I’m not totally sure how I got into computers.
It’s not like I grew up with them in the early 80s – they were relatively rare back then and living on a farm in Queensland, Australia meant they were rarer still.
I reckon I was probably attuned to them because I was a big Doctor Who fan, and things like Star Wars were causing a big buzz. All that futuristic stuff was pretty exciting for an 8 year old, or whatever the hell I was back then. I also used to enjoy playing video games whenever we went into the nearby town: that had something called an ‘amusement arcade’.
That was probably it … games. That’s what gets most kids excited.
I think the first home computer I ever encountered was at the next door neighbours – the kids there got a Sinclair Spectrum. I didn’t really get to play with it – I think the parents were so tired of all the toys getting broken that it pretty much never came out of the box.
Around that time the local country school got its first computer (probably at the time they got their first photocopier – before that they made copies by transferring ink from a bed of some gel-like substance that held the inked out original copy in reverse. Good thing it wasn’t a large school or they would have employed someone full-time just to do that. Anyone know what that process was called?).
Being the most technically minded kid in the school, I was given special access to use it. This high-tech wonder was a Commodore Vic 20.
It was soon after this that we left Queensland (it was ‘too hot’ according to my father who grew up in the Atacama desert), and moved to Australia’s southern-most capital – Hobart, in the island state of Tasmania.