Apple ][ "Lemmings" Proof of Concept

This page is about a proof of concept to see if the 1991 game Lemmings could run on an Apple II computer from 1977.

This is not a full version of the game, it's just the first ten levels with various changes in gameplay due to Apple II limitations.


I was watching a 30-year anniversary video on Lemmings and then a dangerous thing happened, I realized the colors weren't that far off of the Apple II hires palette. So I took a break from my Peasant's Quest project and used all my newfound hi-res graphics skills to see what I could implement.


Capture of version 1.00 on an actual Apple IIe platinum:


Note: these were captured with the AppleWin emulator.

Level intro screen. On an Apple IIe you get this nice impossible graphics/text split (assuming your emulator supports the VBLANK register):

Various levels. Fully playable (though limited to a single screen):

Beating a level:

Hard to see, but the destroy-them-all button works and I even implemented some particle effects for the explosion. It's hard to see in the videos as the combination composite->HDMI->USB conversion is really bad at fine details like single-pixel wide particles.

Playing on real hardware with an actual CRT, using an actual floppy. That's not artificial aging on the floppy label, rather my laser printer is low on toner.

System Requirements

How can I play it?


Disk Image


You can also read some developer notes in the README.


Expansion Packs

Now I have the engine done it's relatively straightforward to make some level expansion packs.


Development Notes

13 April 2022 -- Version 1.01

Updated so Apple IIc support works (at least under MAME). This includes Mockingboard music and the extremely touchy VBLANK split/screen effect. I also tested IIgs support, it seems relatively OK but it also runs fast unless you drop it into compat mode.

13 April 2022 -- Version 1.00

Added animations, and fixed explosions, plus you can play through all 10 levels. I'm going to declare this version 1.0.

4 April 2022 -- Version 0.08

Fix a few regrettable crashing / glitching bugs. Shouldn't be able to crash things anymore by the pointer or lemmings going off the edge of the screen.

3 April 2022 -- Version 0.07

The various jobs should all be more or less functioning, though builders aren't quite like the actual game. The game actually tracks how many of each job you have left and enforces the limits. It prints these too, though they are not aligned well with the graphics due to Apple II 7-pixel alignment issues. A test/cheat mode was added (exclamation point) that gives you more jobs.

31 March 2022 -- Version 0.06

All the jobs are implemented, though the builders need a lot of work, and climbers can vault over blockers. Also have 10 levels now.

28 March 2022 -- Version 0.05

Added level6. Blockers and miners are now more or less implemented.

25 March 2022 -- Version 0.04

More improvements. Can now make floaters, so you can beat level 2.

23 March 2022 -- Version 0.03

Added proper printing of end levels and percentages. Can have up to 10 lemmings on screen at a time (game can do even more, though eventually it gets really flickery). They'll splat now if they fall too far.

20 March 2022 -- Version 0.02

Have backgrounds/music for 5 levels now. Still only one lemming, with digger the only ability. Wasted some time having fun letting the digger try to escape off the screen into main RAM, which ineevitably led to him becoming a being of pure energy before saying something about "ROD" before crashing the system.

15 March 2022 -- Version 0.01

Finally got it released, in the end getting things to fit in 24k was more of a challenge than expected. Of course there's more room than than in RAM/Disk but coding up that extra support code would take a while.

? March 2022

Got the music to play. I could only find YM music, not pt3, so it needs considerable RAM to play. Put it in the language card limiting it to 12k which is about 15s of music at 50Hz, so have to swap out/decompress the raw samples on the fly behind the scene. It takes more than 20s to decompress a 512 frame chunk so the gameplay will pause briefly when this happens, but at least the sound doesn't glitch.

4 March 2022

Started work on this. Probably have better things I should be working on.

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