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So Many Memories by Karsh

Posted on: May 6, 2005 8:07 PM

When my dad got a job as an engineer for GE, he started to bring home all kinds of neat toys for me to play with. How he'd knew I'd end up becoming a technophile at such a young age is beyond me. There's so many to name that were my favorite. Sit back and recall the memories of your childhood electronics with me.

My first computer was a K28 Talking Computer. I forget who manufactured it, but I remember when I started the brick-like unit, it would say K-2-8. AC-TI-VATE. However, it's activating days were soon over when my older brother ran water over it in the bathtub one night to see if it would float. Imagine the horror of coming and seeing your first CPU in a tub of running water saying K....2...8.... before radically changing its pitch and then dying.

It did float, though.

My mother, not one to skimp on the gadgets either, brought this 10-pound Texas Instruments Teaching Calculator, which was basically, a TI calculator mounted atop an LED box with a front screen. Sure, seeing the numbers come up as big as my hand was exciting at first, but not as much fun as trying to make up words that appeared when you looked at it upside down. I even made a story with one, grab a calculator and follow along:

There was 1 girl who was 16 years old and did it 69 times (hit the multiplication key) with 3 men, and this is what she was.

Flip your calculator over.

Nasty.

Next was my Talking Whiz-Kid, which had these little cartridges you put in the sides which had different activities and stories on them. My dad only bought me one cartridge, though, so the replay value diminished after then until I broke it open with a hammer to see how it worked. "No more electronics for you," he'd say. And he stayed true to his word. My grandmother went behind his back and bought me a Laser 2000 computer system complete with printer. I stared at that one-line screen and fooled around on it until I sold it at the flea market for $20.

In third grade, I was introduced to the Apple IIe and games like "Oregon Trail" and "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?". I also started learning BASIC around this time and toyed around with making programs and even some computer graphics.

Best I could muster was a rocket ship that had USA on it.

When I started fourth grade, I had graduated from BASIC to DOS when our school finally received decent PCs. On the homefront, my brother and I were the first in the neighborhood to have a Nintendo Entertainment System. Soon, I was the king of the neighborhood, trouncing my peers in Pro Wrestling and defeating the champ in Mike Tyson's Punch Out! My brother and I had started to collect all the necessities; an NES MAX controller, a Power Glove and R.O.B., the lovable chip-stacking robot creation of Professor Hector. We even had subscriptions to the Nintendo Fun Club, the Nintendo Power predecessor.

And for +1 in geek cred, I still remember my old membership number (025252303) and have the last issue of Nintendo Fun Club in near mint condition.

Ah...those were the days.

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Comments:

OREGON TRAIL!!! It took me a second to recognize the screenshot, but once I did, the recognition was followed by a flood of memories. I'd always been a math fan myself, so I was partial to number munchers and math blaster...but wow...the Oregon Trail...good times.

Posted by: Sonny at May 6, 2005 11:14 PM

You can buy Oregon Trail t-shirts here.

Posted by: freddy at May 6, 2005 11:20 PM

Now you've done it:

1) I deeply respect your memory of your Fun Club membership number. I loved that little guy, before he grew up to become Nintendo Power. Deep, deep respect.

2) I can only extend this extreme nerdiness by ashamedly pointing out that I still have the Nintendo Customer Service toll-free number memorized -- 1-800-422-2602 -- from when I would call, oh, EVERY SINGLE DAY as a kid. To this day my fingers will dial this number "imaginarily" out of habit. Yow.

3) My lofty goal in Oregon Trail in 5th grade was just to die and type funny sweary words on the tombstones, as they were automatically saved to the floppy disk, as a special surprise for the next player. "HERE LIES: DICKS P. DANGLE JR., 1804-1804"

Posted by: Cabel at May 6, 2005 11:24 PM

Hilarious memories:

"Best I could muster was a rocket ship that had USA on it."

Posted by: alison at May 6, 2005 11:53 PM

That "Nasty" comment, made me pee in my pants. Good Job!
-Joel

Posted by: Joel Conrad Bechtolt at May 7, 2005 12:13 AM

I USED TO LOVE NINTENDO POWER!!!
i need to get a gba... so i can have an excuse to subscribe again.

do you know anything about 8-bit peoples? or re-programing nintendo games...? i put some links on my post... but here are a few tutorials anyhow.. 1 28.

also... ive been collecting these little models of the old nintendo and namco entertainment system from the vending machines here. maybe you'd be interested. http://www.yujin-net.com. its a sweet series, and includes the AV Famicon HVC-101, the Family Basic HVC-007 w/ Data Recorder HVC-008, the family computer hvc-001, the family computer disk system hvc-022 and the family computer robot HVC-012. i don't have the robot, but i think i have extras of the family basic and the computer disk system. if you'd like, i could send you one of them. they even come with games (dig dug is the only ii recognize) and tiny remote controls.

anyhow... i dig your post.

Posted by: james at May 7, 2005 2:40 AM

yes!
i found it!
i don't know why i didn't think about doing google site-specific searches.

anyhow... i've been looking for this for ages...

Posted by: james at May 7, 2005 2:50 AM

but the series i have has a robot as well...

Posted by: james at May 7, 2005 2:52 AM

OMG! Where did you get a screen shot of the Oregon Trail? You got the emulator? Hook a susta up!

My daddy bought me the same calculator. I loved that thing.

Posted by: ~SunRay~ at May 7, 2005 8:14 AM

Oh I used to LOVE "Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego" oh good memories.

My brother had a nintendo but never let me play it :(

Posted by: Toshiko at May 7, 2005 12:54 PM

Egads...I didn't think that many people would like the post! I had a long day in PR land and came home and was spent. Glad to see y'all can relish in the memories of Apple IIe games, NES and calculator pr0n.

Sonny: I was partial to Snooper Troops. Gods, I loved that game.

Cabel: For shame! Any Nintendo geek knows the customer service number was 1-800-255-3700! -5 geek points for you. ;)

Alison: What's funny is that I'm a whiz at Photoshop, and that damn rocketship is STILL all I can make using BASIC!

James: FAMICOM! OMG! I recently came across a windfall of Japanese ROMs which never made it to the US. Oh...good times, my friend. Good times.

Posted by: karsh at May 7, 2005 6:56 PM