I am a child of the 80ʼs. These are the things in my life that I have been drawn to. They may not necessarily be important to me now, but they were personality-shaping-important at the time. This is the collection of “stuff” that has “made me who I am” and that have, I guess, in a way, led to the creation of this site.
All 80’s-era nerds played with Lego. I had a full “base” of space sets. Some day, I should put it back together, and take some pictures…
- Bardʼs Tale I, II, & III – Bard’s Tale was a defining thing to me. I graphed every square of every dungeon.
- M.U.L.E – Best. Theme. Song. Ever.
- Hard Hat Mack – I am still terrible at platformers, but this was one I bashed my head against until I could finish.
- Archon – Second best theme song ever.
Coin-Op Video Games
- Defender – This is one of the few coin-op games I was actually good at. I got good enough to get past the space levels, and back to the ground-based levels.
- Dig Dug
- Street Fighter – I was terrible at all fighting games. I can’t remember the special moves, and couldn’t perform them in the heat of the moment, even if I could.
- Robocop – I could finish the whole game on 1 quarter.
- Star Wars series
- Star Trek I, II, & III – Especially II
- Electric Dreams – The original Her
- Trading Places – My brother-in-law, an investment broker, says that itʼs part of the course work in getting a financial degree to watch that movie.
- Blade Runner
- Back to the Future
- Ferris Beullerʼs Day Off – I believe I saw this as a senior, so it was especially poignant.
- War Games
- Mr. Mom
- Johnny Dangerously
- Night Shift – These last 4: Michael Keaton!
- Karate Kid
- Mad Max 1 & 2
- Different Strokes
- The Facts of Life
- Buck Rogers
- Mork and Mindy
- Little House on the Prairie – We watched it every week because my sister was so in love with the show. I always complained, but I secretly enjoyed it too.
- The Dukes of Hazzard
- The Brady Bunch
- The Muppet Show
- The Cosby Show
- The Bionic Man! – Was it just me, or did that show have the worst fizzle of any show ever? I mean, teaming up with Sasquatch to save the Earth from aliens with time-stopping devices? Sheesh. Maybe itʼs my faulty memory. It couldnʼt have been that bad, could it?
- Threeʼs Company – Forever a classic!
- Knight Rider! – Do you have any idea how cheesy that show is to watch now? Yeesh!
- SNL, but more importantly, Fridays, which was a much funnier show.
- Love Boat
- Fantasy Island
- The A-Team
- Magnum P.I.
- Road Runner, Bugs Bunny, and Daffy Duck Space Ghost
- Land of the Lost
- Super Friends
- The Pink Panther
- Tom and Jerry
- Duran Duran – A long-distance friendʼs sister enlightened me. I can remember just staring at the cassette player in awe.
- Led Zeppelin
- Pink Floyd
- John Cougar Mellencamp – or Johnny Hoosier Melanoma, as Mike used to call him.
- The Beastie Boys
- Sheena E. – Or was it Sheila E.? As I write this, Glamorous Life is playing in my head, and itʼs what made me think of updating this page.
- Cameo – Word Up is my theme song.
- Shaka Kahn
- The Thompson Twins
- The The (sic)
- X-Men, and its derivatives – I had a subscription in high school, and had all the original story lines theyʼre muddling and destroying in the modern movies.
- Fantastic Four
- Iron Man
- Calvin and Hobbes
Commodore Vic-20 and C-64
Back in about 1978 or so, the Atari 2600 was taking the world by storm, and I begged my parents for one. My dad wouldn’t go for it. But, the next year, he bought us a Vic-20 for Christmas, complete with a cassette drive and dot-matrix printer. I learned how to program it, because it was there, but we mostly just played games on it. Then the C-64 came out, and it was clearly much better at playing games, so I begged my parents to upgrade.
until I made a program big enough to fill up itʼs 4.5 KB of usable memory. Then Dad upgraded us to a C-64 with a floppy disk drive! I could go on for a few days about this. Applications? What applications? Yeah, there was a spreadsheet. Yeah, there was a word processor. There was even a GUI desktop at the end (GEOS), but man was it slow! No, what was significant here was programming and games. I wrote lots of small programs. The one that overran the Vic was a Dungeons and Dragons character generator. I never finished it, because there are only so many IF-THENʼs a person can put into one program before heʼs not going to work on it anymore. Thatʼs still the only way to program a table lookup in BASIC, and – at least at the time – you had to typically do about a million big table lookups to get your character completed. Then there was the D&D character sheet, the simplicity and usefulness of which could not be duplicated in any official product.
Texas Instruments TI-77
My best friend Davidʼs computer. It was another classic computer from that era. (There were a lot of stinkers, but I was fortunate to only deal with winners.) We played a lot of games on it, but never did any programming with it. I donʼt think it had BASIC built in, and Davidʼs dad never bought the CART or something.
My later best friend, Darren, brought his dadʼs to school in 6th grade to show a program he had written. All it did was have a stick figure walk across the screen, but it was cool.
The Atari 400
This one was in the middle-school library. I had to take turns at lunch with a half-dozen other people, but since dad had bought the C-64 by then, I could stand not to get on it every day.
The Gould NP1
This is an odd addition to this list, and I had to look up what these machines were, but these were the Unix machines that took me through my time at Purdue. I spent many hours listing directories and running random programs I found. I very-clearly recall one proto-Rogue-like that didnʼt even have a character-based UI. I wish I could remember what it was called. They started making the shift away from shared Unix machines to Windows PCʼs the year after I left.