Author Topic: What was your first computer ?  (Read 9980 times)

Offline number six

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What was your first computer ?
« on: September 23, 2015, 11:14:06 PM »

Sadly, it was this.

I wanted a C=64 but they were too expensive at the time and this was on close out.

Actually, if you look at the Adam it wasn't a total wash. It was a pretty decent system.. nice amount of RAM for the time. Very similar to say an MSX based computer. It also played Coleco carts which was not a bad deal at all.

The tapes were monsterously slow to load but the game play was light years ahead of any cart based games at the time given all of the extra storage capacity they had.

Offline lordtakuban

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Re: What was your first computer ?
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2015, 08:28:22 AM »
I had a Color Computer 3 (CoCo3):

However, after seeing that pic, I MUST HAVE THAT EXPANSION!  I have expansions 1 and 2 (Atari and steering wheel not sure of the order right now).  Curses, you are going to cost me some money with your post.  hahahaha.

Offline VanManDan

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Re: What was your first computer ?
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2015, 09:19:13 AM »

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Offline PinPup

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Re: What was your first computer ?
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2015, 04:34:50 PM »
Atari 800XL. Bought a disk drive for it, thought it was the greatest thing going. Bought my brother the same for Xmas but with the slower tape drive, his best gift that year.
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Offline Niloc

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Re: What was your first computer ?
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2015, 06:40:42 PM »
Man, I wanted an Adam - the TV commercials were pretty convincing. Better still they made it look like it came with EVERYTHING - printer (did that printer even do color like the show in the ad?), separate keyboard (a luxury at the time) - and hey kids, it's actually a secret video game console too! Tell Mom & Dad it's educational! Never even saw one in person, much less had one.

First family computer was a TI-99/4A (featuring ads with Bill Cosby, spokes-rapist)

Actually pretty good for its time, though the software library was a bit limited. I found out years later that it had a 16bit CPU, which explains why it looked pretty good compared to the Atari 8-bit consoles & computers.

Towards the end of its life K-Mart was selling them for $49.99 to get rid of them, and Texas Instruments was still offering a $50 rebate. Not counting postage you actually came out 1 cent ahead in the deal if you were patient.

It was another hybrid computer/game console. Most games came on cartridges and some programs did too. I was like a savant in some of those games as a kid - Munch Man, the TI clone of Pac-Man where you shit out chain-links around the maze rather than eating pellets - at some point I could just play that indefinitely. In retrospect I don't think it was my skill - it was more that they just maxed out the CPU at the higher levels, so if you could master those the computer was literally incapable of running it any faster and making it any harder. It looped back around after level 99 but stayed fast.

It also featured the world's worst joysticks.

The pair was wired together - that wasn't so much a problem, but they were really uncomfortable to use too. As a kid I could even put up with that, but they literally wore out after about 4 hours of gameplay. Luckily you could get an adapter then use any standard 9-pin joystick, which we did after burning through a few sets.

We also had the optional "Speech Synthesizer" pictured above, which was pretty impressive for its time. The best game we had that supported it was Parsec, a side-scrolling space-shooter SHMUP which had a clear female voice that gave updates like "extra ship". It was digitized speech but you could also use it as a real speech synthesizer and have the computer speak anything you typed - though it was a lot less convincing than the digitized speech from games.

The full TI setup looked like this:

With the massive expansion box. Not sure what, if anything, actually went into that box other than the mighty full-height 5.25 floppy drives.
We never had any of that, way too expensive.

Like the Adam, we had tapes. Not a fancy purpose-built tape deck either, no it was one of these bad-boys:

Since it wasn't built specifically for the job, and since audio tapes just suck in general and REALLY REALLY suck as a method to store computer programs, you could spend a solid 15 to 30 minutes trying to load your 16KB program only to have it crap out at the end. Oh, looks like the "tone" wheel was adjusted wrong. How can you tell? You can't. Just have to blindly adjust it again, start the process over and hope for the best.

This was doubly annoying because by far the best game I had for the system was Tunnels of Doom. Tunnels of Doom was an early RPG and it was a hybrid cart/tape game - you had to have both, and I think the cart just added some extra RAM to the system because that one took even longer than average to load from tape. To the point where I developed a ritual - start the loading, go make a sandwich, cut up a pickle, etc. and it would be almost done by the time I had lunch ready.

It was a cool game, randomly generated dungeons like Rogue or Diablo - you could set the number of floors too to determine the length of the game. If you set it to more/harder there were neat bonuses like a gear shop hidden deep down in the dungeon. You could also choose a party of 4 characters or one "hero" class character who was basically all the classes rolled into one. The dungeon exploration was even in 3D (very basic 3D, but still), though the battles were in 2D overhead.

