Robert Hampton

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18th August 2010

I like computers so much, I changed my name to Computer Jones

Followers of my Twitter feed (those who aren’t spambots selling diet pills, anyway) will probably be aware that I have been clearing out junk from my loft. This is not due to some sudden financial crisis, nor am I desperately trying to feed an addiction (unless you count my weakness for Haribo Tangfastics). It’s simply because we’re getting a loft conversion done, and an empty loft facilitates that. Therefore selling some old crap is a good idea.

Amongst the stuff up there is a veritable museum of computer history: twenty years of accumulated electronics, including my Commodore 64 (top right), Acorn RiscPC (top left) and Acorn A3010 (bottom). Also up there but not pictured: my Super NES.


Just for giggles I connected the C64 up to the TV, and it still works! Within minutes I was happily loading programs via Datasette at 300 baud, partying like it was 1989. There’s a smorgasboard of ancient games up there too.

I’m something of a hoarder when it comes to stuff like this. Each of the above machines has a special place for me. The C64 meant hours of time spent making extremely chunky sprites in Shoot ‘Em Up Construction Kit, giggling at crap jokes in Commodore Format, and singing along, karaoke-style, to the Ghostbusters title screen.

The others spark similar memories. The A3010 inspired many hours of BBC BASIC hackery, but is also associated in my mind with staying up all night to finish school essays that I could have had done weeks earlier. The RiscPC, meanwhile, was the first computer I ever got on the internet with, and I still remember vividly the frisson of excitement on that day in August 1997 (the day before Princess Diana was killed, fact fans) when I installed the ArgoNet software and heard the ear-splitting screeching of my 33.6k modem for the first time.

So there’s a lot of history there. Realistically though, all this stuff has been in the loft for 5 years, and they’ve never been touched in that time, so I think it’s time to put sentiment to one side and flog them on eBay. Now, does anyone want a pristine copy of PipeDream 4 (copyright 1991 Colton Software)?

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2 Responses
  1. Comment by Roy McNeil
    22nd August 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Odd you should mention Commodore Format – when I was in school I wrote the last ever article for it and got paid £279 for it. It was ‘Ultimate Hardware’ and I was dead proud of myself writing for a proper magazine.

    Good that brings back memories – I think you can still view it online somewhere. I used to love CF!

  2. Comment by Robert Hampton
    24th August 2010 at 10:42 pm

    There was a web site with scans of old CFs but it seems to have disappeared. Shame, I would have liked to have read what you wrote!

    It’s a nice feeling to see your name in print. I remember feeling quite chuffed when Acorn User paid me £20 for a program I sent in for their coverdisc. 🙂