If you grew up in the ’80s, you saw some major advances in technology at home. You could play video games on your TV with Pong, which was followed by Atari and Intellivision. Microwave ovens were becoming more affordable and popular, so you could get hot food a lot faster. VCR’s came into existence. Now you could watch movies at home, commercial free, instead of having to go to the theater. Cable TV became available. You could watch movies on HBO commercial free, and you could tape them on your VCR. Not to mention, that you could watch your MTV.
One of the best advances was the home computers. You could play games on the computer, and could even create your own games. After graduating Junior High School, my parents bought me one of the most popular PC’s of the mid-80s – the Commodore 64.
I had my Commodore 64 hooked up to the TV. There were games that were in a cartridge format, just like Atari or Intellivision. The computer had a joystick that was similar to the Atari joystick.
But, you could also write code on the computer, using the BASIC 2.0 programming language. It was OK if you didn’t know how to program. There was a monthly Commodore 64 magazine called COMPUTE!’s Gazette which contained code for some games that you would type in line by line.
Today, you can download a game right to your phone, and are ready to play within minutes, if not seconds. But, with the Commodore, if you weren’t lucky enough to have the 5¼ inch floppy drive, you had to save and load the games from a cassette tape. You would type LOAD, then the game you wanted to play. The player would go through the whole tape until it got to the game/program you wanted. Luckily, there was a counter on the tape player. So after you saved a game/program, you had to make sure you wrote down the number where it started. So you could fast forward the tape until it got close to that number. Then you could load the game/program. It was still a cassette player, so it could take a long time to load.
Later on, we did get a floppy disk drive. But, it still took a while to load. So, if you didn’t want to wait too long for the cassette or disk, you could just plug in a game that you had on a cartridge. A couple of my favorites were Boulder Dash and Soccer. Here is a clip of several games from the Commodore 64:
Technology, has obviously come a long way. But, I still miss my Commodore 64.