Sleepaway Camp for a 38-Year-Old Computer

When did you get rid of your last computer or cell phone? It was probably pretty recently—we replace our technology all the time. But it’s not this way for everyone: A contingent of diehard retro computing enthusiasts are still programming, hacking, tinkering with, and playing games on the Apple II, a 38-year-old computer originally released in 1977.

And every July, about 70 of these diehards head to Rockhurst University in Kansas City for KansasFest, a conference dedicated exclusively to all things Apple II. More accurately, it’s kind of like a sleepaway camp. For six days, the 70-or-so attendees will eat together, sleep in the same dorm, chug mountain dew to stay awake, and hack away at these things.

I visited KFest, as it’s affectionately known, to see why anyone would ever want to keep using a computer that’s coming up on its 40th anniversary.