I was recently tagged by a couple fellow bloggers to write about my first computer. I guess I’m unclear on what I should be writing about though since I’m not sure what piece of equipment from the 1980s fits that bill for me. Was it the Atari 2600 gaming console? Technically it was a computer. Was it my Atari 800? I did have a cartridge that could be loaded into it for BASIC; I only used the QBert cartridge though. I do believe I may have written a HELLO WORLD program at one point, but it probably did not say “Hello World”. I’m sure that the 14 year old me had it saying something about “Boobies” or “Beer”. Perhaps it was the Apple 2E (or was it a 2C)? Again, I don’t remember much about that computer other than the fact I could play around with cool fonts and play a game called DROL while listening to The Police, Genesis, and Rush in my parent’s basement.
I guess I’d have to choose the Atari 800.
Besides QBert I also remember a kick-ass game (well, for the time) called Telengard. After loading both sides of a cassette tape into the computer, you played a D&D-like game. I don’t remember the graphics being as good as what I saw when I Googled the screen shot below, but I could not refuse including it; my name was in the screen shot. Apparently all nerds in 1982 were named Tim.
I remember fondly the many hours I hung out in my room at my computer card table desk drinking potions, fighting Skeletons, reading Playboys, drinking pilfered beer, watching MTV, and finding gold. I remember my best friend, Scott, had a Commodore 64 and we would have friendly discussions about whose piece of shit computer was better. Mine had better games; his actually computed. Scott would win every argument though; he was born in 1967. For those of you who do not understand the reasoning, it was really easy to change a “7” to a “2” on a driver license in Michigan back then. The guy who could buy liquor under age for his friends had the upper hand in any argument.
Eventually I moved up to a PC. I think a Compaq. 40mb hard drive, Windows 3.1. That was my first computer in University. I remember thinking I’d never be able to fill a hard drive that size! I guess when you were dealing with portable media you could double the capacity of with a paper punch, you would think that way.
Since then it’s been the latest this, the newest that. Desktops have gone by the wayside; we still have one in the home but it’s my youngest son’s and he usually ends up on one of the 4 other laptops we have in the house. It will not be that surprising when, in 30 years he sits in front of some unimaginable machine he controls with brain waves and downloads his thoughts into it about his first computer and its archaic keyboard and its having only 128GB of RAM and how you still had to email someone instead of sending them a mind bullet.
Atari, D&D, Billy Ocean and Duran Duran on MTV, parachute pants and mullets. It’s amazing any child of the 80s went on to reproduce.