25+ Years on Home Computers

I kinda missed it almost – but a visit to eBay brought this up: I got my very first home computer back in the early 1980s – probably around 1984 or so. That makes up for 25+ years of me using various types of computers – and that is a long time with a lot of stories to tell (especially to those that never knew anything else but a PC).

My very first computer was “only” a Sinclair ZX-81 owned by my Dad (who “upgraded” to another system)  but it was mine.

The ZX-81 did give me quite a bit to do: I remember squeezing programs into it’s 1K RAM – simple programs that (from today’s point of view) had been the first lines of code of a 12 year old boy. Nonetheless, they had been my very first attempts on getting a computer to do what I wanted it to do.

Maybe two years later, the ZX-81 was followed by a Schneider CPC464 (after a fruitless intermezzo with an Atari 800XL) – again, because my Dad upgraded to the then brand new “IBM PCs”.

The CPC464 was an ideal platform to extend the programming skills of a young boy: it’s BASIC was rather good (even by today’s standards) and it did allow to write reasonably structured code. It also came with sufficient RAM to allow for larger programs, had color and the ability to connect a printer as well as a floppy disc drive.

Why am I now getting back to all that? Well – I had to sell my early computers because I needed the money to buy the next one. But now, a quarter of a century later, I am trying to retrace my paths and thanks to eBay and to emulation software available for today’s platform, this does bring back a ton of fond memories about the beginnings of it all. So I am hoping to get you some more posts on classic home computers over the time, some of them backed by real hardware, some of them backed by emulators and a lot of very deep digging on the Internet… because the stuff is still “out there” – it is just really rare and really well hidden at times!

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