Watching Stranger Things on Netflix makes me think about my childhood. Perhaps this is one of the reasons it is so popular: it is set in the ’80s and so for the 37-45 crowd we’re reminded of our own childhoods with the bikes, riding out in the woods, and those fantastic walkie-talkies to keep in communication.
But it was the scene where Bob mentioned Basic to override the lockdown system which resurrected a very old memory of mine I had forgotten about.
We had learned computer programming back in 1985 when I was in the 2nd – 4th grade! It was called Logo and we carried around yellow binders with a blue grid which gave us the instructions to program a small green “turtle”. It was this!
I remember this wasn’t very interesting to me. I didn’t want to program but I did want to play the computer games! My most favorite was The Oregon Trail. I remember we could actually save our progress on a little disk (or was it tape?) and pick up right where we left off during the next computer lab! I remember upon my 8th grade graduation I bequeathed my saved game to my sister who was two grades below me. I thought this was a fantastic gift indeed as I had made a lot of progress!
The Oregon Trail is what I remember clearly but looking through old computer games from 1985 I was reminded of Apple’s Facemaker! Looking at the picture I do remember how cool it was that I could make the ears wiggle just by telling the computer to make it so.
How simple it all seems now. But looking back I feel a little sorry for kids these days who will never experience what computers and gaming systems going mainstream was like. What an incredible jump in entertainment it was! We went from playing with toys which really hadn’t changed much in 100 years to something completely new and different! We really haven’t had any major leaps like this since the Sega Genesis and AOL/Internet. The only thing that might be comparable today is Virtual Reality. VR is in its infancy and has a long way to go, right now it is nothing more than a novelty.