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My name is Mr. Podoboo. I'm a rather dapper sentient ball of fire who's fond of hanging out in lava pits and inexplicably the occasional brick floor. I'm somewhere around my late twenties or early thirties and have been making crappy games for over 20 years.
I first learned to program in the late '80s on this beast:
(photo taken from http://rasterweb.net/raster/computers/vtech.html)
The VTech PreComputer 1000. It was billed as some sort of educational toy, but really it's just a severely underpowered Z80 microcomputer running PreBasic 1.0 (which seems to be a clone of Microsoft BASIC). The tiny 20 character built-in screen did not prevent me from spending hours working on that thing, nor did the system's lack of any sort of long-term storage. I wrote my programs out on paper to save them. Complete notebooks, full of nothing but code for silly text-based games.
I got a real computer in late '92 and soon after bought this:
PowerBASIC for DOS (I also got it for Windows 3.1, but my god, 3.1 is a nightmare to program for -- even in BASIC). I made countless, countless DOS games in PB. PowerBASIC is still available here and, surprisingly, it's still the same price. That PC Magazine review they quote? That's actually where I first read about it and what persuaded me to get it. My parents probably still have that issue somewhere.
I got into web-based programming in '97 writing and selling Perl scripts. What heady days those were. It was the dot com bubble, you see, and the number of startups with inane web aspirations was limitless. All of them needed something. Just like in the gold rush, the smart move is not to go out digging, but to sell shovels. The burst coincided with my graduation from high school and that was pretty much the end of that.
I majored in computer science and have a degree in it, but I more or less burned out on computers during college. Although my present occupation is only tangentially related to them, I do still enjoy whiling away my free time by slapping together horrible games that literally no one will ever play. Still in DOS, occasionally Windows 3.1. I took a class on x86 assembly in school, and while I don't really do any of that anymore, it did make picking up 6502 assembly (NES, Atari 2600, Apple II, Commodore 64, etc.) a snap. I've honestly never had any interest in making anything for newer systems. Yes, when the need arises for some utility or whatever that I need but doesn't exist, I'll write something for Windows 7 in C#, but I mean for fun. I just don't find modern programming to be all that fun. I think that's mostly because there's not much challenge in it -- Google having effectively eliminated all the adventure of figuring out how things work.
First game I ever played? Yars' Revenge. I was only three years old and it scared the hell out of me -- the sound it makes, mostly. Urgh. Didn't really enjoy video games until Mario came around.
Until I inherited a Wii, my last console was an SNES. I didn't get an N64 or PlayStation because I get horrible motion sickness playing 3D games and nobody seemed to be making 2D ones anymore. I stuck to my SNES and I still play it today. I suppose people call it retrogaming now, but that isn't how I think of it.
I do definitely think of this website design as retro-Internet, though. ;-)
Remember when emoticons had noses? Where did they go?