Monday, August 18, 2008

Atari 400 and My First Dose of FAIL

I'm not sure what made me think about this now, but I was just daydreaming and thought about my very first programming experience.

I had gotten an Atari 400 (may have been XL?) as a kid and it came with a BASIC cartridge and this binder full of programs you could write. I remember looking at them and thinking it was cool that if I type these odd looking lines that didn't make sense to me, the machine would do something. I was fixated with one that I think was shorter, a program that would display an American flag on the TV screen.

One night my father and I typed out the program. If I remember correctly, I typed it out the first time and it didn't run. FAIL. Nice first experience. My father tried it. FAIL. The keyboard was this awful touch-button setup -- not actual keys but areas you would press. Brutal typing. I think this is the model.

I tried again. And again. And again. FAIL. FAIL. FAIL.

I remember ... not being irritated or mad, but disappointed. I wanted it to run and it wouldn't and no one could tell me why. I remember sitting with my face right next to the TV screen going character by character, line by line and checking my work. Never did get it to run.

Hmm. Wonder if I can find that machine somewhere in my parents' basement?