Confessions of a Software Geek

Ramblings and rumblings about my many worlds of geekdom.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Commodore Computers

My first real experience with a "commercially" available computer was when my Dad bought a VIC-20, I don't recall the exact year but must have been around 1983 or so. It was definitely kind of limited -- only 5K of RAM, no floppy drive, programs loaded from cassettes. But it was a "real" computer. You could write your own programs on it -- in Basic.

About a year later, I got the much improved C-64 for Christmas, and then a floppy drive for my birthday. It was great. It had pretty cool graphics (for the time), ran games from cartridge and from floppy, had about 40K of usuable RAM. I wrote my first text adventure called "Thuria" on it, in Basic. Also I learned how to write assembly code for its 6502 microprocessor. I even took it to college with me during my senior year (there'll be more about college computing in a future post). Later on I got the GEOS software package -- sort of a Mac like GUI interface and Office application suite. Pretty cool, but it ran kind of slow.

A few years ago I started collecting old computers. I actually still have my original C-64 and all the other associated peripherals, software, etc. And have since picked up some of the variant machines including a C-16 and a Plus-4. Still looking for a C-128 and the portable SX-64. Now I have kids of my own and of course they are interested in computers, but it's hard to get them to see these old machines and understand what kind of impact they had on a young mind at the time of their introduction. These days the "PC" is so ubiquitous and so ultra-capable that it's hard to realize that things weren't always so. I guess the ready access to such things as the WWW, Internet gaming, chat, etc., will have its own impact on the young minds of today. We will see...