The Computer Nostalgia Thread

As a kid I actually did this - downloaded a game over the radio:

It got me thinking, we need a Mudspike ‘What was my first computer / internet’ nostalgia thread - I love chatting about this sort of stuff, with thick rose-colored optics.

My first home PC was a ZX81 1K from WH Smiths (a sort of general store that most UK highstreet’s had). It cost about £100 and was a lot of money at the time. I had lusted after kits of the ZX80 but could never get the money together in terms of allowance. I basically had to promise a life long commitment to chores and servitude to my poor confused parents for this exorbitant Xmas present, who were sure it was just some sort of calculator that hooked up to the TV.

My interest was much more cynical that using it for math, it was really for ‘games’. I grew up in a seaside town that had arcade machines, so was lucky enough to be around at a very early age as the black & white space invader machines appeared. I was pretty besotted and spent coins like crazy. My school did have a couple of CP/M machines, but getting time on them was pretty hard (bigger kids with sharp elbows) and the exercises always so dull, so my dream was that the ZX81 would allow me my very own arcade at home - no more running out of 10 pence pieces!

Christmas day started at about 4AM, with my parents getting an early look at how bad an overall idea this was. I hooked it up to a black and white portable TV (basically a goldfish bowl shape with a screen) and made a start. About 29 hours later I think I passed out. I woke and threw up apparently. Good times.

I mainly played ‘1K Chess’ which came on a tape and took 10 minutes to load. I’ve subsequently realized 1K Chess was a sequence of about 672 numbers that, put in a certain order, was actually better at chess than me. :smile:

I was hooked.

What was your first home computer or first ‘going online’ time like?

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That’s cool. My first computer was a TSR-80…this type:

My uncle gave it to me back in the early 80s. It had the tape cassette drive and had that early AI program “ELIZA” that I used to have fun with.

My uncle worked for the Skunk Works and his gift of that computer drove me into computers, sims, and ultimately, aviation. My follow on computer was (of course) a Commodore 64.

Man…just seeing that picture of the TRS-80 gives me goosebumps. That tube screen used to draw down to a hot white dot when you turned it off… Ah…memories…


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Ah, those tapes. I remember that nice ‘press record and play’ button mechanical interlock they used to have on those. The program loading used to work about 50% of the time. The ZX81 made this nice zebra pattern on the TV (it had no sound) that after a while you could almost recognize the program loading from the shapes (heh The Matrix!).

That TR-80 looked pretty good. You had a keyboard, which must have been nice. The first couple of ZX machines just had a printed membrane that you had to press really hard or put a nail into…