CoN 20th Anniversary: 1997-2017
Your First Computer

Posted: 15th May 2017 16:06

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Totes Adorbs
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We were discussing in chat earlier and it seemed like it could result in some decent stories. So, tell us about your first computer!

I got my first PC for my 8th grade graduation, in 1993. It was a Compaq 386 that my mom had built (apparently, back then Compaq had licensed builders, and this one also served the state agency at which she worked). Of course, they didn't build it to spec, and forgot to install Windows 3.11 on it. I was not savvy enough yet to realize it, so I spent a week or so learning MS-DOS 5.2 before I realized in trawling the filesystem that Windows was nonexistent. Then it took them a month to track down a license for it, by which time I was pretty decent with DOS.

What did I do with it? The usual. Played a lot of games that I got bootlegged from family and friends - a lot of old DOS versions on 5.25" floppies of things like Family Feud and Wheel of Fortune, as well as some games that came on ultramodern 3.5" discs Jack Nicklaus Golf (with a pretty killer course editor), Commander Keen, and Wolfenstein.

I also got a pretty hilarious hand-me-down 286 "laptop" a little later from my dad's office. It weighed a good thirty pounds with the battery - which was shot, so it had to have the battery in place AND be plugged in to use it - and was capable really of only running Wordperfect.

It will be funny to me to see if there are any younger users who will report in with their fancy first machines that had graphics capable of more than 256 colors.

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"To create something great, you need the means to make a lot of really bad crap." - Kevin Kelly

Why aren't you shopping AmaCoN?
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Posted: 15th May 2017 16:09

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Lucky <3
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Our first family computer was a Mac Plus. It had an external tower hard drive that was 30 MB and my dad always said the hard drive alone cost $500. I only vaguely remember it - I more remember our Mac IISi since it was more during my formative years, and also because it is still sitting in the closet in my old room at my mom's house. I still want to bring it back and see if I can get it working again just for funsies.

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Hey, put the cellphone down for a while
In the night there is something wild
Can you hear it breathing?
And hey, put the laptop down for a while
In the night there is something wild
I feel it, it's leaving me
Post #212662
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Posted: 15th May 2017 17:15

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Red Wing Pilot
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My memory is hazy on the exact model but I do believe it is the same one Neal linked there, the Mac Plus. It was really just a hand-me-down from my dad, who must at all times (to this day) have the best Macintosh computer available. I had that thing sitting at my desk for much of the early 90's after my dad bought new computers, and still remember playing these games on it:

(Grid Wars)
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(Shadowgate)
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(Dark Castle)
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Posted: 26th May 2017 11:56

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Chimera
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T'was some Compaq (from Best Buy, if I remember correctly) from 2000. At this point, all I remember is that it came with some version of Windows '98, and had a ridiculous 56 megs of RAM. In hindsight, it wasn't very good, especially for the money that was spent on it, but I have some fond memories of discovering some of my favorite games on it, like HoMM3, Diablo 2, and the Baldur's Gate Series.

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Posted: 27th May 2017 08:21

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Chimera
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I remember that our first family computer cost a ridiculous amount of money, something over $1000. This was back in 1997 so of course it was running Win95. Some of my best memories on that thing were being on AOL, going to CoN, and earthbound.net . To this day I can't get over the crazy small HD we had (a whopping 1.59 gb).

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kame, tortue, tortuga, schildkröte, tartaruga, turtle

"Arthur Dent?"
"Yes."
"Arthur Philip Dent?"
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Posted: 27th May 2017 09:53

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It's not the end of the world.
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One of these:

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Unlike Amstrad's better-known (in the UK at least) CPC line, this was a proper IBM-compatible with a built-in CGA monitor, MS-DOS 3.2, DOS Plus (what) and GEM (this:)
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Its CGA board/monitor had an additional mode running at 640x200 with 16 colours. That was pretty crazy for CGA, which normally ran at 320x200 with four colours, or 640x200 mono. So it had quite a nice paint program that came with stock pictures like this:

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(I "GEM painted" the scary toothy lady out of our local copy.)

