Monday, February 27, 2023

The Commodore VIC-20: My First Computer

In the early 1980s, home computers were just starting to become popular, and the Commodore VIC-20 was one of the first affordable options. When I received a VIC-20 as a Christmas present from my parents, little did I know that it would become a significant influence on my life. That VIC-20 became my gateway to the world of computing and programming, and it eventually led me to pursue a career in software engineering.

The VIC-20 was a small, boxy computer that came with a built-in keyboard and 5 KB of RAM. Although its specs were modest, it was a versatile machine that could run a variety of software, from simple games to complex applications. The computer could be connected to a TV set or a dedicated monitor and used a cassette tape drive for loading and saving programs.

When I first got my VIC-20, I was fascinated by its capabilities. I spent hours tinkering with it, typing in programs from magazines and experimenting with different commands. I learned BASIC programming on that computer, and I was amazed at how much I could do with just a few lines of code. I wrote simple games and educational programs.

One of the most memorable aspects of the VIC-20 was its cassette tape drive. I spent countless hours recording games onto cassette tapes, carefully labeling them with their titles and descriptions. I also received tapes from friends and classmates, and we would swap them back and forth, trying out new games and programs. It was a social activity as much as a technical one, and it brought me closer to my peers.

As I got older, I continued to use the skills I learn on the VIC-20. I learned more advanced programming concepts, such as graphics and sound programming, and I created more ambitious projects.

Looking back, it's clear that the VIC-20 was a significant influence on my life. It sparked my curiosity about technology and programming, and it gave me the tools to explore those interests. Without that computer, I might never have pursued a career in software engineering, and I might never have discovered my passion for building and creating with code.

While the VIC-20 may seem primitive by today's standards, it was a groundbreaking machine that helped democratize computing and bring it into the home. It remains a reminder of my first steps into the world of technology and the endless possibilities that lay ahead. As we continue to use technology in our daily lives, it's important to remember the lessons we learned from the VIC-20.  And to top it all I still have my VIC-20 still in its box. Although it is missing its power supply, video cable and tape deck now.