Today’s a special day: The 30-year anniversary of the launch of the IBM PC, a machine created for business that many of us soon discovered made a perfectly wonderful gaming machine. The PC wasn’t my first gaming computer (that was a Radio Shack TRS-80), but it was certainly the one that turned me into a gamer.
My little 286 wasn’t much to look at, but she had it where it counted, and as Sierra adventure games gave way to mind-blowing cinematic simulations like Wing Commander and simple dial-up BBS board games like Trade Wars 2002 gave way to LAN and online gaming from the likes of DooM and Quake, I didn’t even have time to appreciate how fast gaming was evolving on our husky spreadsheet machines.
Technology moves on. Even IBM has passed the torch to Apple for everyday computing. But funnily enough, it’s gaming that keeps the PC scene moving forward. Game hardware has changed considerably from the old days. (Remember upper memory? Remember drivers?) But it’s the PC game scene that keeps the hard core graphics hardware moving forward, and even though the scene is shrinking in importance to the overall computing, gadgets and smartphone market, PC gaming is still going strong on its own. No surprise for machines that can still be useful after 30 years.
So a toast to the IBM PC. I was three years old when it first appeared. And without it and the culture that sprung up around it, I wouldn’t have the job, the hobbies, the experiences, and the friends that I have today. Not bad for a hunk of steel and silicon.
What’s your favourite PC gaming memory of the last 30 years?