I cannot recall the exact form of advertising that hooked me: magazine, TV, billboard, or even a movie preview. But, it was around Christmas time that I told my parents I wanted a computer. It was a conscious decision I had come to, a decision of which I could not be swayed. I remember having quality time with my Dad every Sunday, when he would help me with my paper route. “Computers are the future.” he would say. “Well Dad it is time for my future now! Some day these things will change the world.” I would retort. And so I waited for that morning…
I got a Commodore VIC 20 that year. It came with a blinding fast tape drive, of which one could load and save programs! Just hit play, get in the family car, drive to the movie theatre and watch the matinee. Come back some two hours later and your program had loaded. Oh, but I did not care, it was magical! There was nothing I could not do with the computer, the only limiting factor was my imagination. I read through every page in the computer manual. Typed in every line of code I could find. I spent hours creating my own “Games” filled with racecars, spaceships, even “Choose your own path” ZORK based games. But it all started with these first few lines:
1 FOR X = 1 TO 255
2 POKE 36879, X
3 PRINT “* POKE 36789,” X
4 FOR T = 1 to 1000: NEXT T
5 NEXT X
The computer screen would ignite into a display of wondrous colors. “Look at that!” my family would say. “Look at what Dave made the computer do!”.
Over twenty years of passed as I sit here now and write this. Every piece of technology inside that computer has changed. But that little kid inside me, that wonder I felt when I first turned it on. That feeling has never left me. That vast open field of possibility as one sits at the keyboard is still here today. “Computers are the future” Dad would say.
Well Dad, here we are. It’s time to change the world. Let’s just be sure to bring along a faster tape drive this time.