I WAS BORN in 1983, the same year as Microsoft Word. It was also the year the first mobile phones went on sale in the US, and Apple introduced its graphical user interface computer, the Lisa. Not quite a decade later, my parents lugged home a Hewlett Packard 360. It came with a specially shaped opaque dust cover, which my mother insisted on. Most of the time it looked as though we kept a plastic camel hump in our spare bedroom.
The HP 360 mattered to me for one reason: Gorillas.bas, a QBasic game that ran on MS-DOS. Two players, represented by gorillas atop skyscrapers, would set the desired gravity in metres/second, then enter the angle and velocity of their banana bombs and loft them across the skyline, trying to blow each other up. Angle and velocity meant little when I was ten, but the idea that I was controlling these... Read more
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