doesn’t mean networking didn’t exist or it’s too primitive to be useful. Will it saturate a 10Mbit network? Hell no. Will it talk to it? Yup.

          8-bit computers were capable of a lot more than people give them credit for. Especially when loaded with expansions.

          • Wanderer says:

            The Apple II Ethernet card from Apple was never released. I think you are thinking of a LocalTalk card. Built into the //gs and an option for the //e.

  3. dALE says:

    I don’t have anything to add, but this is pretty legit so I thought I’d comment.

  4. voxnulla says:

    A gif animation of a computer playing a gif animation is pretty META!!

  5. LordNothing says:

    this reminds me of the porn grandpa used to display on all his 286 machines

  6. Kevin says:

    I’ve seen APAC, TIP and HIP animations on the Atari 8-bit that just absolutely put that to shame. Then again, the Atari 800-series had much cooler graphics hardware and more clock speed out of the box. There’s even a very slow color JPEG viewer for the A8.

    Not bad for an Apple II though.

    I hated the Apple II growing up…. most of my schools were stuffed to the gills with them. Oregon Trail is only fun for so long.

    • Augur says:

      Oregon Trail.. Thats a name I havn’t heard in a long long time…

      Hard to believe that some of the readers don’t remember having computers without hard drives. Nostalgia moment.. Eight tracks, records, and apple ii.. Sometimes I miss those days.

  7. Matt says:

    considering .gif came out in 1987…..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96,520 other followers