My early computers

My first computer was a Tandy TRS-80 - I paid extra to get the model with 16kb of RAM - yes that is "k".

This machine taught me masses about computing and I spent a lot of time dis-assembling the BIOS to find out how it worked.

There was also a brilliant book published by Tandy (Radio Shack) that explained in simple terms how a computer was built from the basis building blocks of AND and NOR gates - it was called "Understanding Digital Computers" by Forrest M. Mims, III.

After a couple of years I outgrew the TRS-80 and I bought a Sinclair QL

However there were very few games available for the QL, so I decided to create a simple Pacman game, which I had published in the March 1985 "QL User" magazine. I even received loyalties for a few copies that they sold on microdrives - for those too lazy to type the code out of the magazine.

I converted the game into Flash. It is as close to the original as possible, I make no apologies for how bad it looks now. Click here to play

My third computer was an Amstrad 1640. This computer was priced cheaper than a standard IBM PC, which only had CGA graphics (ie 4 colours) and the IBM XT which often came with EGA graphics (up to 256 colours)

The Amstrad had a strange graphics adapter which was half way between the CGA and EGA standards (I called this DGA - although I have never heard anyone else use that term). This meant that if a program had been especially written for the Amstrad you would have a 256 colours, but any software that was written for the IBM PC was limited to just 4 colours.

Around this time there were a number of games, from Sierra, that were popular. Games like Kings Quest, Space Quest and Leisure Suit Larry. But these looked terrible in 4 colours. So one day I decided to have a go at writing a graphics driver for the Amstrad which would allow me to play Sierra games in their full splendour. Working evenings only this took just over a week, and the results were incredible. As with the Pacman game for the QL, I sent the software to a computer magazine, but never heard back from them, so never made any money from it.  But it was good fun playing the games.