The Apple II Edutainment Game 'All About America' Was Cracked Just in Time for the Midterms

Brush up on some mostly-accurate US history with a game that came on floppy disks.

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Nov 6 2018, 7:36pm

Screenshot via Internet Archive

In 1987, educational game developer Unicorn Software released a quaint little floppy disk tour of US history called All About America. Today, for the first time, All About America is playable online at the Internet Archive. It’s a quirky, sorta-glitchy look back at 80s gaming and how we viewed our nation’s history 31 years ago.

Made for the Apple II and other early personal computers, All About America comes on two 5.25-inch floppies, and teaches players with a combination of text and pixelated images. It takes them through 16 stories, starting with Columbus, through Lewis and Clark, noteworthy American inventions, and ending with space exploration and the idea that “someday, man may be able to travel from one planet to another.” It also includes quizzes and map-reading tests.

The copyright protection cracker known as 4a.m. uploaded the full game to the Internet Archive today. Previously, 4a.m. cracked an Easter Egg hidden in the 1983 game Gumball, and has cracked nearly 700 games, earning cult-hero status in the Apple II preservation community.

Motherboard asked 4a.m. in a Twitter direct message whether they timed the upload for midterm election day, and he said it was mostly a coincidence of the game coming in the mail a few days ago. “Seemed appropriate timing,” he said.

4a.m. also said that there was nothing out of the ordinary involved in cracking this game’s DRM to upload it to the archive—Unicorn Software used the same protection on all of their disks, he said.

All About America is definitely a dated look at our country’s history—America starts with Columbus, according to the game’s writers, and ends with the addition of Hawaii and Alaska as the 49th and 50th states—but it’s somewhat soothing to transport to a relatively simpler time.