More Fun To Compute

Written by Makke

I was listening to the Kraftwerk album Computer world the other day, and when the song "More fun to compute" started to play an idea struck me. Haven't the computers of today totally lost their souls? Today computers are just a tool that we throw out when it's not good enough. If I got a new PC and I was forced to sell or throw my old away that wouldn't hurt me much (except that trashing a perfectly working PII 300MHz should be considered a criminal act). But if I had to throw away my C64 or my Amiga 1200, that would probably hurt a LOT. I don't use these two computers that much anymore. However, the emotional value, not to mention the nostalgic value in them, are too great to be thrown away.

Wasn't it more fun when everybody had the same computer? And when a new MB of memory was a gift from god? And all your friends stared with awe on your monster memory machine?

Today we go and buy ourselves a new 3d-card, and for two days everybody is jealous, but then they too have bought them. People buy new computers every year, or several times per year just to stay up to date with the latest of the latest. Then remember this.

The C64 was manufactured and sold over a whole generation of kids. For 8-10 years this was the hottest thing you could have. Sure there was the Amiga as well, but that was out of reach for most of us. A dream we hoped sometime would come true. When I bought my first computer back in '90 it was a C64. This computer was almost the same as the first C64 ever sold, six years earlier. Now, try to picture yourselves having to actually PAY money for a PC-computer that is six years old. How much money would you give? And how "useful" would you consider this machine to be? Not a lot I'd guess.

Then I bought an Amiga in '92. I was in heaven though my Amiga looked like shit. The guy I bought it from had painted it black and had metal-stickers all over it, but I loved it. It had 2 megs of extended memory. I was the only kid in town who had that. I was the only one who could play Knights of the sky over null-modem cable without having the whole thing lagging like hell. I ruled.

Then came the Amiga 1200. Everybody bought one. Shit. I had to have one of these. So I bought the absolutely most basic A1200 there was. No hd, no extra ram. No nothing. I didn't even get a new joystick or mouse for it. Just to at least have a chance to play the latest games. However, this was the least upgraded game-machine around. Would any kid today settle with this? The kids of today are totally spoiled with computer technology.

I talked to a 14-year-old kid a few weeks ago. He considered himself to have been in the "gaming business" since the beginning. Since the dawn of computer games. The first game he EVER played... was Wolfenstein 3d.

So the computer game culture before this? The 15 years of Vic20s, C64s, Spectrums, Amstrads, Ataris, Amigas. What were they?

In my opinion all the funniest games ever were made before Wolfenstein 3d.

Bubble Bobble, the lame, yet totally awesome game. 1942. Activision's Decathlon, the joystick killer. Speedball 2. Lotus Turbo Challenge I & II. Civilization. Populous. All these are great games that I still play, and consider more fun to play with my friends than Quake, Star Craft or Half Life.

Where did all the real games and gamers go? Is it still more fun "to compute"?

- Makke/Visuale/Hugi/Trebel

PS. Just played the really cool game Aliens vs. Predator. One of the best games I've played in years!