Letters to my sons.

Trying to explain the world to two very small children.

The most pointless video every?

without comments

Dear Son,

I installed a Widget on my Mac that allows me to play ZX Spectrum games the other day and I’ve been playing Manic Miner for the last few days. The ZX Spectrum was the first computer I ever had. My parents bought it for me and Uncle Phil for Xmas 1982, we got the 16k version for £99 – quite a lot of money in those days. The machine broke down a few times and was sent back until Grand dad Caudle asked for a refund and got one. By this time the 48k Spectrum had been reduced in price to £99 so he simply bought a 48k version.

I learnt how to program on that ZX Spectrum and spent many hours as a teenager playing games and writing programs. Because I didn’t get much pocket money I couldn’t afford the games available in the shops so I would either try and copy them (which was illegal) or I would buy cheap magazines that had printed listings for games that me and Uncle Phil would then spend hours typing in. We used to wait a month until the next copy of the magazine came out because the print outs invariably contained mistakes – nothing worse than spending three nights typing something in only for it not to run. To raise a bit of cash we also used to sell the games we had typed in at school.

I was looking around the internet for Manic Miner cheats when I came across a video of Manic Miner loading. In those days games cassette tapes. Cassette tapes are, were errr I will show you one when your older. Anyway it took a full 5 minutes to load a game and you could hear the noises of different byte values. I used to be able to hear if a program loaded extra code after a screen download, I also knew when a game was close to finishing loading by learning the sounds and the patterns.

When I saw the video it brought back so many memories of spending time shut away on my own writing programs that I though would make me a millionaire. Uncle Phil would be out with his current girlfriend or his mates and this worried Grandma Audrey no end. She once told me she thought that she was blame for my lonely obsession and was never happier than when I brought people round who shared my enthusiasm – although this wasn’t often. We formed our own software company but we never created anything – we just played multi user games and talked the talk of how the girls would like us when we had money and how the popular kids would be jealous.

I think my lonely obsession has done we well over the years and Grandma Audrey lived long enough to see that and know that the guilt and worry she had was the product of a compassionate and caring bond. I still like being on my own, something that your mother doesn’t always understand. Hopefully son you will understand that sometimes I need to be alone with my thoughts; I’m not shunning you. I just need a place to reflect and think and get my thoughts and feelings in order.

Written by Administrator

March 30th, 2007 at 8:01 pm

Posted in Family,Memories

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