I don’t remember how old I was, but I do remember sitting typing in BASIC for what seemed like hours with my old man. There we were, in front of the Spectrum 48k’s rubber keyboard and a black and white television copying as best we could from an issue of Your Sinclair, or something. The program would ultimately turn into a two player cowboy shoot-em-up, and it would take us all day to key in the code required to make the game work.
When it was complete, my father had a cup of tea and I pressed ‘RUN’. Anticipation was high, we’d invested a great deal of time into this, and we’d got frustrated with each other several times over the afternoon it had taken. I’m sure I was either five or six, and in my youthful ignorance had gone straight into the game, had a quick blast to see our handiwork manifest itself on screen, and then pressed ‘NO’ at the prompt to have another go.
The game reset itself, using the Spectrum’s ‘NEW’ command. This was fine, in principle – that’s how a lot of early BASIC games took you back to the Spectrum’s start-up screen, such as it was. But for us, this was disaster – we hadn’t saved the game. Despite actually coding in the ‘NEW’ command as part of the program, neither of us realised that the game would reset after our first play, effectively erasing the memory – and all our hard work.
Since then, I’ve learnt to save, back up and actually check what I’m coding, but this was my first memory of anything to do with video games. Hopefully yours was rather more pleasant…