The Altair 8800 was, to its creators, a surprise hit. Despite looking nothing like what we would today consider to be a computer, it sold thousands of units almost immediately upon its launch, way back in 1975. A few years later, the Apple II burst onto the scene, and the home computer revolution began in earnest.
Emulating older machines on newer hardware has always been a thing, and [option8] has coded an Altair 8800 emulator for the Apple II. Of course, if you don’t have one lying around, you can run this emulator on an Apple II emulator right in your browser. Honestly, it’s emulators all the way down.
As far as emulators go, this is a particularly charming one, with the Altair’s front panel displayed in glorious color on the Apple’s 40 column screen. Replete with a full set of switches and blinking LEDs, it’s a tidy low-resolution replica of the real thing. Instructions to drive it are available, along with those for another similar emulator known as Apple80.
If that still hasn’t quenched your thirst, check out this Game Boy emulator that lives inside emacs.
5 thoughts on “Emulating An Altair 8800 On An Apple II”
“Despite looking nothing like what we would today consider to be a computer”: On the contrary, the things we buy today look nothing like what I consider to be a computer. I want buttons and blinkenlights.
At the time, yes.
But computers are way more common now . I have an SFF box on my desk, that’s more like a “computer” now. And it’s almost infinitely better than an Altair, or Apple II.
I got my first computer in 1979, forty years ago next month. I have never had one with a front panel of switches and lights.
I have two desktop computers. One is a modern Windows PC in a small form factor Altair 8800 replica case. The lights blick and the switches can launch apps. The other is a modern Windows PC in an HP 1653B Logic Analyzer case, with lots of buttons (that, again, can launch apps on the computer) and an LCD screen to show stuff like stock prices.
That’s the way computers should look!
Neat! I assembled the PDP 11/70 front panel (1/3 scale) from https://obsolescence.wixsite.com/obsolescence/pidp-11 . Works well. Get to play with the different OSs offered at the time. A computer should have lights, switches and knobs! Tried to find an Altair 8800 but didn’t run into one.
I miss my Altar. Up all night writing a bubble sort in machine language with a pad of paper for an assembler.
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