Thursday, April 4, 2019

Snapshot & memories:
Commodore 64 corner

How's this for a super-tech setup?

I lived at the house on Oak Crest Lane in Wallingford, Pennsylvania, from 1986 until 1993, though I was at Penn State from 1989 through 1993 and thus was only home part-time during that period. This undated photo was taken while peering in through the door to the bedroom at the top of the stairs.1

So this was the computer corner of my bedroom. Ignore the bedknobs and the ugly curtains and instead focus on the state-of-the-art computer system. There's a Commodore 64, a Commodore printer (it looks like an MPS 802, but mine was definitely a dot matrix printer, so I'm not sure if that's right), and the Commodore 1541-II floppy drive (I think). Next to the floppy drive is a shoebox filled with disks.

And of course an old CRT television with rabbit ears served as the monitor. A switch that would have looked something like the thing pictured at right allowed me to switch back and forth between the computer and the standard five or six over-the-airwaves TV channels. So it was basically computer games, school projects on the word processor, Philly sports and St. Elsewhere reruns on that TV.2

And how about all those computer games sitting on the shelves beneath The Far Side calendar? There are a bevy of Infocom games (Zork I, Enchanter, Zork III, Suspect, Zork II, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Planetfall, Cutthroats, and The Lurking Horror). There's The Crimson Crown (aka Transylvania II). There's Ultima IV, Summer Games from Epyx, Star Trek: The Kobayashi Alternative (which was godawful), The Movie Monster Game, an ice hockey game I can't ID, Commando, MicroLeague Baseball, Autoduel and some others I can't recognize. One of them might be the unheralded and underrated Alternate Reality: The Dungeon, which I played the heck out of. I still have the game's jingles in my head.

The other games I spent the most time with were the legendary Ultima IV and, winning by a landslide (or slide into home), MicroLeague Baseball. I had many of the accessory disks and spent many hours creating baseball teams and playing full seasons.3 One of these days I might post about the "yearbooks" I made for my team, the Wallingford Smashers.

More of "Snapshot & memories"

1. Here's the door (closed) that's featured in this photograph.
2. I also specifically remember watching some of the shows during Fox's debut prime-time season in 1987: The Tracey Ullman Show, Duet, Werewolf and The New Adventures of Beans Baxter.
3. USA Today used to carry complete, updated individual Major League Baseball statistics on Tuesdays and Wednesday. It's hard to overstate how cool and amazing that was for statistics nerds in the 1980s.

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