My dad ordered a bunch of 5.25" disks with miscellaneous freeware and shareware on them, so we tried out all sorts of weird things, as well as some of the well known classics. But you're probably more familiar with the VGA, sound card enabled form of those classics than what I used to see.



See, you couldn't just have any four colours; it had to be one of the four palettes on the right here.
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Along with Keen and Prince of Persia, some of the more underdog classics:

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Popcorn
A French Arkanoid clone with character. The game designer went on to make Alone in the Dark. Used weird science to show both red and cyan in the CGA palette, which didn't work when emulated on EGA/VGA cards, so is incorrectly remembered as having the magenta palette by most. Now available as a modern thing (although the Play Store version disappeared some time ago).

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Digger
Dig things, get score and don't die.

The monsters can only follow the initial paths on the map and any more you dig by moving around. Gravity is a fickle mistress: neither you nor the monsters are affected by it during normal movement, but you can dig underneath the money bags to drop them on a monster and kill it. You need to drop them a decent height to break them open and collect the gold anyway.

You can fire at things with F1, which we didn't know because who maps a fire button to F1? This completely changed the game when we found out years later. But you have a very, very limited rate of fire, so it's only really useful in an emergency, especially since monsters respawn at the edges. This too has been remastered, but it was remastered 15 years after it came out, and it's now 19 years since the remaster, so. There's an Android version though.

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Sopwith
In theory, you fly around and bomb bases and shoot enemy planes down. In practice, nobody knows how to take off, so they crash into the cow and die in a blaze of heroic PC speaker music. There's new stuff for this too but no phone app that's available any more.


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Fire King
Super fun action RPG. There was a huge continent to explore with lots of flavoursome text narration scattered about to craft a story. I got stuck and didn't finish it until years later.

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Faery Tale Adventure
Can't find any CGA screenshots of this, so your eyes get a break. Just map that onto the palette from Digger in your head. Also an action RPG with a big world. Probably technically an early open world game, since there's a massive area and no screen swapping (except entering interiors); in that respect it was cleverer, and it did the high fantasy setting and free exploration better - you could eventually find a turtle to carry you across water, and a swan to fly anywhere on - but it just wasn't quite as fun or witty as Fire King, and could be a bit cumbersome to play at times. A fairly unique conceit was that if you died, you respawned as your younger brother, and had to find your corpse if you wanted your stuff back (which you probably needed). There were three brothers, and if they all died, that was it. They had different stats too.

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Double Blocks
As you can see, this is a completely original concept for a game. Responsible for starting my mum's Tetris addiction. Well put together with a nice local multiplayer option. Plenty of colours because it was all in text mode.
Post #212691
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Posted: 27th May 2017 16:18
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Behemoth
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H'oookay.

Well, the first computer I had access too was the Apple II...I wanna say 'c'? Lemme google this...

user posted image
Yeah, that looks about right.

Anyway, this...well, it had games, sure, but by this point, I had access to a Super Nintendo and even my school had just gotten those new 'Mac' things that had mice and I lived in the boonies, so anything I could even put on it would have to be something someone from the household would somehow obtain. We kept this sucker well past its prime, which ended up with me getting real familiar with DOS commands. We didn't get another new computer until post Win95.

An Acer.

This was my first 'personal' computer as eventually, I got it as a hand me down. It could just barely run 3d games and again, we still lived out in the boonies, so I was only able to get my hand on a precious few amount of games, and none of them were clean installs. We didn't have no 'driver updates' in my day! Oh no, you had to get your ass right in the bios and fiffle with DMAs and IRQs and make sure all the sound channels were set up proper. We had to work to get our games to work son! ROOTS! This was when I got a hold of Jane's USNF and got reeeeeeally into Flight Sims.

The next one after that was the first one I built myself...sort of? I was going to a tech college for computer animation and needed my own render farm, so I went to an online site that would build custom setups and got a pretty beefy machine for less than 1k. It had 1.5 GB just of ram, which back in '02 was a silly amount. It could play more advanced games, but since it was designed with rendering in mind, it actually didn't play them very well. After I left college, I found it cheaper to just order the computer parts and build the rigs myself.

