Deathbounce Kickstarter: Fully Funded!

In my PAX keynote yesterday, I mentioned that although Karateka is the game that launched my career, I actually had just as high hopes for the Apple II game I made right before it, as a 17-year-old freshman in college: Deathbounce, which I submitted to Broderbund Software founder Doug Carlston but he declined to publish.

A clamor immediately arose in the audience, offering to support a Kickstarter campaign for an iOS/Android version of Deathbounce.

I tried to discourage this, pointing out that Doug’s judgment that Deathbounce was unlikely to set the gaming world on fire was well founded even in 1982. Nevertheless, ever since yesterday, people have been coming up to me at PAX and trying to give me money.

It turns out I actually have a disk image of Deathbounce on my MacBook Air.(Derek Moore, childhood friend of voice actor Yuri “Prince of Persia” Lowenthal, did me the favor of copying my 5.25″ Apple II disks a while back. A floppy disk image being only 143K, the shoebox full of disks that took me my entire childhood to amass now occupies barely 2MB on a 350GB hard drive.)

(For those following the Prince of Persia source code saga: Our failure to find the POP source code in this shoebox was what led me to give up hope of ever finding it, until two weeks ago, when my Dad unearthed a forgotten cache of 3.5″ backups in his closet.)

So, rather than do a Deathbounce Kickstarter (I don’t know what scares me more — that it might be a total bust, or that millions of dollars might pour in and then I’d HAVE to make it), I thought it would be simplest to just post the disk image here. This way, anyone who wants to play Deathbounce can.

Download1024 downloads

The cost of the cup of coffee I consumed while typing this post (regular, black) has been funded by the “first Kickstarter dollar” that someone handed me onstage after the talk, plus the five bucks the Penny Arcade security guy offered me to atone for his guilt for playing a pirated disk of Karateka as a kid in England 25 years ago. (Thanks, gentlemen!)

For those who don’t have an Apple II emulator at hand, here’s a short Deathbounce gameplay video, so you can see what you’ve been missing.

(To any programmers out there who’d like to take on the iOS/Android version: I have the source code. You know where to find me.)

See? Way easier than Kickstarter.

Posted on Apr 7, 2012 in Blog, Games, Karateka, Making Games, Old School | 15 comments

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  1. 4-7-2012

    I wrote an Apple II emulator in javascript. I can probably hack it up to play the game on the web and every mobile in html5 :)

  2. 4-7-2012

    Okay, got it working at 60fps in Javascript. Now mapping keyboard properly (A,D move, Right arrow shoots, why?)

  3. 4-7-2012


    Game is fully playable in glorious monochromatic green screen at

    Use with care!

  4. 4-7-2012

    @Gil — Whoa, that was fast!

    Re keyboard controls — It’s been 30 years, memory is hazy, but I think S (between A and D) is to stop rotating, left arrow thrust, right arrow fire, space bar = shield?

    Nice work!

  5. 4-8-2012

    I changed the key settings to left-right rotate, up thrusts, space shields and ‘A’ fires :)

    • 4-8-2012

      Still need a key to stop rotating. In this case I’d suggest “down.”

      Jeez… 30 years and I can’t stop tweaking.

  6. 4-8-2012

    Cool, excelent!!!

    Regards, Orison from Perú

  7. 4-8-2012

    A old school games!!! :)

  8. 4-9-2012

    I’m curious to know what else was in that shoebox. Anything shareable? Perversely, I’m grateful for the Apple II’s complete deadness as a platform since it means that all those online archives fly well under the radar – indeed, the radar doesn’t even exist for them.

  9. 4-16-2012

    Death Bounce is now on Virtual Apple ][ —

  10. 4-17-2012

    As a PAX attendee I can say I cheered with the best of them. I was waiting for this and I am glad I got to play it, definitely worth it. Well kind of. I’ll probably agree that it shouldn’t be published.
    What it I really like about it is that we can play the game at all. The sad fact that 3/4 or so of all silent films are lost makes the preservation of early games so important. I don’t think there are many people who will be doing auteur studies on you (for now), but this is needed to do it.

    Mostly though it’s just kind of cool and thanks to Gil Megidish or else I wouldn’t be able to play it.

  11. 4-12-2013

    Jordan, if you are still interested in an app version, drop me a private message. Could be a quick, fun project. jayeson _at_ titaniumstudios _dot_ com

  12. 5-28-2013

    Thanks for sharing… here is a java version that works in any browser

    Thanks again :)

    • 5-28-2013

      FYI: This is not my site… i just found the link

  13. 6-16-2014

    Très sympa ce post. Est-ce que vous êtes sur Twitter
    ? J’aimerais vous suivre pour ne pas rater les prochains.

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