Monday, 17 October 2016

A Personal Computer History (1) : Introduction to the 8-bit world

In this new series i will talk and reminisce about my adventures with computers. Mostly in the olden days but we will briefly touch upon the present day. Lets start in the late 1970s when the world was getting turned onto the microcomputer world.

Like many people my introduction to computers was via video games. I was bought a pong system in the late 1970s by my parents and delighted in hitting little blocks on the screen with slightly bigger blocks. My system was a Grandstand 3600 and had a number of games including squash and hockey though they were all slight variations of the classic pong set-up. There were also a couple of target shooting games which used a light sensor in a pistol to tell if you were firing at the block moving across the screen or not. It did work pretty well and indeed the system itself was fine.

I still have it safely stored away in the loft hough have not used it properly for many years. The gun has long gone (i found playing with it as a "normal" toy gun more fun to be honest and eventually it was destroyed) but both paddle controllers still exist.
Genesis of my videogame history

In the box

I've never been that much of a gamer to be honest though still enjoy some bit bashing now and then. The Grandstand did work the last time i tried it though the video signal was a bit fragile.

A bit later i also had a couple of hand-held video game toys including an Astro Wars which i have also still got and a tiny LCD game my cousin bought me in Hong Kong. I don't have that anymore but it involved flipping pancakes. One console i didn't have but i always wished i did was an Atari 2600. I finally bought one on eBay in the late 1990s. Its lying unused in the loft too though!

However fun as they were the time for games was over, it was time to get an actual microcomputer... and play games on one of those instead! To be continued...