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What Was Your First Computer?

commodore vic20 What Was Your First Computer?

Yes, this is a football blog. And no, this post isn’t very football-related, but it’s something that we all have in common. We’ve all, at one time or another, used a computer to surf the Internet and visit EPL Talk. So I thought it’d be interesting to hear from you, the readers, what your first computer was so we can get a better idea of how far we’ve all come.

The idea for the story came up after I had a conversation on Twitter the other night with EPL Talk reader Azbats. I noticed he had an avatar that sported an image from an old Commodore Amiga bouncing ball demo. And the conversation developed from there.

For me, my first personal computer was a Commodore Vic 20 which I got for a Christmas present either in 1981 or 1982. The reason I ended up getting a Vic 20 instead of a Sinclair ZX81 or BBC Micro was because I was pretty comfortable with the Commodore PET computer which I had used in school in my computer science class.

Some of my earliest memories of using the Commodore Vic 20 were learning to program in BASIC, playing music with the impressive (at the time) built-in sound effects, and laboriously typing in tedious computer programs which were printed in magazines but finding out that nine times out of ten they didn’t work because I had typed one character incorrectly. And trying to find that erroneous character was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

I don’t remember having many computer games, but I do remember owning Football Manager which seemed to take forever to load on the cassette tape player as the psychedelic colors flashed on the screen while it loaded. I had the pleasure of interviewing the creator of Football Manager, Kevin Toms, a few years ago for the EPL Talk Podcast (you can hear that interview here).

After I moved to the US in 1984, I got a Commodore 64 from my local K-Mart store and spent hundreds of hours using that to play football games, run several bulletin board systems (BBS) and to get up to all sorts of trouble.

What was your first computer? Click the comments link below and share your story. I look forward to hearing from you.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013. View all posts by Christopher Harris →
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20 Responses to What Was Your First Computer?

  1. Patrick says:

    When I was a little kid I talked my parents, who where strongly against video games, into buying me an intellivision cause it promised that it would also be a home computer. The computer part never happened, but I did become a pitfall hero.

    My first real computer was a Mac Classic. Then a Mac SE. The a Quadra 640. Then a powermac 7100. Then, the G4 Quicksilver, and them the pismo powerbook, and the the ti powerbook, Then a macbook pro.

    I only have ever had one job that required the use of a windows based pc. and that was only for a year. So I’m all mac all the time. My present company has 2000 employees and is 75% mac.

    I now have a lenovo netbook ( w/Ubuntu), mac air, a macbook pro and a mac mini as my server, music station, DVR and stream station hooked up to my TV. I now want that 27″ iMac for my office.

  2. Dave Trotter says:

    My first real computer was the Commodore 64. I loved that thing! I miss it too!

    My favorite game on there was Impossible Mission.

    God I wish it was 1983 again!

  3. LS says:

    Great topic, even if it is not exactly football-related !

    All my early computer experience was at school. I would work quick so that I could spend time programming on the Apple II though I did spend some time with the Vic 20 and IBM PCs as well. The first machine I actually owned was an Amiga 500.

    I can totally relate to your experience of re-keying programs that were printed in a magazine. For me, it was Nibble (http://www.nibblemagazine.net/) for the Apple II or Byte (http://www.byte.com/) for IBM PC code. That was my introduction to self-learning programming techniques and it’s helped me a lot in my career despite having more formal education in programming and hardware.

  4. David Allison says:

    Gaffer, I hear you on the erroneous BASIC coding! I my first computer was an Acorn Electron and then a BBC Master, and the latter had me creating simple programs in BASIC and keying in pages of code only to run into the same problems that you mention. The BBC computer was where I experienced football gaming for the first time, purchasing Superior Soccer as part of a 4-game pack in Superior Software’s ‘Play It Again Sam’ series; the other three games being Predator, Ballistix and Star Port.

  5. Leon says:

    First computer was a Coleco Adam, which ran on casette tapes. That was the good old days

  6. David Allison says:

    A quick screenshot of the aforementioned game:

    http://www.stairwaytohell.com/electron/scr/SuperiorSoccer.gif

  7. ovalball says:

    Oh, man. First the Vic 20, then the C64, then the Amiga and on and on!

    I was so taken with Commodore I actually applied for an educational consultant position with them (I had been teaching for about 20 years at that point). Thankfully they ignored my outrageous salary request and I eventually finished my teaching career—as a middle school Computer Skills instructor—first using Apple II’s and then PC’s.

    Great post, Gaffer.

  8. Gary says:

    My first computer was a Tandy TRS-80 MC-10. It featured a whopping 4kB of RAM, cassette tape interface, and had an RS-232 port for the TP-10 thermal printer (sold separately).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRS-80_MC-10

    • The Gaffer says:

      Gary, I remember using a TRS-80 when I began high school here in America. It was a good computer, but I hated the bloody noise that the keyboard made!

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  9. Matt Booher says:

    @ Dave Trotter – me 2! Another visitor…stay awhile. stay forever! Also have to say that Micro League Baseball and Super Bowl Sunday were big hits for me.

  10. CA_backpacker says:

    I came a bit late to the party, I got my first computer in 1990 before going off to graduate school, a x386 PC with a whopping 40MB harddrive, big for the time. I don’t know how I survived in college with nothing but a typewriter.

  11. Jeff C. says:

    My family’s first computer was an Apple IIc, but it was purchased while I was in college and I didn’t use it much except on vacations (I remember playing endless rounds of an Indiana Jones game on it, though). My own first computer was a “Fat Mac,” the Macintosh 512K, which I bought in the fall of 1985.

  12. Gaz says:

    Hah! BBS – I haven’t heard that term in ages. Did you run one, Gaffer? Or just frequent them?

    I had an old 286 PC (I think it had 2 meg of ram) that I used to dial up (9600 baud – considered super fast as the time) to any and every BBS I could find.

    • The Gaffer says:

      I used to run one, which is I guess like running a website before there was the Internet. One was called The Hobbit, but the more popular one was called Sputnik.

      I started off at 300 baud, then 1200, then 2400, 9600 and so on.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  13. LI Matt says:

    For me, my first personal computer was a Commodore Vic 20 …. The reason I ended up getting a Vic 20 … was because I was pretty comfortable with the Commodore PET computer which I had used in school ….

    That’s my story, exactly.

    As an adult, the first computer I bought for myself was a “backroom special” from a local store. 486DX2-66, 8MB RAM, 340MB HD, Windows 3.1. I still have it, it’s been sitting in the closet for years.

    • The Gaffer says:

      LI Matt, sounds like a very similar PC that I got. Although I don’t remember the specific details about it other than it ran Windows 3.1, cost me about $3,000 and I got it from CompUSA.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

    • ovalball says:

      My son still has the Amiga. I believe he’s thinking about bronzing it.

  14. Brian Chicago says:

    My first computer was the IBM pc jr. Also had the black cauldron game to play on it!

  15. IdoSEO says:

    My first computer is NEO products assembled in Malaysia. It was and old one and helps me a lot in some projects and business. I do lot of things and i need it to help me make my work faster.

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