Well, the title sounds more dramatic than it really is. But the Covid-19 imposed lockdown had Big Boy and myself taking a trip down memory lane (for me) respectively a time travel into the digital stone age (for Big Boy)….
Easter weekend this year was, thanks to Corona, also a stay-at-home weekend. One of my goals during the lockdown (we are in the 4th week, with at least two more weeks to come) was to finally clean out my home office (which made sense as I’m spending now all my days in there). Doing this, I came across a box that contained my very first personal computer, a Commodore C64, acquired in 1985. Which is a whopping 35 years ago.
In the box where also a disk drive for 5 1/4” floppy disks (those huge square ones, that were really floppy) and stacks of black floppies, meticulously hand labeled with the names of the games I stored on them. “Frogger”, “Mule”, “Space Invader”, “Pacman”, “Ghostbusters”, “Elite”, “4th and Inches”, “5-a-side Football”, “Summer Games”, to name a few. Beautifully pixelated vintage, 1st generation computer games.
Somewhere in a guest room I also found an old tube television. Carrying everything into the living room, I connected stone age computer with stone age TV and fired the baby up. Voilà…the long forgotten, but still familiar blue screen (back then a blue screen meant nothing bad) with a blinking cursor. I stuck the disk with “Frogger” on it in the drive….and waited….nothing happened. Vaguely I remembered that back then you needed to instruct the computer via keyboard commands in “BASIC” programming language what to do (it was many years before a mouse would be invented). Good that I also had kept the manual in the box. The magic command was LOAD “$”, 8 to activate the drive. Then LIST, to see what’s on. Then LOAD “FROGGER”, 8 . Amazingly, the file loaded into the whopping 64KB RAM of the computer. Then RUN.
Familiar pixels appeared, like a ghost out of the past. The funky “Frogger” tune. I smiled like the child I was when I first started the game 35 years ago. Plugging in one of the two joysticks I still kept from the days, I started navigating the frog across the highway, avoiding all kinds of trucks and cars, then onto the logs, turtles and crocodiles swimming in various directions. To reach the other side. If you want to check out the game, here is a clip on youtube.
Attracted (or rather disturbed) buy the tune, The Significant Other showed up, asking me to turn down the volume. Then Big Boy came down from his room. Of course he had to take command of the frog himself. A millennial playing a computer game released twenty years before he was born. I felt I needed to show him the real deal. The games me and my high school buddies played for hours. The legendary sports games “Wintergames” and “Summergames” I and II. Also they loaded fine. Big Boy and I had thoroughly fun playing Biathlon, Ski Jump (the title image of this post), bobsleigh and we tried to make the little figure skater jump gracefully. A true time travel afternoon. Here is a link to a youtube clip showing the opening ceremony and the games. Check it out, you’ll love it!
I found it totally amazing that the 35 year old computer system and the programs still work. The huge floppy disk have retained all their data. And as it was a closed system (long before the Internet was invented), everything worked just fine together. A real time capsule. And so much fun. Thanks to the Covid-19 lockdown. You just have to make the best of it!
The photograph was taken with the Leica M and the Summicron 35mm F/2. Image specs 1/125 sec @ f/8, ISO 1600.
If you rather go shooting instead of playing computer games, check out my free Learning Center for many tips and inspirations around photography.
Hope you had a great Easter weekend yourself! Stay safe and healthy!