I remember being three years old and my parents brought home... an odd beige box that looked like a typewriter, but with strange keys and a nifty hatch on the top. It plugged into the television, and you turned it on and got a blue screen. Oh, that's neat mum! We didn't have the blue screen channel before!

The clever part was that you could plug a beige tape recorder into the beige typewriter and then type some words which came up on the blue screen and... if you waited a long time... you got to play Space Invaders!

This was the absolute epitome of amazing entertainment - Space Invaders was so thrilling! There were invaders. They were from space! You could tell, because they came out of a space ship. They were attacking the moon, so technically they were also invading something that was in space and so the title was an intricate maze of multiple meanings!

Look, I was three years old, okay?

So I learned to play Space Invaders, something involving a chicken catching falling eggs, and Pyramid of Doom. You play Pyramid of Doom by repeatedly dying in the first ten moves and starting over, until you get bored and decide text adventures are not as much fun as people claim. You then come back to it the next day to try and get into the damn pyramid.

Then I found out how to make the computer go! You just type:

20 GOTO 10

This was the most tremendous fun, and could consume whole hours. I really enjoyed this. I wanted to do more!

So I moved on to typing short programs out of books... and then I tried typing in long programs out of magazines. I had a great time just getting things to work and debugging my typos. I was ecstatic when I got a several-hundred line Dungeons and Dragons character generator working. I didn't care that I had no idea what the rules for the game were, I just had a program that did things, and I'd made it go!

At this point, I'd like to just take a moment to express my hatred of editors who decide to split a program over two issues but don't think to mention this until after the last line of code: You bastards. I'd also like to express my hatred of magazine distributors in the early 80's, who didn't actually bother to order runs of computer magazines, and just got random samplings of whatever took their fancy: You utter bastards.

So, by the age of five I knew exactly what I wanted to do for a job. Unfortunately, no adults actually thought this was ever going to be a viable career.

The idiots.

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