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Thursday 23 August 2012

Happy 30th Birthday Commodore 64

I feel all nostalgic about my first computer, the Commodore 64 turning 30 this month (granted, part of that is further realisation that my big 4-0 is only a few months away).

I LOVED my C64. Not in the same way as I love my Air or my iMac but an immature 'Jackie' or 'Blue Jeans' stylie.
I knew I was getting it yet I was elated to see it sitting under the tree on that Christmas morning in 1983. 
The large box had been there for a week, it had been burning a hole through my being. I'd ticked off the slow, lonely hours till we could be together. It was painful.

Come 5am, Christmas morning I tore open the paper and sat stroking the box. I was so excited at what lay before me. The knowledge that time spent inputting syntax would result in my name running across the screen was almost too much to bear.

Thankfully my big brothers were on hand to take over. TV tuned, we were ready to go. My first experience on my very own computer was to be a game of Damsels in Distress.
We put in the cassette and waited and waited and waited for the game to load. There was a cheer when the welcome screen came alive about an hour later. I was blown away by the picture before me.

Commodore 64 Damsels in Distress
Like seriously impressed. You young people don't even think about going there...
I'd never seen anything so awesome.

For those of you un familiar with the classic game of Damsels in Distress you are the dude at the top left of the screen and you have to make your way to save your damsel at the bottom right of the screen.

It's not rocket science but you have to outwit ghosts, scary spiders and get down ladders. It's hardcore stuff in early '80's gaming terms. You are risking life and limb to save this girl! Its serious and really, really hard because after a full day of game play my brothers and I still hadn't got past the first level... (Disclaimer: This would not be the case now and we would totally have kicked ass in modern gaming terms....)

They packed me off to bed, promising that they wouldn't stay up all night playing without me.

They lied.

Boxing day morning 6am and I was fresh as a daisy and raring to go.  I was refreshed and ready to trash the spider and the ghost. I rushed downstairs to my computer, switched on the power and got a big fat NOTHING. 

Commodore 64 Game Over

My brothers lied to me. Not only had they stayed up to save the Damsel (and failed, like a complete pair of losers) but they'd also forgotten to switch off the C64's power pack, which had gone into gaming overload and totally given up the ghost. GAME OVER.

No big deal you would think, call the store, get it sorted, but this was 1983 and shops didn't open on Boxing Day. 

Zip forward 30 years and I've just about forgiven my brothers for frying my pride and joy but I also can't thank them enough for instilling their own excitement in modern technology in me, their (much) younger sister. Without their influence and excitement I would never have gone on to achieve the things that I have in social media.

So Happy Birthday Commodore 64 and happy memories to all the other Commodore Christmas kids of 1983.

Commodore 64 is 30

According to Wikipedia, sales of the C64 totalled between 12.5 and 17 million units, making it the best selling single personal computer model of all time.

I like that. A lot!
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