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Level27Geek's picture
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Joined: 2017 Feb 25
Portal for 68k (no, not that Portal ;)

So, this is quite a long shot...

There is an interactive novel from 1986/7 released by Activision called Portal. It was released on bunch of the systems at the time (PC, Apple][, c64, Amiga) and apparently it also got an release on Macintosh (at least according to wikipedia and mobygames).

The problem is that I can't find any primary sources mentioning it - there aren't many magazines reviewing games on the Macintosh and the generic name doesn't help ("portal" defaults to Valve's game, and "activision portal" defaults to Skylanders). So I am hoping there are some copies floating around that I just don't know of.

Any leads would be more than welcome - I would love to experience the story in all of the high-res 1bit glory of the Macintosh.

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MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

According to the Wikipedia article, versions of the game for the Macintosh and Atari ST were announced and developed, but not published.

If so, this may be a difficult one to find...

The site "old-games.com has (what I assume to be) a DOS version for downloading. It also has some good screenshots for viewing.

Perhaps it would play on DOSbox? Not the same as in native 1bit mono I suppose, but judging by the screenshots, close.

Level27Geek's picture
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Joined: 2017 Feb 25

Thanks - yeah, it is a long shot. I was hoping the mac version might have surfaced somewhere in the past... maybe one day?

I already have the other versions, currently trying to turn the c64 one into a cartridge (as I think it is the best looking version available), so I don't have to disk swap Tongue The dos version runs in DOSbox with some fiddling (as it is a pc booter game). The resolution in the DOS version is kinda meh - this is why I would love the mac version Smile

Daxeria's picture
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Joined: 2009 Apr 8

Wikipedia is wrong. There's ample evidence that the Mac port saw release.

The Mac version is certainly rare (I've never once seen it on eBay), but an anecdote from the introduction to Preview 2001+: Popular Culture Studies in the Future points to one possible factor:

The first hypertext novel—Rob Swigart's Portal (1986)—was designed for that year's Apple Macintosh. A few months later the new model (Macintosh SE) appeared, and Swigart couldn't even run his novel.

Specifically, the January 1987 Computer Entertainer—one of the best sources for 1980s release dates—corroborates that Mac Portal was released in November 1986, just four months before the SE. Such an incompatibility would have caused quite a few (attempted) returns followed by negative word of mouth as time went on.

MacUser's October 1987 review doesn't mention any issues with the SE, so the bug may have been patched by that time. However, the review does mention copy protection that prevents installing to a hard disk, which presents another reason the Mac port hasn't surfaced in pirate or abandonware collections. (Neither have any methods for hacking the copy protection.)

Jatoba's picture
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Joined: 2018 Apr 16

Extremely high quality post. Quite a shame that collector isn't willing to try preserving that game "for all time" before its data is corrupted (if it isn't already).

Level27Geek's picture
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Joined: 2017 Feb 25

This is amazing detective work! Thank you for the time you put in.

At least we know for sure it was released. I will setup some ebay searches, maybe it will surface one day. Would love to donate it to be archived.

Edit: Looking through the above mentioned issue of MacUser, I managed to find a single screenshot on page 68. I love how it looks!

Screenshot of

adespoton's picture
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Joined: 2015 Feb 15

To add to this, I distinctly remember seeing a boxed Mac version on the shelf in 1990 when I picked up King's Quest II for Mac.