Looking back on my 37 years of life, I think I can safely say I have been one of the geeks most of the time. I shamefully have to admit I sometimes feel emberrassed when watching the Big Bang Theory because I recognize a lot from my earlier years.
I have played the original Zork games, even IBM’s Adventure, the early Sierra games, and even have a stack of the original Sierra games in the attic. I programmed hopelessly in GW-Basic and did some Pascal to mak easy pac-man games. Games were simple. Computers were relatively simple. Floppy disks that you could accidentally fold in half. CGA, EGA and VGA… EMM386 and HIMEM.SYS. Ah, in those days you needed to be skilled as a regular hacker today to just run the computer. The Mac was not hip, it was hopeless and unpopular at that time. Apple? Just one of the smaller pc producers.
My highlight of the year was going to the Dutch computer conventions called the Holland Computer Club days, a Comicon for IT nerds. Buying the latest sound cards and games, trying to get a better deal on a mouse and scoring boxes of empty floppy discs.
I owned one of the first portale cd-players, one of the most hopeless inventions of the ’90s. And it was freakingly heavy at the time. And during the lunch brakes me and the other geeks were actually discussing on how to load up images in our games while others were talking about girls. Of course the images that we wanted to load up WERE of girls, but that is something completely different.
Back then, geek was not something to be proud of. I shamefully admit buying Windows95 the day it arrived on August 25 1995. And for you who does not know it, the release of Windows95 was relatively just such a hype then as the launch of the iPad was two years ago. It was BlG!
But, I feel a bit sad sometimes because it seems that ‘our breed of nerd’ is on the brink of extinction. Today being online is normal, people play more games now and far more hours a day then I did when I was young, and there were a lot less of them. Oblivion or Skyrim or Dragon Age? Ha! Dungeon and Dragons in the SSI Gold-Box series you mean!
People form lines twice around the block to be one of the first to have the new iThingy, or newest Android phone. They have finished the games already before I even receive my pre-order. Having the latest electronica gadget is not geeky anymore… And the geeks of today are actually normal people. It is not special anymore. Sniff….
And now that Steve Jobs is gone, and Bill Gates is more or less gone from the IT world… Who do we dot-matrix nerds have to turn to as our new icon?
Well, I think in the words of Mozilla Foundation: “We do not support older versions anymore.”
A Geek from the 1.0 generation.