Retro Computing. Ahhhhh….the memories!

Recently spotted on the BoingBoing.net website…

….RETRO COMPUTING ADS!  Check ’em out.

Awesome stuff, really, and it brings me back to the “good ol’ days” when computing was much simpler in some ways, and (of course) a whole lot more difficult in other ways!

Back in the early 80s, my family owned a MicroAge franchise computer store in Anchorage, Alaska.  My Dad sold cutting-edge computers at the time.  The IBM PC, the PC Jr, the Commodore 64, and, of course, the VIC-20, which is picture above.  Harddrives?  Bah.  Dual low-density floppy drives was all you *really* needed.  Honestly!  Color monitor?  Sure… as long as you only need 1 color: green or orange (amber).

Hmmm…what else can I remember?

<insert wavy lines onto screen as I slip into a dream sequence…>

  • Playing Moon Dust on our Commodore 64.  I never really did understand that game, but it had a schwanky cartridge!
  • Entering code by hand from Byte magazine for hours (and hours) with my brother so that we could play awesome games like Graveyard Charlie.  The goal?  Don’t run into a gravestone before you exit the cemetery.  The trick?  You can’t see *anything* except when the lightning strikes.  Scary!
  • Playing and designing levels for Lode Runner!  So cool…
  • Writing a *secret* phone book with my good friend Aaron (Sprinkle) where we would enter in girls from school and give them a “rating” of how cute we thought they were!  I know, I know — pretty tasteless.  We were in junior high, for crying out loud!  The phone book was password protected, I’ll have you know!
  • The early versions of Castle Wolfenstein!  No 3D stuff here, kids!!  Hmmm…the box artwork was always a LOT cooler than the actual game.  Hmph.
  • Writing a text-based adventure game with my good friend Bob (Luton).  It was called “Nightmare at McMurray Junior High” and we never got very far.  It could’ve sold millions of copies, though!
  • Putting the phone onto the modem cradle — a la WarGames!
  • Load “*” ,8,1
  • Other awesome games like: Impossible Mission, Racing Construction Set, Zork, Karateka, Hard Hat Mack, Dream House, and so many others…

</end dream sequence>

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9 Responses to “Retro Computing. Ahhhhh….the memories!”


  1. 1 Matt Swann August 11, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    My first computer was an SX-64, so fond memories here as well. Don’t forget Print Shop! And GEOS! SID! Sprites! Cutting a notch in floppies so you could flip them over and use the other side… not to mention disk-swapping in general (“Insert Disk 2”). The Loadstar ‘zine and all the cool demoscene apps from Style et al. Dot-matrix printing. Long, long load times. F-15 Strike Eagle. Summer Games. etc etc etc.

    I’ve got a closet full of C=64/128 gear I should dust off again…

  2. 2 yipcanjo August 11, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    So true, my friend. So true. And I’d forgotten about the notch-in-the-floppies trick. How awesome was that?! 🙂 “Summer Games” could really give your fingers a workout!

  3. 3 Angelica August 11, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    For more retro flashbacks visit http://www.getback.com... fun times!

  4. 4 Marcus Taylor August 12, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    I don’t even remember what our first computer was, honestly. I just remember playing games like Civilization, Ultima Underworld, Warcrafts 1 and 2… though as junky as our computer was at that point, I just focused on console gaming. We didn’t even have the internet until probably 1999 or around there.

    Now I have my Macbook, and a broadband wifi connection, so I’m happy.

    So what is your current computer setup?

  5. 5 yipcanjo August 12, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    Believe it or not, I’m still running an older Dell workstation at home. 2.4ghz (single-core), 2gigs of RAM, Western Digital Raptor 72gig 10k RPM drive, and a 19″ LCD. Nothing special, to be honest, but Vista runs great on there!

  6. 6 Marcus Taylor August 12, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    Hey, if it works, it works! So have they worked out that stuff that people were complaining about concerning Vista or was there even a real problem in the first place? Again, I’m a Mac user, so I’m outta the loop on the whole Windows business.

  7. 7 yipcanjo August 12, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    Ha ha! I guess that depends on who you ask. 🙂

    To be honest, it really appears to be more of a “perception” issue than anything. The MojaveExperiment website shows that somewhat too. People got it into their minds — whether by word-of-mouth, Apple ads, or who knows what — that Vista was buggy, bad and slow. Then I’d *actually* install if for someone and they’d say stuff like, “hey… I like this!”.

    Personally, I’ve had very, very, very few issues with Vista on my home PC. Certainly less than XP, and it works well for what we do! 🙂

  8. 8 obsysteme August 5, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Vintage computers are awesome… more people should get into retro-computing, that way… high-demand could see the manufacture of some of the classic models.

    It’s no joke, For example, the Commedore 64 has been reverse-engineered and you can now buy a commodore 64 manufactured in 2010 (but saddly, not in the same esthetic casing).

    Some of these old computers are really offering an “environment” you can’t really reproduce on modern computers. And many of those games requiring 5k to 64k of ram are actually loads more fun then the current “cinematic-crammed” games.

  9. 9 obsysteme August 5, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Might I add that sure, there are emulators… but nothing feels like real hardware plugged into a TV (never mind monitors) LOL!


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