Fish Scales, Designed by Neosoft, Published by DLM. Apple ][ Educational software

Title: Fish Scales
Publisher: Designed by Neosoft, Published by DLM
Copy protected: Yes

An archive of this software including EDD, clean patched .DSK and screenshots can be found here:

Fish Scales title crop

This blog post represents dedication to nostaligia and networking.

I’ll take my memory back to Macquarie Primary School where computer time was allowed when it rained.  There was a box of 5 1/4″ floppy disks that I worked my way through with Fish Scales capturing my imagination because it made the computer sing.  As a child the feedback from pressing a few keys and making tunes play on the loud Apple //e was fun, and it was the colourful graphics that stayed with me as my only memory of this game.

Collecting the Macintosh computer was my entry to vintage computing and the fact I had so many older computers around me was causing almost flashback like memories of the computers I had used growing up and the fun I remembered.  Fish Scales came to me while waiting at traffic lights, there was a man wearing a bucket and a measuring tape in my mind – that was it.  Later that day I remembered the title – Fish Scales.

With no Apple II hardware or connections to the well-conneected Australian II scene, I found a thread on the Vintage Computing Forum (VCF) where people were posting Apple II game requests with replies usually having links to disk images.  I asked about Fish Scales but never recieved a reply with a disk image.

Interestingly there are bibliographic listings at the Australian Trove database for this game but no holdings of the physical disk.  Readers of this blog may remember my posting of ~66 disk images of mostly Australian Apple II content – it was that box of disks where I anxiously flipped through each one looking for Fish Scales.

It wasn’t there!

Fast forward to WOzFest $04 where Sean had told the commnuity he had an EDD workflow ready for us to use.  Leslie Ayling brought a selection of his Apple II software for imaging and I happened to take a peek at a few disks in the bag.  Recognisable titles including MicroZine.  I didn’t look further becuase I get a little shy.  Anyway later that night the disks were out of the bag and I went through them only to find, FISH SCALES.

leslies disks

I grabbed my laptop and found the VCF thread from 2014 to show Leslie that I was genuine in looking for this title.  He happily loaned it to me for later imaging.  The disk boots and can be read without error, even more luck ‘it was meant to be’!

vcf post 2014.jpg

This game makes great use of colour artefacts to give blue skies, skin tone and more the title screen and graphics within.  Emualting the game or playing it on an RGB IIgs doesn’t do the colours justice at all.  An Apple IIe with ColourComposite monitor gives almost completely different results.  The fishermans arms are different, the sky is different and so on.

OpenEmulator emulates not only an Apple ][ Plus, but the accessories such as a composite CRT monitor too.  It gives unprecendted control to the user over adjustments to monitor emulation which include tweaks such as Luma Bandwidth, Scanline level, Shadow mask dot pitch and many more.

Tweaked personal Color Composite device settings.jpg

With the real AppleColor Composite Monitor IIe next to my laptop, I played with the sliders until I had OpenEmulator looking very close to the real thing.  My findings visually shown here with a photograph of the AppleColor, a Virtual ][ emulation and a tweaked OpenEmualtor (barrel effect disabled):

AppleColor-Composite-Monitor-IIe-Virtual-][-Tweaked OPenEMulator-showing-Fish-Scales-by-Neosoft-comparison-of-colour.jpg

Now for some screenshots of the game running in OpenEmulator with my tweaks:

Fish Scales 1Fish Scales 2Fish Scales 3Fish Scales 4

Other details:

National Bibliographic Database (ANBD) – Full view
Record ID:
Title: Medium: Published (imprint): Description:
Series: Summary:
Other authors:
9368860 (National Bibliographic Database (ANBD))
Fish scales / designed by Neosoft.
[electronic resource] Allen, Tex. : DLM, 1985.
1 computer disk (Apple II) + 1 booklet, 1 sheet ; in box 24 x 16 x 2 cm.
Early childhood software Early childhood software
Helps children learn how to measure for height, length and distance and make comparisons.
For Apple II+, Apple IIe, or IIc with 48K memory, a disk drive, and a monitor or TV (preferably with colour).
Includes bibliographies.
Mensuration — Computer-assisted instruction.
France — Politics and government — 1945-1958.


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