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Information about the Computers Used for the Creation of Bill Bly's We Descend

When Bill Bly began work on his masterpiece We Descend in 1993 he used an Apple SE to produce it. The computer, by then, was already six years old. The Apple SE, however, was built to last––it was the first Mac to come with a cooling fan. It was also the first compact Apple computer to offer a hard drive and ran operating systems from 3.3 to 7.5.5. Bly's computer came with only 512K of RAM that he, later, upgraded to 1MB by breaking the warranty and replacing the two 256K chips with two 512s. However, the SE did sport a 46 MB hard drive, which he never filled up. This machine was not cheap. The cost of a brand new Apple SE was $2900 for the dual floppy version and $3900 for the 20 MB hard drive. It was discontinued in 1990. Notable software that ran on the Apple SE included HyperCard, ClarisWorks, MicroSoft Word, Tetris, and, of course, Storyspace. 

Later, Bly upgraded to a Mac IIsi, a more contemporary computer released on the market from 1990-1993. It provided sound-in port capability and a screen resolution at 640-480 in 8-bit color. It also had double the amount of RAM than his Apple SE. Bly recalls that his computer had 2 MB of RAM when he bought it.

Bly, however, completed the work on We Descend in June or July 1996 on a Powerbook 520, running System 7, that came with a grayscale display and offered one of the first trackpads. He says that he never moved beyond System 9.0, which was released in 1999 because Storyspace 1.0 would not run in OS X.

To experience We Descend, Volume One produced on floppy disks today, readers need a computer that reads high density disks. Thus, a Macintosh Plus or higher is recommended. To read the CD version, a Macintosh with a CD player running the Classic operating system is recommended. In 2002 Bly created a version of Volume One in Storyspace 2.0 that ran in OS X up to OS X 10.5.8 (Leopard). It also is available for PCs running Windows XP or any later version with XP mode installed.

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