Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Thursday, December 7

Gapers Block

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Andrew Huff / April 29, 2010 11:26 AM

Inspired, yes, by How I Met Your Motherboard. No need to write an essay, but feel free to expound.

Mine, as noted, was a Kaypro II. It was pretty sweet, considering how rare a home computer was at the time.

Jen / April 29, 2010 11:26 AM

It was a Tandy 1000, and I thought it was the pinnacle of coolness. I remember many a happy hour playing King's Quest - am I the only person who remembers that game?

Jennifer / April 29, 2010 12:01 PM

Ours was some Frankenstein's monster that my step-dad built from spare parts purchased at garage sales. He meant well, but it worked terribly. I was only finally able to convince my parents about 6 years ago to, you know, go to a store and purchase a computer that actually works properly.

Gemma / April 29, 2010 12:03 PM

An Apple IIc. We loved it. It's still in a closet back home.

nerkles / April 29, 2010 12:06 PM

Commodore 64, baby. 64-freakin-K of RAM, hooked up to the living room TV. You have no idea how cool it was to store little BASIC programs on a cassette tape. No idea. (Unless you had one, too.)

And there was Zork. Let us not forget Zork.

TexasT / April 29, 2010 12:15 PM

I lived with my grandparents and they had a Commodore 64. I fondly remember playing a video game called "Blue Meanies from Outerspace", and having to flip the cassette tape over to finish the second half.

Lisa / April 29, 2010 12:31 PM

Macintosh IIsi with 5 MB of RAM and a 40 MB hard drive! It was cool and beautiful.

Jasmine / April 29, 2010 1:11 PM

I didn't have a computer of my own until the fall of my third year of college (1996), and it was a secondhand Macintosh LC475. Don't remember the monitor model, but it was inherited from a friend. I think I ended up donating both to charity.

The first computer I remember using on a regular basis was either a Mac SE or a Mac Plus in middle school.

The Box Factory / April 29, 2010 1:15 PM

An Apple II, 48K of pure computational power. Apple Basic, Space Invaders, Lemonade Stand, Pong. Who needs a PS3....

David / April 29, 2010 1:16 PM

Apple IIe, with the best and therefore only video game I've ever played: Airborne!

A. Lewellen / April 29, 2010 1:29 PM

My first computer was a Macintosh Perfoma 6100 CD. It's just funny that it had CD in it's name. 600 mb hard drive and 8mb of ram. Bought it with wedding gift money in 1994 and actively used it until 2000 when I got my first G4. By that time I had upped the ram to 40mb and put in a Sonnet G3 processor upgrade and several external SCSCI drives, one zip drive and a video card so's I could use two monitors. I cut my teeth on that thing. Still have it somewhere. Probably still runs.

pamela yasuko / April 29, 2010 2:58 PM

Apple LCIII. What an antique.

anne / April 29, 2010 3:05 PM

My brother had a Commadore 64 I used to play games on, but my first computer of my own was something by AST. It had the monitor attached to the CPU. At the time, I thought "how convenient" but when I had to lug that whole thing around from dorm room to dorm room, it was a nightmare. Died just before I left college though. Huzzah!

David / April 29, 2010 3:05 PM

Well, if school exposure counts, an Apple //c. Oregon Trail!

As for home computer, it was a monstrously huge 286 AT in 4th grade. For those that remember, it had a 'Turbo' button! Playing a by-then-ancient copy of Microsoft Decathalon with my brother remains one of the highlights of my childhood.

@Jen, I totally remember the KQ games. And the Space Quest games. And the Quest for Glory games. And the LucasArts adventure games. And the ACCESS Tex Murphy games... ah, childhood.

pat / April 29, 2010 3:43 PM

I remember my family getting a Texas instruments TI994A when I was about 10 or so, but we never got around to getting a floppy drive or tape drive so, it was really only used to play Tombstone City, Munch Man, and Donkey Kong. I remember trying rudimentary basic on it, but because of the lack of disk or tape, once the power went off, it was gone.

My first *real* computer then that I bought on my own was a Mac Duo 230 laptop. I have to say it was a pretty awesome first computer. Totally capable as a desktop with the docking station and external monitor, and totally light to throw in a backpack and take to the library.

Poppy / April 29, 2010 3:53 PM

We got an Apple IIE back when I was about 12 or 13 - it was supposed to be for my schoolwork but in typical pompous dad fashion he bought the most expensive (read: best - to him anyway) word processing program which was so complicated that I would have needed to take classes to learn how to use it. Needless to say the computer basically got used to play Apple Panic on. I did learn enough to be able to type in something and have it scroll endlessly on the monitor so when my parents decided, to my dismay, to sell the house I used to leave satanic messages scrolling on the monitor to scare off potential buyers. Sadly it didn't work.

jima / April 29, 2010 4:14 PM

I wrote my comments on How I Met Your Motherboard, but short version: Timex/Sinclair 1000. Boy howdy, it sucked. On the positive side, I didn't have games as cool as Oregon Trail or Lemonade Stand or whatever to play, so I had to make up my own games, which got me started in programming.

Amy / April 29, 2010 5:24 PM

My first was an Apple IIci. I thought it was the pinnacle of computer coolness at the time. My dad had been using old Osborne computers around, while I was yearning for the Apple...

The next one after the IIci was a Mac Performa 6xxx something. Still have both of them somewhere.

David / April 29, 2010 6:26 PM


Dubi Kaufmann / April 29, 2010 6:28 PM

It was a second hand Apple IIe and I got it for my Bar Mitzva.
I programmed simple games and a lot of "generative art.
Many hours were spent looking at code and being very puzzled by the peek and poke commands.

Did anyone ever typed the pages of code from Mad magazine that would generate a low res monochrome image of Alfred E. Neuman?

Mike / April 29, 2010 10:19 PM

Someday when humans have USB ports in their ears and can learn a language via retinal scan, people will say, "man, my first computer was a MacBook Pro ... God, what an antique I mean it's--(rainbow wheel of death)"

sb / April 29, 2010 10:24 PM

being born on jan 24th, i was excited to see get first mac on my birthday when i was 9. (128) it still runs, although it's been a while since i booted it up.

as a side note, my friends tim and i used to model dirty 3D images on his first amiga. crude modeling but reasonably dirty.

printdude / April 30, 2010 8:45 AM

My first computer wasn't actually in my house. I had a terminal and access to a VAX-PDP11. I wasn't allowed to "play" on the thing until I read the two-binder size manual, which I read in two days. It was magnificent and powerful.

kate / April 30, 2010 9:50 AM

Apple 2Gs
Redefined cool then, redefines patience now.

Guy Smiley / April 30, 2010 10:52 AM

Some put-together piece of crap HP that a friend gave me. It had a DOS shell that I thought was "Windows" until my friend explained what Windows actually was. I used it primarily to play Sim City and type a few plain text documents that I printed out on that weird printer paper that had perforations on both sides that could be torn off. Now I have two Mac laptops and a Mac desktop.

flange / April 30, 2010 12:35 PM

my dad was a research scientist for the air force in the '60s. whatever you could play space wars on back then on oscilloscope screens, that was it. thanks, taxpayers of the '60s.

the first one i bought was the apple ii plus. loved the prisoner, crush crumble & chomp, and the original wizardry.

David / April 30, 2010 10:34 PM

An Atari 800XL in 1983 or 1984. We spent hours playing video games and making banners and playing in BASIC. So very good.

Big Blue / May 2, 2010 10:36 PM

Had the first, the IBM PC Jr, or Peanut. Remember well King's Quest,and a game with a cat that jumped into holes ( I think like swiss cheese ) that took the cat to different adventures,

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