WDP – My First Computer
My first computer was the Commodore 64 (C-64) built and sold by Commodore Business Machines. It was the successor to the Commodore Vic-20 and the Commodore PET that I used in the computer science lab at my High School. I remember having to punch cards to write our first program on the PET. A ball that dropped from left, bounced three or four times before rolling off the right side of the screen. Once that was done we got to program using the keyboard although most of us just snuck in copies of the adventure word game Miser. I also had a friend who owned a Vic-20 and based on his experience I convinced my parents that I needed one of these new and improved 8-bit machines for Christmas.
I remember the big breakthrough in graphics that the Commodore 64 brought to the computing arena. The term used to describe the programming marvel was sprites. Essentially it was the first time that objects, characters, etc could move past each other fluidly in a computer video game. before the C-64 it was one character against a static background only. I know what a stunning breakthrough for the time considering the open 3D worlds we play in today.
For all that computing power all I ever did was play an Olympic Sports game and Tank Battle. Tank Battle was literally two tanks on opposing hills with randomly generated terrain between them and a wind strength and direction indicator across the top of the screen Each player took turns setting the angle of the turret pitch and the firing strength in an effort to blow your opponent’s tank up first.
Every now and then someone tries to resurrect these things and I am sure they stoke some sort of nostalgia in the people who buy them. My friend who I mentioned earlier who owned the Vic-20, C-64 and the last of the Commodores, the Amiga now seeks these antiques out and restores them as his hobby. Me, I just write flash fiction on WordPress using a modern computer or smartphone!
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