May 30th, 2009 by Gage Pacifera
A long time ago, before the era of giant 5.25-inch floppy discs, computers recorded data to cassette tape. I got my first taste of coding on one of these computers: the Radio Shack TRS-80. My dad had one for calculating screen printing bids and for playing asteriods on an awesome double joystick setup. He had a book that covered the basics of writing code and I committed some epic programs to tape: choose-your-own-adventure style text games, musical compositions and some breathtaking ASCII art.
I was reminded of that first computer I coded on last night while cleaning out a house my friend bought. Stashed away in the back of a drawer, amongst issues of Atari Magazine and dot matrix printouts, was a reference guide of TRS-80 BASIC commands. I was instantly filled with a wave of nostalgia: memories of figuring out BASIC programming as alternative to boredom while my dad was burning screens and pulling squeegies. If there is a single entity to blame for my current obsession with computers, it is surely the TRS-80.
My dad still has the old computer and says I can have it. I wonder if he still has my old programs on cassette.. or that awesome asteroids game.