Salad Days

· by Steve · Read in about 2 min · (231 Words)

My friend Damien was blogging about his early experiences with computers & programming yesterday, and it reminded me of how I got started. Specifically, it reminded me of an influential magazine I read at the time called “Input”, which taught BASIC programming for the ZX Spectrum and BBC. It was a short-lived, esoteric British thing, but I was astonished to find that not only does Wikipedia have a page on it, but they also linked a TV advert of it which has been lovingly archived on YouTube:

This brought back some serious memories. I remember that as well as the demo snippets there was an adventure game of sorts which was being published bit by bit in the magazine, as an incentive for you to buy them all. Like most magazines of this type there were regular typos that you’d scratch your head over, but in a way that was a good thing since it taught you to debug other people’s code.

I was 10/11 years old when this magazine came out, and I can probably trace my programming beginnings directly to it. It’s probably a bizarre concept to the younger generation, now that they have instant access to almost limitless information on the Internet. What I would have given to have the Internet back then when I was learning, instead of scratching around for information in magazines like this. 😀