This thing made me a developer

While doing some spring cleaning some months back (see? I was really busy these past couple of months =p), I came across my old Vtech Pre Computer Power Pad. It brought back so many memories! My dad’s friend got me this from Dubai when I was about 10 or 11 years old. Back then, very few homes in Pakistan had computers, atleast we didn’t have a computer at our place, so I was ecstatic when I got my greedy little hands on it.

It had lots of mini games, mostly educational, like trivia, quizes and whatnot. But the most interesting thing by far to me was the ability to code in the BASIC programming language. I started by reading through the blue instruction manual for the language (I think I still have it stashed away somewhere), which was the only source of reference that I had, and then bit by bit, started to experiment with code. And then I just got sucked into it. I ended up writing so many different programs. The one big downside of it was that you could only store one program at a time in its persistent memory.

The last thing that I remember coding on it was a 2 player text based cricket game, in which players would select a type of bowling action and a batting shot, and based on those combinations, the result of the ball would be determined. I couldn’t make improvements in the game because the code reached the maximum limit of the storage memory, and memory expansion cards weren’t available in Pakistan. And soon after, the power unit of the computer game out or something, and it stopped working.

And now its probably lying at some second hand shop, or being taken apart for spare parts. But it did good in the sense that I found out early on that I had a passion for crafting code and really enjoyed creating stuff on computers. This thing awoke the inner CS techy in me =D


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