Friday, October 7, 2011

Game Development Blog #62

Game Development Blog #62

"Back in the Day"

Well, this week has shaken the world of Nerd-dom to it's core apparently. The great Steve Jobs has passed onto the Great Beyond, and like so many of my generation, it's caused me to reflect momentarily on what men like him have done and how it's influenced our lives. I've seen more than a couple of blogs or Facebook posts this week where people recount the good (?) old days of their youth, when they first got exposed to the ol' personal computer. Guess here is my time to chime in, likewise.

Born in 1975, I was in grade school by the time the Apple ][+ was making the rounds (hey young whippersnapper, that was how it was supposed to be typed!) This giant beige-grey box with all these crazy ribbons leading out of it, plugging into the crappiest joysticks you ever saw, and the slowest/loudest printer you ever heard. I'm not sure which crossed my path first, computer or video game (I might have scored my Atari 400 at home a little earlier than laying my hands of the ][+ ), but it didn't matter. I was taken with the thing immediately, and started spending every recess cooped up in the classroom with this magical new device while all my peers were out in the schoolyard tossing around the pigskin. This didn't sit well with my teacher, of course, who enlisted the school guidance counselor to drag me away and figure out "what the heck was wrong with me?" (oh, if they only knew!) Regardless, I'll never forget that day in 5th grade when the school principal called my name out over the public address system in the middle of class one day, to come to his office and hook up the computer for him :P

Anyway, I had the bug and soon enough summer came and I needed to get my fix, I'd start "renting time" at the local public library and messing with the machines there. My parents took heed from all of this and ponied up $1k to buy me an Apple //c for my 11th birthday (yeah, I was a bit of a spoiled kid). Green monochrome monitor, Scribe printer.. no mouse (yet). I did finagle with BASIC and such a bit, and enjoyed it, but early on my brain decided that art was my forte much more than juggling with the numbers. I had my share of issues of COMPUTE! and Family Computing magazines, and I typed in plenty of those programs in the back.. but somehow

410 POKE 24,5
415 POKE 38,6
425 DATA 32,6,2,77,9,33,87,3,84,2,993,26,93,41,942,268,83,247,2,733,8343,7,16

wasn't all that appealing to me inthe long term. Besides, I got my hands on an NES and suddenly the //c looked absolutely primitive by comparison. In hindsight, I guess I shoulda maybe stuck with the programming, shrug..