During KansasFest, we asked 11 year old Ian Marks to write about his KansasFest experience. This was Ian’s first time attending the conference with his mother, Giselle Marks. The adults weren’t the only ones having a good time with their Apple II computers.
This was my first year at K-Fest. I think that it has been the most interesting thing I have ever done. What I liked the most about K-Fest was how kind and generous everyone was to me. Everyone was so helpful, and I think that made the difference. It was the most fun that I have ever had.
The first thing I went to was the keynote speech by Burger Becky. It was a very interesting story of how she got away from her parents to become a famous programmer. Having abusive parents is difficult, but she still managed to make it. My favorite part of the story was when she won the Atari game tournament by a long shot. I hope I get to see her again at K-Fest next year.
The next thing I did was make a string bracelet with Loren Damewood. This is where everybody started being so generous, because he let me do it for free. Later, Loren helped me download Sweet16. Someone else let me use one of the ROM files he had, and Loren gave me a disk image. It was cool being able to use an Apple //’s software on a modern computer. I was also able to try out real Apple // computers, and Jeremy Moskowitz gave me my first very own Apple //e!
Late that evening, I played Bite the Bag. Everyone thought I was going to win, but I didn’t make it far! I will have to practice to get more experience. All the same, they were kind enough to award me a prize for playing for the first time, and I chose a Juiced GS subscription from Ken Gagne.
Assembling a radio kit
The next day, I did soldering. I was making a radio. I didn’t finish my project on the first day, but when I did finish it, I didn’t have any batteries. Greg Nelson kindly donated a 9 Volt battery from his camera flash for me to use. It worked! I also participated in the game tournament. I played Little Red Bug and FlApple Bird. I didn’t do very well in Little Red Bug, but I placed third in FlApple Bird.
Playing Dagen Brock’s FlApple Bird in the game tournament
The next day, I went to the session where they had eight Apple //s playing music in harmony. I can imagine that it was very difficult to put that together! After that, there was the group photo. One of the photographers had us point at him with expressions of horror on our faces! He said he would edit something into the photo later! Then, I went downstairs to eat pizza. Mark LaPlante had some cool posters that he had brought specially for us kids from NASA, where he works – he donated them to me and Christian Schmenk. I went to see the winners of the door sign contest. In the door sign contest, people customize their doors. One of the winners was Carrington Vanston. His door sign was my favorite, because it was a game! You chose a card, which led to another card, and so on, until you reached an end card.
Ian and Mark LaPlante showing NASA mission posters
Playing Carrington Vanston’s adventure game
After that, I hung out in the lobby of the dorm where we were staying for a while. I enjoyed talking to Sean Fahey, who was also very helpful. Ms. Sarah gave me an extra Apple // computer ornament kit she had. I would have had to pay for it, but she kindly gave it to me for free. I haven’t finished it, and I probably won’t finish it for a while, but I will get it done eventually! After starting on the ornament, I went to the vendor fair they had in the basement. Dagen Brock, the maker of FlApple bird was selling copies of the game. I was interested in buying a copy, so I went up to the table and asked how much it would cost. He had decided that since I placed third in the tournament, I could have a copy for free!
On the last day, we went to see the movie Ant-Man. K-Fest was so fun! Before we left, I tried to say thank you to everyone who had helped me. I hope to go again, and I can’t wait to see what will happen next year!