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Thread: History question about Screenwriter II WP by On-line Systems, (later Sierra On-Line)

  1. #1

    Default History question about Screenwriter II WP by On-line Systems, (later Sierra On-Line)

    Hi All,

    I recently snagged a copy of a word processing program for the Apple II by Online Systems that later became know as Sierra On-Line the game company. I was curious if anyone know anything about it's history?

    I worked for Sierra On-Line for a number of years back in the early 90's and have never heard of the program. In fact prior to running across this program I never knew Sierra even created any kind of productivity software. I did a Google search and there is almost nothing about it, but the few articles I found referred to it as a very popular software word processor for the Apple. Basically I'm just kind of blown away that despite working there I never heard of it. Of course having worked for them, I had to buy it, but I would love to know any details about it.

    Thanks

    Gordon

  2. #2
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    You may want to try a search using "Screenwriter II" within quotation marks. That turns up some reviews for me.

    IIRC, the main feature Screenwriter II had to set itself apart was the ability to have 70 columns when running a 40 column display.

  3. #3

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    Hi Krebizfan,

    Thanks for the suggestion, I did do that and found a few articles, but there was a total of 2 pages on Google. Maybe you found more. What I'm really looking for is some background on the software, who wrote it, when was it released etc. I have always been under the impression that Sierra only released games. I know their first commercial product was a game, Mystery House, but so far I've found nothing in respects to the details of this productivity application.

    https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Sierra_Entertainment

    It had to have been released sometime between 1979 and 1982 because they rebranded the company as Sierra On-Line in 1982 from On-Line Systems.

    Ahh!! nothing like a good mystery to stir the grey matter especially during the Covid-19 lockdowns and quarantines, when I'm about to go stir crazy, (pun intended) as it is.

    Thanks

    Gordon

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    Sierra also released a better known word processor: Homeword. See http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.com/...sy-to-use.html

    Screenwriter was also known as Superscribe, IIUC. http://jvlone.com/computerpub/scsg6_1982_05.pdf has a review of Superscribe which is paired with Screenwriter in the article title.

    David Kidwell is listed as one of the authors. http://boutillon.free.fr/Underground.../Artsci70.html looks to include a capsule history. The quote below is taken from a mechanical translation of the French original.

    It seems to me that the first to publish such a solution was On-Line Systems (later renamed Sierra On-Line ).
    The SuperScript word processor was released on the market in February 1981, which changed its name several times in a row for reasons of naming conflicts.
    The software written by David Kidwell (and Jeff Schmoyer ) was renamed SuperScribe II in May 1981 then became Screenwriter II in May 1982.

  5. #5

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    Krebizfan,

    I did another search based on you suggestion and found the following:

    http://sierrachest.com/index.php?a=g...iter-2&fld=box

    and this

    http://fileformats.archiveteam.org/wiki/ScreenWriter_II

    Looks like it was released 01/01/82 which is about 8 years before I went to work for them and by that time they were exclusively a maker of games. The copy I bought should be here around the 7th of December. I am eager to see if the disks are still readable on my Apple II. It is the complete package, binder, manual and disks.

    That is an interesting article on Homeword, I guess you learn something new everyday, lol


    Thanks for helping me dig through the past, always interesting.

    Gordon

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