Step 1 - The CPC464 and CPC664
The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air.
I was 11-years-old when I got my first computer. Generously given to me by my maternal grand-father who was and still is himself something of a computer geek. It was an Amstrad CPC464 with a built-in tape deck and a green monochrome screen.
It had 4MHz and with 64K’s of RAM. I had no idea what the hell that meant, but I was overjoyed by having something as mindblowingly cool as a computer! I mean you have to consider that at this time in my life most of my creative energy went into circumventing the alotted cartoon-time pr. day by drawing up complex schedules for when to turn the TV on and off so that I would catch all of He-Man, GI Joe and that strange show with the rich kids who surfed and partied all the time…
I became a member of the local computer club and faithfully dragged the thing (which had no name, a tradition that I haven’t started using until rather late in my nerd life) back and forth every thursday. This was waaay before modems were even considered a possibility. I hadn’t even considered the idea of sending data down the phone pipe. With no networking of any kind, not even a simple parallel or serial cable to help us, most copying of games and programs (Bruce Lee and Harrier Attack!) was done using a standard tape recorder with a high-speed function on it. Sometimes it worked… Mostly not.
Probably about 8-12 months later I got my hands on an external disc drive which was just impossibly fast. I would marvel at how fast it was by loading up games from the tape deck, reset the machine and load them up from the disc drive and then compare the times… I wasn’t the smartest of kids.
Eventually I managed to get a new machine with the disc drive integrated instead of the tape deck, the CPC664. It was a lot sleaker than the one with the tape deck and the keys were colored grey and blue. Cool stuff!
The green monochrome screen remained however and somewhere along the line it either died or I lost interest in it for a while. At this time most of my friends were either sporting C64’s or Amiga 500’s. But because I was already an Amstrad man I saw no need to convert (not that I had the money). Today I wish I had had an Amiga, if for nothing else than the not-quite-so-sober late-night nastalgic talks with friends.
And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. For ‘a litte while’ computers passed out of all knowledge. Until, when chance came, they ensnared another user.