I began to learn programming in 1984 through a strange series of events. That year I was a student doing Art & Design. After making new friends I noticed other students playing chess in the library.

Always having an interest in chess I joined this group and began learning how to play. One of these players was the local under 16yo chess champion. He began my study with chess, explaining opening strategies for white and black, best defensive practice for mid to end game. After many weeks of annoying this individual he suggested I should practice playing chess on the campus computer.

My reply was “what is a computer?”

I was an art student and never had exposure to computational devices more complex than a hand-held calculator!

I was introduced to the campus Vaxen mainframe. A massive machine locked away inside an air-conditioned room, with access granted by many Honeywell 110 dumb terminals placed around the campus.

So I played chess and discovered some other games available, DND, Joust and a few others.

This piqued my interest, how does a computing machine allow games to be played? What was required?

Asking questions from the current computing students I began to purchase programming books. I subsequently taught myself how to program on a Vaxen mainframe.

My first language was BASIC, followed by DCL (Digital Command Language) and when I finally purchased my own personal computer, a Commodore 64 in 1985, I began to learn assembly language and machine code.

This required I teach myself hexadecimal and binary numbering systems, to understand logical mathematics with AND and OR instructions.

I began to program in assembly language, using coding techniques that would move graphics and sprites around the computer screen with vertical blank interrupts for smooth animation.

This was high technology! State of the art for the time!

I’m still playing with computers, hardware and software. Always increasing my knowledge and having fun along the way 🙂