The thing that really amazes me thinking back on this is that my father, who these days asks questions like "How do I delete an email from my gmail?", was able to figure out both how to load programs from tape, and even save and re-load them from tape. He didn't really program anything but we both copied a bunch of programs out of computer magazines and typed them in - tedious as fuck since I couldn't touch-type back then (I was like 5 or 6 when we first got the TI) and he still can't.

« Last Edit: September 27, 2015, 08:04:51 PM by Niloc »

Offline Niloc

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Re: What was your first computer ?
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2015, 08:00:25 PM »
2nd family computer was a Laser 128:

Talked about that a bit in the Apple thread a while back. My Dad was a teacher so he was familiar with Apple stuff, and before they got Macs at his school they had Apple ][ computers - the Laser was an Apple ][ clone. Worked well for a clone and much cheaper than Apple. Had 128KB of RAM - hence the 128 in the name, which is about the max most Apple ][ systems ever had (except for the ][ GS) so it could run pretty much anything.

The first computer that was actually mine though was an Amiga 500:

My best friend growing up had an Amiga 1000 with all the bells & whistles (spoiled bastard) so I was already familiar with the Amiga. I knew about the A500 but they sold for right around $500. Far cheaper than the A1000 but still well out of my reach when I was 13 years old. I borrowed all his computer magazines though, and since I didn't have the computer to play with I read them cover to cover and learned a lot.

Then one day I saw a "going out of business" ad for MacDuffs - a kind of crappy electronics & appliances chain - and there was one within bicycle distance of my house. They were selling off their Amiga 500 stock for... $250 each? May have been $200. I had a little Christmas/Birthday money saved (too young to get a fast food job at the time) and managed to beg, borrow or steal the rest.

It was just the computer, came with a built-in 3.5 inch floppy & a mouse but that was it. Operating system software only. I was able to copy discs from my buddy, but for a monitor I had to use a composite-video monochrome amber monitor we used to use on the Laser 128. Eventually my parents took pity on me and got me a small, used, color TV when the next gift-day (birthday or Christmas) came up.

That one got me into BBSes - I got an Amiga 1200baud modem when they were clearing them out for $20 or so (1200baud was outdated and slow even back then - though I didn't find that out until later).

Computer stuff is really stupid-cheap these days by comparison. My current laptop - a low-end model to be sure - cost $250 brand new, but it gets the job done when I need it (for basic stuff) and of course the amount of power and everything it comes with (built in web-cam that I'll never use, etc.) is amazing compared to the old days.

Offline Niloc

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Re: What was your first computer ?
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2015, 08:09:35 PM »
One other thing - it didn't dawn on me until probably a solid decade later that Amiga is Spanish for Girlfriend.

So pretty much never stop cringing thinking back about all the people I must have told about "my Amiga" as a kid.

Also, depressingly kind of accurate - especially when I had the Amiga computer in my teenage years.

Offline bjones

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Re: What was your first computer ?
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2015, 10:13:22 PM »
my first 'computer' was a radio shack pocket computer.. then I got a timex sinclair 1000 and finally my first real computer in my Atari 400.

Offline Baiter

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Re: What was your first computer ?
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2015, 02:00:19 PM »
I originally was going to get the Atari 400/800XL but wound up canceling that pre-order for the C64.  I wound up using it primarily for a gaming and very casual programming, which in retrospect wasn't fully utilizing its potential, considering I never got a modem for it.  To say the floppy drive was an upgrade to the tape drive is like saying a Pantera is an upgrade from a K car.  :)
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Re: What was your first computer ?
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2015, 03:47:39 PM »
First computer was a Tandy 1000. Dual-5 1/4" floppy drives so you can keep your MS-DOS in the A: drive while you load Rogue in the B:, suckas!

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Offline JimB

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Re: What was your first computer ?
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2015, 04:05:45 PM »
The TRS-80

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Offline k7

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Re: What was your first computer ?
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2015, 10:55:07 PM »
the one I'm typing on now. recycling is phun.
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Offline HammysHangout ( Hammy )

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Re: What was your first computer ?
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2015, 11:04:55 PM »
timex sinclair | |

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Offline mcjeremy42

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Re: What was your first computer ?
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2015, 01:46:10 AM »
Commodore Vic-20, which I still have in the box along with Gorf and Omega Race.

Then, graduated to the Atari 600xl which was sold for an Atari 800xl, which I still have, you guessed it, in the box.

 I still have a crate full of Antics and a ton of discs and cartridges...Mule was my mom's favorite (along with an Antic game, Galactic Trader), while mine were Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Archon. 

First time I was online was using Compuserve and playing "You Guessed It", where anything you typed took 5 minutes to pop up on the screen.

Had an Atari 1080st through high school, which crapped out my freshman year.  I miss that computer...
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Offline Rich Jax

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Re: What was your first computer ?
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2015, 11:43:10 AM »
Vic-20 baby!!  I mowed a LOT of lawns that summer to pay for that bad-boy.