Since then, I've ended up in a situation where I'll make multiple computers. My 'work' computer, which I use for art 'n animation and my 'game' computer where I run my games and dick 'bout on the internet.

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Posted: 30th May 2017 11:59
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Returner
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I remember that our first computer we've bought was 482 DX2. It was really cool biggrin.gif

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Posted: 18th June 2017 14:54

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Dragoon
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Dunno the exact brand, but it was an old-timey Macintosh, probably early 90s. It had stuff like FreeCell (IIRC) and took those huge-ass floppy disks with a circle in the middle. Don't remember much about the games, other than having cool stuff like Oregon Trail and some edutainment jank. Pretty sure it died on me awhile after, making me lose notes I'd been taking on Flying Dragon (N64) items, haha.

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It's gonna be a glorious day
I feel my luck can change
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Posted: 18th June 2017 15:30

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Treasure Hunter
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I feel like a senior citizen reading this thread, because my first computer was a Texas Instruments 99-4A. It didn't have a disk drive; it had a tape deck. A regular, audio cassette tape deck. Programs would take forever to load. Games? Sure, there were some, but I remember typing in the code for them.

Our second computer was the IBM PCjr, which was much better. It had a disk drive! And a whopping 256KB of RAM! (My parents got into arguments over buying the additional ram, but Dad won). It also had a cartridge drive;some games were released on cartridge, and we also had Cartridge BASIC. I again typed code into the computer to play games. I have very fond memories of its music simulator, actually: you could play up to four voices at once. So I spent days transcribing piano songs for the computer to play. One such song was "Under the Sea" from The Little Mermaid. I honestly wish I still had access to that, as I worked really hard at it.

We also played some great games on it such as King's Quest, and the Infocom text adventure games (Wishbringer & Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy). I really spent a lot of time playing with the computer. Probably is no surprise then that I grew up to double-major in math and computer science.
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Posted: 26th July 2017 07:13
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Returner
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rolleyes-straight.gif I got my first PC when I go to college.It's named lenovo.It was stolen by thief.
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Posted: 27th July 2017 13:33

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SOLDIER
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A Macintosh performa 6116 CD running MacOS 8 at first.

Shuddering at the thought of it. It's a wonder I played anything on it, though I distinctly recall installing Warcraft and Warcraft II.

"Why do you keep touching me?!"

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Alfador only likes me.
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Posted: 4th August 2017 07:27

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Omega Weapon
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My first computer was a something86 that ran Windows 3.1. My dad upgraded it to run Windows 3.11 at some point. Then later he upgraded it again to run Windows 95 and to have a Turtle Beach brand CD-ROM drive, but it ran really slowly.

Played a variety of DOS games on it -- Duke Nukem (the original trilogy), Cosmo, Secret Agent, Commander Keen's various episodes, Tank Wars, Reader Rabbit, Math Rabbit, Dark Ages, some DOS dogfight game, and such.

Later games included The Castle of Dr. Brain, The Island of Dr. Brain, Sierra's Hoyle Book of Games, and attempting but failing to run EcoQuest: the Search for Cetus. I also tried playing King's Quest VI but was thoroughly confused.

We had (and still have, actually) this Gravis joystick, but never had the right plug to plug it in, so it went unused all these years.

And the keyboard was clangy like those old keyboards. Ahh...

But anyway, that's the computer I learned to play games on. Specifically I learned to arrow keys + Ctrl (usually jump) and Alt (usually shoot). This is why I play games using arrow keys + ZXCVASDF these days.

I also had my first experiences with PKZip and PKUnzip here. Well, with compressed files in general. And learning how to install stuff.

Also our Win95 was such that we actually got to see the "It's safe to turn off your computer now." orange text on black background.

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It Just Bugs Me! - a place to discuss media, real life, and other topics.
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Posted: 8th August 2017 01:13

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Holy Swordsman
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I don't remember the make or model, but it was a PC of some sort back in the mid-90s. I occasionally went online through Prodigy, but mostly I played computer games like Prince of Persia, Commander Keen, Off Road (I think that's what it was called), and Bubble Bobble.
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