The Commodore 16: My first computer.

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The Commodore 16

The Commodore 16 was the first home computer I ever owned. It wasn’t the first I had ever used. Oh no. Being British, that honour went to the BBC Micro. Like many of my peers, I was introduced to home computers through my school, and the BBCs computer literacy program. And I wanted a computer so bad. It seems I was a natural at using one. My teacher at the time even reccomended to my parents they try and invest in one for me (and my brother).

So thats how, on a christmas morning in 1985 (I think, my memory is a bit fuzzy as to the exact christmas) I awoke to my very own home computer.

The Commodore 16.

My parents had gotten me a Commodore 16. I’m fairly sure it was pre-owned, but I can’t be 100% about that. And I loved it from the start. The first game I had was a Galaxians clone called “Galaxions”. I played that game for hours. I also had a Formula 1 game (Formula 1 Simulator). The machine came with some demo software as well. There was an art package (the now unfortunately named Rolf Harris Picture Builder, and 3 simple games: Xzap, Punchy, and Starter Chess).

The packaging

Games time!

As i already noted, the computer came with 2 games already. And I played the living hell out of them. Even back then, I was terrible at action games, so both the games I had frustrated me immensely. Things improved somewhat after a few days, as we were taken shopping to a local computer shop: Vudata.

Vudata. Obviously, it wasn’t in this state when I frequented it. (c) @KariLawler on Twitter

Vudata was a backstreet shop, filled to the brim with computers & software. It was like a magical cave for me. And I was allowed to buy a game, as was my brother. He chose BMX Racers as I recall, and I bought Steve Davis Snooker (I was really into snooker back then. Most boys were). Again, these games provided hours of enjoyment. Now, Steve Davis Snooker was a pretty decent attempt at snooker and it’s physics in 16k of memory, and I did while away many, many hours on it. BMX Racers however frustrated the living hell out of me. Now, I know games back then tended to be difficult to offset their brevity, but good lord was this a tough one.

Anyway, the Commodore 16 gave me many fond memories. Such as repairing a joystick with my Dad one evening. And blasting alien invaders in Galaxions never got old. Plus, I took my first tentative steps into BASIC programming, and understanding how computers really worked.

Within a few years, I would upgrade to a Spectrum. But i never forgot the Commodore 16, even if it did just disappear from my life. One day, I’ll get a new one, and I’ll be back at Galaxions once more.

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