Tuesday, January 08, 2008

On my last post, when I mentioned our old Commodore Vic 20, a friend commented about "Connect Four". That was a reference to a game I programmed on the computer. I wasn't savvy enough to design any artificial intelligence -- you couldn't play against the machine; it was a 2-person game. But it had some neat graphics and sound effects, which I had to create from scratch. The opening played a tune from The Thief of Baghdad, a family favorite. When you dropped your red or black disc, it made a descending "bloop-bloop-bloop" sound. And when the computer identified 4-in-a-row, it highlighted the winner and played a victorious "dum-de-dum-dum!"

Hardly the stuff of Playstation or Wii. Or even the primitive video games of the time. Nevertheless, my dad was super impressed by it, but this was from the guy who grew up thinking those Flash Gordon serials were cutting edge. He kept insisting I should try to sell my Connect Four program to Atari. I explained that Milton Bradley might have a problem with that. And even though I knew I hadn't composed anything extraordinary, I was confident in my abilities with this new technology and went on to take computer programming classes in college and even minor in the subject. Yes, I was a geek like in Revenge of the Nerds, ranking in coolness somewhere between Poindexter and Booger.

Flash forward to modern times. I'm sure I was the last person to get a cellphone. Could barely handle the intricacies of video games like Rock Band, which I tried for the first time recently -- fun, but much more complicated than Q*bert. And though I resisted listening to music digitally, my gifted mp3 player meant my cassette tapes were officially passé. And it meant I needed a computer that could process more than a megabyte or two. So my gift to myself was a launch into the 21st Century -- a new laptop.

I could brag that at this moment, I own 3 computers (my crappy old desktop, my mediocre old laptop, and this one). But it'd be nice if I actually knew how to work any of 'em. This is my first post on my new laptop. Considering how far I've fallen technologically, it's a miracle I got it done.


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