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Interview: Marjory Kaptanoglu, author of the Macintosh System 7.5 Jigsaw App

The Macintosh was never really a gaming machine. Sure, there was the big hits like Marathon, Escape Velocity or Myst – the must-have games for Classic Macintosh owners – but there was one game that was probably played by more users of Macintosh System 7.5 than any other: Jigsaw Puzzle.

Jigsaw Puzzle had replaced a previous app that came with earlier versions of Macintosh’s System software called Puzzle, which was based around the sliding puzzle toys.

Jigsaw Puzzle’s predecessor: Puzzle (originally by Andy Hertzfeld)

For many Macintosh users Jigsaw Puzzle was the very first game they played on their machine. It was a simple affair: you could solve a jigsaw puzzle, with three levels of difficulty, and when you got bored, you could use pictures of your own to make your own puzzles.

We spoke to Marjory Kaptanoglu, the programmer behind System 7.5’s built-in game.

Marjory Kaptanoglu

“Though I majored in English in college, I also took several courses in computer programming, and when I graduated I began work as a programmer trainee at a traffic engineering company. Several years later, I applied to Apple Computer and they hired me to work in the system software group. As a result, I wrote the text-editing software for early versions of the Macintosh, including the first color Mac. I went on to code the text-editing portion of MacDraw II. I worked at Apple for six years.”

“Captain’s Software is the company I formed after leaving Apple. The name comes from my last name, which means “Captain’s son.” I was the founder and only employee and was therefore responsible for everything: designing and coding the software, packaging it, and marketing/sales. There were two products: the scaled down version of Jigsaw that I sold to Apple, and the full version which included a lot more features for creating and solving jigsaws.”

How did the Jigsaw puzzle end up bundled with the Mac operating system?

“I contacted someone I knew at Apple and we began negotiations. I forget what the previous bundled game had been, but they were ready for something new at that point, and since mine was completed and simple/fun to use as a desktop diversion, they were happy to make a deal.”

Can you recall why the default picture was a map of the world?

“That was Apple’s choice, and probably reflected their desire to be seen as a globally inclusive company.”

Why did you leave the software industry? 

“I left Apple and started my own company in order to spend more time at home with my newborn son. At that time, I didn’t expect to leave the software industry. But as an English major, I had always wanted to write, so I decided to try my hand at that after finishing with the Jigsaw puzzle software. I wrote screenplays for quite a few years and a number of my short scripts were produced by various filmmakers.”

Tell me about what you’re working on at the moment, or you most recent projects with writing. 

“The last few years I’ve transitioned into writing novels. As you may have guessed, I like doing things myself and have therefore indie published three of them: Dreadmarrow Thief (YA fantasy), Last Girl Standing (YA scifi), and Invader (scifi). Dreadmarrow Thief has won some awards and all three have been favorably reviewed. Marketing is the hardest part for me, but I love what I’m doing and will continue. I’m currently at work on a sequel to Dreadmarrow Thief and another brand new scifi novel.

Some people are surprised that I’ve had what they see as two very different careers. But to me they’re similar. Both involve the creation of something new, and both crafts rely heavily on structure. I feel fortunate to have been involved in two such satisfying and enjoyable pursuits.”


Thank you very much to Marjory for taking the time to answer our questions. You can find out more about Marjory’s writing on her website: www.marjorykaptanoglu.com and her new book Gravenwood – the sequel to Dreadmarrow Thief is currently available to pre-order on Amazon for $2.99


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