Collecting, Retro gaming

A bit from my personal collection – Bop-A-Bet, Sierra’s rarest boxed game?

Developed by Al Lowe in 1982 and published by Sierra On-Line in 1983, Bop-A-Bet is a educational computer game, which teaches letter recognition and alphabetisation. Unlike many Sierra titles from that period, which were developed for a multiple array of system architectures, Bop-A-Bet were only released for the Apple II platform and I think this was Al and Sunnyside Soft’s second game – the first one being Dragon’s Tale which to my knowledge was the only title actual to be released by Sunnyside Soft.

Al and his partner Mike MacChesney, which were from the same neighbourhood and both worked at local schools, started Sunnyside Soft, where they developed educational games for the Apple II platform. Al was head of programming and his wife Magaret was the woman with the ideas. Mike was the one working with the graphics and his wife, Rae Lynn also worked on ideas for the games.
-If you look closely at the cover, that’s the four names from above, that can be seen.

Sunnyside Soft developed three Apple II games, Dragon’s Keep, Troll’s Tale and Bop-A-Bet. Ken and Roberta Williams of Sierra On-Line liked the games and how they looked and got the rights to publish them in 1983.
As we all probably know Al Lowe started working at Sierra On-Line and had great succes with the Leisure Suit Larry series, Sierra’s Disney adventure The Black Cauldron and of course later on Freddy Pharkas (just to name a few). Al Ended up working for Sierra for 16 years.

I might be opening up a can of worms here but to my experience this is probably one of the rarest boxed Sierra On-Line game (counting On-Line Systems, SierraVision and SierraVenture). In my over 15 years of serious collecting (and owning pretty much every single Sierra boxed released) this is the only example I have seen besides the one copy The National Museum of Play has in their collection.
Not a lot of info nor pictures to be found online.

Many would probably argue that Ultima Escape from Mt. Drash is rarer, in my opinion that is actually not true, I’ve seen 6-7 copies of Mt. Drash…. buuut the story of Mt. Drash is of course way more exciting and fascinating and the fact it has Ultima in it’s title is enough to make it importing -even thou it has nothing to do with Richard Garriot (he did give his acceptance for Sierra to use the name) or the Ultima series in any other way. Sierra On-Line wanted to benefit from the Ultima brand name, which makes a lot of sense from a business point of view.

OF COURSE ALL WRITTEN ABOVE ABOUT RARITY, IS FROM MY OWN EXPERINECE, I DO NOT KNOW HOW MANY COPIES BOP-A-BET SOLD AND HOW MANY STILL EXIST TODAY – I’M SURE IT’S TREASURED IN COLLECTIONS AROUND THE WORLD AND HOPEFULLY MORE WILL SUBMERGE WITH THEIR OWN STORIES AND PICTURES TO TELL.
I KNOW THAT THERE’S QUITE A FEW VERY RARE SIERRA RELEASES OF DIFFERENT TITLES BUT MY CLAIM IS AS TITLE ALONE.

This copy was Al’s personal copy and obtained by me last year, the item is signed and is one of my absolute favourites in my Sierra Collection.

 

 

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