04 November 2012

My Life As A Gamer: Computer Games, part 1

As I mentioned before, computer games played (and still play) important role in my life.
My first memories concerning computers are clouded by time. It probably was somewhere around '85 when my father (who was repairing electronic devices for living) brought a computer for repair. I think it was Comodore C64. Soon, he borrowed Atari 2600 game system with three or four cartridges. I am certain that there were Miner 2049er amongst them. I think that another could be Missile Command or similar game. While we had Atari 2600 at home, a Spectrum 48k was also brought in for a short time, but without programs (or maybe it wasn't working at all, I don't recall doing anything on it).

In late '85 father started buying Bajtek, a monthly computer magazine . For me, the most interesting part of it were 4-6 pages dedicated to games. Somewhere around '87 we bought our first own computer: Atari 130 XE with cassette tape player plus a few tapes with games and programs. Our collection of tapes grew quite quickly, at least until 1991. Father went to visit his brother, who was living in Germany since early 70s. He promised to bring us a new joysticks. He brought one... And Amiga 500. Quality of gaming jumped up exponentially. At time of its introduction there was no better home computer. Great graphics, great sound, great games, four times as much memory (practically eight times, because Atari 130XE used only 64 of 128kB of memory possessed due to 8-bit architecture limitations), 3-1/2 floppies instead of tapes... Sky was the limit! It's a terrible shame that Commodore and later firms that acquired rights to Amiga design failed to continue it's development at rate matching Intel-based PCs.


Switching from Atari 130 XE to Amiga 500 was a great change. No longer loading games took hours (sometimes literally with bigger games) so I could play multiple games each day, switching the played game for another at will. Still I had to share the computer with brother.
A few times we got newer Amiga and upgraded them with more memory, HDs, various expansions. Later we also got Amiga 1200 with expansions. At least we had two working computers at the same time.

The paradise lasted for ten years, until computer games outgrew capabilities of Amiga. In early 21st century my brother moved to grandfather, who later bought old IBM PC, then another and another. First my brother moved from Amiga to IBM and finally I got my own Intel-based computer (seriously outdated) a few years later. After some time grandfather gave me another computer, better than before but still outdated and then another (single core Celeron in times when dual core was the norm, with integrated 64 MB graphics...).

Only in 2009, after grandfathers death I bought myself my own Asus laptop with decent processor and good 512 MB Radeon graphics card and finally I could not only play a lots of games that I were missing but also I could play them at high quality settings, most of the time. It was great time until October of 2011, two months after the warranty ended. One day the computer just stopped working. No warning signs, no anything. Just didn't turned on in the morning. That was one of the few rare moments when I, while being awake, bitten my left thumb to check if I don't dream (or rather have nightmare in that case). I sometimes do that in dreams when I recognize that I am dreaming but want to be sure. That day I hoped that I haven't woke myself up yet and that's just a bad dream. Regretfully, it wasn't. I had to spend most of the money I had just to get it repaired. For two weeks I was back to using old computer after two years of heaven. This was time of hurting eyes and aching head - laptop built-in screen had graphic quality unparalleled by the old CRT monitor. After two weeks I got my laptop back, repaired. Or so it seemed until the Christmas. Just before Christmas it shut down without warning. I trembled but it turned on without problems. Until next Thursday when it shut down again. Once more it turned on but on the next day it didn't work at all. There was warranty on the first repair so the same company fixed it again without additional costs but since then I am exceptionally careful with it. Which means no games that force it into highest activity, regretfully and I won't be able to repair or replace it in foreseeable future. So for now, I switch between laptop and another outdated reserve computer.

Next time: Less about computers and more about actual games. Probably.

3 comments:

  1. Have you read "Ready Player One" as of yet?

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  2. Nope. I never heard of it before.

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  3. Nice to read. Keeping my fingers crossed for your computer:)

    PS. Please, have mercy for my eyesight - as much as I like the layout, it hurts my eyes to read white text on back background...

    ReplyDelete