Tuesday, June 14, 2011

V IS FOR...

HERE ...COMMODORE  VIC 20  

When we were up in Boise with my son recently, he brought this out and proceeded to give us a demonstration. The Commodore VIC 20 came out in 1982 at which time my son was 14 years old.  He is now 39.  We were much more impressed with his abilities now than we were back then, having no idea then what he was doing or what it took to figure it all out.


This is the photo I took of the screen in May, just to prove it was all in working order.  He hadn't brought it out for years. At the time, Space Invaders,  an arcade video game was all the rage. Not that I knew anything about it.  He decided to program his own version of the game.


These are the characters Owen programmed for his own version of Space Invaders.  And yes, the game still works after all these years.  He was pretty pleased with himself then and now. Now I know what he was doing up in his room for hour upon hour, day after day.  This game was the end result.
Not bad for a fourteen year old in 1982.
He did go on into computers as a career, but when the tech slump hit, he was out of a job, though I must say they gave him very good severance pay for 6 months.

Today he has his own business of Property Management which he started from scratch.  He didn't want to go back into computers because, he said, as soon as he got something working satisfactorily, the company moved him into teaching it.  He is very much a hands on guy so he was somewhat frustrated with this.

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19 comments:

snafu said...

I haven't seen one of those for a long time. I used to repair them once along with other makes of 80s home computers, like Spectrums and Amstrads.
When I was teaching computer programming around 2001/2007, we started to find that our younger students seemed a little dumb about how programs could be written. It took a while for us to realise that they had never seen a home computer other than a PC or Mac. These came complete with off the shelf games and such, so unlike your son, they had had never had to create a program themselves and did not understand the basics of computer programming. We had to extend all our courses to fill in the basics.

Wanda said...

Hi Chris ~ My what a remarkable son you have. I've never been very technical...I've spent more time on the computer since beginning to blog that I ever did before....EXCEPT ~ when I worked for Property Management for 20 + years. Interesting that you son chose that, since I think is a a very "unthankful" vocation...people always called with problems...toilet, sink, carpet, roof leaf, sprinklers... I was their problem solver, and had to handle most of those negative calls.

I admire your son for this and hope he has a long and successful career in PM...I did have it up side from time to time. And it was a pay check for many years.

Jane and Chris said...

Oooh, space invaders...any pac man?
I can remember playing that game with my husband's younger brother.
Jane x

mrsnesbitt said...

Oh yes Chris - I remember so well! What talent in the family eh?
Thanks so much.
Denise ABC Team

photowannabe said...

Sounds like you have an extremely bright son. Good for him growing a new career from scratch. Not many can do that and be successful at it.
I'm like you. I had no idea how my boys could do anything on computers or video games for that matter. I'm glad I have finally learned to do a few things myself.

Roger Owen Green said...

in computer terms, ancient!
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

One said...

I remember that game. It must have been some decades back. You must be proud of your son. :) Very talented.

Sylvia K said...

You do have a very talented and creative son and you also have every right to be very proud of him! Lovely post for the V Day, Chris! Hope your week is going well! Enjoy!

Sylvia
ABC Team

Karen said...

Oh...I remember that game, and the Vic 20...hmmm, dating myself aren't I!

Claude said...

Hello Chris !
Your post reminds me the first computer we bought to my youngest in 1986.
I just read you post about cats.
We had two cats and they were run over on the road.

Reader Wil said...

Your sn is very gifted! how clever to set up such a game. Not all young people use the computer in a good way.My daughter is a draughtswoman and has to be on the computer all day to draw engines and all kind of technical stuff. She wanted me to work on the laptop, which I got from her.Her son taught me several tricks to download photos for instance.
Our age can be called "The Computer Age"!

AutumnLeaves said...

I can see why you'd be proud of him. Not something I'd have had the patience to learn or do!

Kath said...

A blast from the past indeed. My son had one of these. being dislexic, it did help him with his spelling.

Carver said...

Great post and memories. Your son sounds like a smart and resilient person. The slump hit so many and good to hear he has landed on his feet with a new career.

Gattina said...

That was quiet something for the 80th ! You certainly can be proud of your son !

Tumblewords: said...

I remember those 'machines' but I didn't learn very much. I think I finally learned how to make rabbit jump in a garbage can. And that was the end of that. Talented boy. Fascinating work he's done.

EG Wow said...

Times have change and, in this case, for the BETTER! :) I don't remember the Vic-20, but I DO remember the Commodore 64!

Sandy said...

tech to property management - great difference there. I remember when my husband and son talked about these "machines" back in the 80's...we had several in the house - my husband was in programming.

John said...

I still have my VIC20, Spectrum and other 8 bit computers. I didn't really start programming anything substantial until 1990. It's a shame really, I was just getting into it as the demand disappeared :-(

It's incredible the cassette works after all these years!