"What was it like in olden times Daddy?"

You know you're old when they make a programme about your childhood.

I watched Micro Men on BBC4 last night, about the rivalry between Clive Sinclair and Chris Curry as they developed their home computers. Our school got a ZX80 and then a ZX81 and we got a Spectrum at home (Sinclair's machines). We also got a BBC computer (made by Curry's Acorn company) at our school. So these machines were part of my childhood. I heard names I hadn't heard for a long time like Sinclair QL, Dragon, Oric and BBC Master.

Towards the end they sit in a pub and speculate what it would have been like if they'd worked together, however I think the home computer market may still have dried up. Someone's probably done the analysis, but I guess consoles took over from these computers for games, and PCs for "serious" stuff.

One of my sons got a T-shirt yesterday that said "retro gamer" with a picture of a cassette tape on it. The tape also said 2kB. One of them asked me "is that a hundredth or a thousandth of a gigabyte?". "No, it's a millionth". I refrained from getting too nostalgic, but I could have gone on - "we didn't even have eight bit colour, we had just eight colours", etc.

I wrote a while back, not on this blog, probably on a comment on someone else's blog (note to self, keep track of your writing more), about how I used to write games for the Spectrum, and make a bit of money out of it. When I wrote it there was no easy way of doing a similar thing, as games were the preserve of companies, even if they were small ones. The barriers in developing for mobile handsets, the equivalent of those "lightweight" games we used to write, were too high. However since then, with the rise of Flash games sites, like miniclip, and lower entry barriers for iPhones and Android phones, there must be an increasing number of people out there making a bit of pocket money by writing games as a hobby. Plus the few making quite a bit more, I'm sure.

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