While I like to feign excessive age, I realize that, in many ways, I’m still on the upper edges of young adulthood.  (For another couple of years, at least.)  ‘Course, I’ve seen some changes in my time.  I buy nearly all my comics digitally now, for one thing.  I also have a kid whom I’m trying not to mess up too bad.  But the biggest difference is a simple one: The ignition key for my car has more computing power than the first computer I ever owned and my fourteen-year-old carries a super-computer in her pocket which she uses to talk to all her friends at all hours of the day.  Given my sixth-grade experience of programming low-res graphics on an Apple IIe, it’s quite a change, which makes me wonder about today’s 8-bit query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) is prepared for the onslaught of people much younger than 48 who want me to know that I really am ancient, asking: What device constituted your first computer?


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. Karl G Siewert on

    The first computer in my home was an Apple ][e, but before that, the first computer I had access to and worked with was a Tandy Color Computer 2 at school, which stored data on cassette tapes. This was the first computer on which I did any programming (using LOGO and BASIC). We also had a TRS-80 Model III in the same classroom.

  2. Malone_hasco on

    It was IBM compatible PC with Intel 386 processor. I had experience with Commodore 64 and Amiga before, but those weren’t mine.

  3. An early version of the Apple ][. It was definitely a family computer. My mother programmed on it while I played games and wrote term papers. It booted off of a 5 1/4 floppy.

  4. Daniel Langsdale on

    First game system: some version of Pong with a light gun shooting game.

    First programmable: Atari 400, complete with a membrane keyboard, and a peripheral cassette tape deck for program storage.

  5. J Michael T on

    I don’t remember (because I’m old) if my Atari 400 or Texas Sinclair zx81 came first, but yeah I was right there at the leading edge when personal computers became available. I remember spending hours typing the code published on magazines that would let you program a bouncing square on your TV (no monitor; these plugged into your TV set kids).

    I fell to my knees in gratitude to the genius who came up with the way to save your programs to a cassette using a tape recorder.

    Fun times.

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