Memoirs of a BBC Micro Maniac, Aged Six

Or: how the school computer became my gateway drug to all things of an 8-bit nature.

Acorn BBC Model B - Retrosystems 2010

If you know a thing or three about 8-bit computing, you would have come across the excellent drama, Micro Men (starring Alexander Armstrong as Sir Clive Sinclair). Or, you might have had first-hand experience with a Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, or an Amstrad CPC. Even if you didn’t have access to a microcomputer in the home, you would have had first-hand experience at school. Continue reading “Memoirs of a BBC Micro Maniac, Aged Six”

Did I Really Want One of Those? 23. The Cascade Cassette 50 Compilation

50 games, and a calculator watch for £9.99?

15 January 2014: Continuing the subject of electronic atrocities, I was taken aback by my youngest child’s reaction when I brought my Commodore 64 downstairs from the attic. She asked:

‘Where’s the mouse?’
‘Try under the floorboards’ I flippantly said.
‘Strange USB port’ she replied ‘And what do you call this? How do you load a game?’

She was somewhat mystified by the vagaries of the C2N Datasette which I pointed to, and the selection of cassettes. She chose Turbo Outrun. Bad move I thought, especially that horrific multiload. Still better than Fido on Firebird’s Don’t Buy This compilation though.

Continue reading “Did I Really Want One of Those? 23. The Cascade Cassette 50 Compilation”

Forgotten Video Game Characters: The Not So Perfect Ten

Ten forgotten silicon heroes of computer gaming

I don’t get today’s computer games. The graphics are somewhat overloading and the gameplay seems to be tagged on as an afterthought. I mean, what happened to games which were instantly playable? Far Cry or EVE requires manuals the size of an Argos catalogue and a machine which puts NASA’s original supercomputers to shame. Then there’s DRM, updates and the like… take me back to when a 14 minute loading time on audio tape was the only inconvenience! Continue reading “Forgotten Video Game Characters: The Not So Perfect Ten”