Apple Panic

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Apple Panic
Apple panic.jpg
Atari box cover
Programmer(s)Ben Serki [1]
Platform(s)Apple II (original)
Atari 8-bit, PC booter, VIC-20
Release1981: Apple II
1982: Atari, PC, VIC-20
Genre(s)Platform game
A screenshot showing the three enemies.

Apple Panic is a game for the Apple II programmed by Ben Serki and published by Brøderbund Software in 1981.[1] Apple Panic is an unauthorized version of the 1980 arcade game Space Panic, the first game with ladders and platforms. While the arcade original remained obscure, Apple Panic became a top seller for home computers. It was ported to the Atari 8-bit family,[2] VIC-20, and IBM PC (as a booter).


The player controls a character that walks left and right along platforms made of green brick, and climbs up and down ladders between them. The player can use a shovel to dig holes through the platforms, into which enemies will fall and become trapped. Once an enemy is stuck in a hole, the player must strike it repeatedly with the shovel until it falls through and hits the level below. This must be done quickly, because after about 17 seconds an enemy will be able to free itself, filling in the hole in the process. The player can also refill holes they've dug, or drop through them.

There are three types of enemy in the game, the first and most numerous being the "apples". An apple will die if it falls a single level. As the player advances, green and blue enemies will start to appear, which must be dropped through at least two or three levels, respectively. This is accomplished by digging a series of holes, one directly below another, and trapping the enemy in the uppermost hole. The player earns extra points if they drop one monster on top of another (killing them both).

On each level the player has only a limited time to dispatch all the enemies, tracked by a bar at the bottom of the screen. There are four distinct configurations of platforms and ladders through which the game cycles, but in every one there will always be five platforms in which the player can dig.


The Atari 8-bit family and IBM PC ports were done by Olaf Lubeck, who also wrote Cannonball Blitz for the Apple II. Unreleased ports for the TRS-80 family exist that were programmed in 1982 by Yves Lempereur of Funsoft, Inc.[citation needed]


Unlike Space Panic,[3] Apple Panic was very successful. Debuting in July 1981, the game sold 15,000 copies by June 1982, appearing on Computer Gaming World's list of top sellers.[4] Softline reported in 1983 that it was among the top 30 best-selling Apple software for almost two years, in contrast to the "two to four month life span" of the typical arcade game.[5]

Electronic Games described Apple Panic in 1983 as "delicious true to" the gameplay of Space Panic.[3]

BYTE in 1982 called Apple Panic "one of the most creative and novel games to be invented for a microcomputer".[6] PC Magazine in 1983 stated "Yes, Apple Panic is a pretty dumb game. It's also fun to play and pretty to watch ... a welcome change from the endless stream of shoot-em-ups in space".[7]


  1. ^ a b Hague, James. "The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers".
  2. ^ "Apple Panic". Atari Mania.
  3. ^ a b Pearl, Rick (June 1983). "Closet Classics". Electronic Games. p. 82. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  4. ^ "Inside the Industry" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. September–October 1982. p. 2. Retrieved 2016-03-28.
  5. ^ Tommervik, Margot Comstock (March 1983). "By Golly, That's a Good Game! / Masters of the Mousetrap Maxim Tell Why". Softline. pp. 30–32. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  6. ^ "The Coinless Arcade". BYTE. December 1981. pp. 38–41. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  7. ^ Sandler, Corey (March 1983). "At Ease With PC". PC Magazine. p. 213. Retrieved 21 October 2013.

External links[edit]

  • Apple Panic at Atari Mania
  • Clone written in the Seed7 programming language.
  • [1] TRS-80 version of Apple Panic at