Sunday, 29 April 2012

Computers in my Life - Nerd from Birth - Part 4

So where are we now in my journey of computing? Ah I think the nineties.


The nineties were filled with great things for me. I discovered alternative music, wargaming, roleplaying games, Vampire the Masquerade and of course .... nope... not girls. I wasn't the cool.


Around that time friends had consoles like the Sega Mega Drive, and then the Playstation. Weekends were spent playing games like Tekken, Resident Evil 2 and lots of Golden Eye on a set up with a N64, two tvs, a tv splitter, and some paper put across the upper or lower part of the screens for team play. Add to the mix games of Magic the Gathering and of course tv shows like Buffy, Angel and Stargate.


Now I never had a console. My parents weren't that flush with cash. But we did get a PC. Now at school they had PCs and so I was already used to using Word and Excel and of course a little bit mroe programming, but nothing major. In fact high school used to have a whole load of BBC computers before the switch over.

Now this was I guess the new world for computing. We got a PC, and then it wasn't long until it was connected to the net. Yeah, or course I used it for home work. But there was more. Chatrooms and forums and fan sites.

So via the PC I found more sites devoted to the goth alternative asthetic, I found White Wolf fan sites and the old online gaming chat forums. And of course there was some gaming to be had. Diablo 2, Mech Warrior and a few others.

Needless to say the PC was a important part of my life it helped me discover so many things that went on to shape who I am now.


Oh and dial up? What the fuck was that!


Yeah I wanted to be one of these guys!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Computers in my Life - Nerd from Birth - Part 3 @rustyrockets

As a brief aside, here is a great piece by Russel Brand from his series 'Ponderland'. The series in general is excellent, and some of the observations are hilarious. In particular in this episode he comments on how computers and cellphones have changed. Note this was him joking about how cellphones have changed our lives, and this was recorded before smartphones had arrived.


Anyway the clip itself is about the ZX Spectrum. Fortuantely the Amiga 500 didn't sound like it was shitting out bees when loading games. Enjoy.



Friday, 27 April 2012

Computers in my Life - Nerd from Birth - Part 2

The Amiga 500 - and others.


So last time I quickly blogged about the pong computer console. My memories of it are that it has a certain chemical smell to it. The white plastic had yellowed quickly with time. And of course it was heavy. Very heavy.

Now other friends at primary school had computers. One had the ZX Spectrum, and another had an Amstrad. My cousins had of course an Atari 520 ST (or something of that brandfrom around that time). Another friend had the Commodore 64.

But one Christmas, I think 1991 as I was 7, my parents got for my sister and myself the Amiga 500 Screen Gems pack.

Holy shit.




It had games based on movies (Nightbreed, Back to the Future Part 2, Days of Thunder), another game called Shadow of the Beast 2. Fuck these were hard games to play. Even mroe so when you only have a mouse.

Other things included we Delux Paint 2 which was quite impressive for what it could do. To be able to create images on a colour screen was amazing.

Now of course it had attachements that would allow you to output to the TV and video. So in theory you could do video editing with it.

Of course it only had 512k of RAM, but we did get it an upgrade to a full meg of Ram (how fucking stupid does that sound in this day an age). But it did mean there were more games to play with it. Mortal Kombat was a favourite. So too was Worms, and even Dune 2, a legendary precusor to Command and Conquer.


At the time there were numerous Amiga magazines that came out, with freeware and demo games. Furthmore we also got books that let us program out own games for it. Yes I really did this. At the age of 8 I knew what a go to loop was. Amiga Basic was my first true foray into programming.

Now at school they did have a BBC Acorn computer. It of course ran off tapes and cartirdges. But compared to the Amiga it seemed dated.

Some fun facts about the Amiga 500 and the 500 + which a friend got a year later.

Some games would not run using a meg of RAM. You had to turn the Ram off... physically.

Also some games would not run on the 500 + because of this issue. More funny was that some games would not run on the 500 + because.... the 500 + had a real 1000 bits of ram. Yes, not 1024, but 1000. Hmmm...

We also got a printer for it. A dot matrix printer. Remember how those seemed to grind paper out. Almost like some small animal was chiselling it out of stone like it was the Flintstones.

I think some of the craziest things I remember about it was that I once did fully max out it's ram. I borrowed from school Delux Paint 3D. Yeah 3D mofos! And so tried to do some animating with it. Yeah. You see to do that you really need more RAM or some form of storage to write out to.

Now I think, at the time, the bundle my parents was around £500. That is a lot of money for the time.

In retrospect I have found memories of this machine. I think it taught me a lot, and got me into computer gaming. As far as device life time it last a good long while before my parents bought a PC. I know they still have the amiga packed away. I wonder how much it would go for? Fuck all it seems. Hmmm.... a quid for a Amiga plus extras, and £15 postage.... bargin!




Computers in my Life - Nerd from Birth

So I though this was interesting as it all relates to how I became me, a goth, gamer, podcaster, and computational chemist and programmer. Also Gamerati posted something on google plus where they showed an old gaming system. And it made me think. I have been in contact with gaming machines since birth. So here starts my computer journey.




Above is the Tele-Partner. I think this is what my parents had, perhaps even still have in storage. It certainly looked quite similar to this. Really when I think about it I'm quite surprised they even had something like this. It's as old as me. I do even remember playing with it. Needless to say back in 1988 this was quite a novelty.

Now we didn't have the light gun, so we could only play the pong games.


Next up - Amiga 500 - Birth of a programmer.