Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Remembering Jack Tramiel

My mom thought that owning a Commodore 64 was essential to my education.

His contribution may not have been as seminal as John McCarthy’s or Denis Ritchie’s, but you have to admit that he made home computing possible for an entire generation. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs would own the ninety’s when computers would be reduced to mere word processors, spreadsheets, and web browsers, but the eighties belonged to Jack.

His hardware made it possible for us to write our first BASIC programs. He connected us to Bulletin Board Systems as we transitioned from 300 to 2400 baud speeds. You felt his influence whether you owned an 8-bit Commodore or a 16-bit Atari ST– and even if you just ran programs on your PC that were ported from those machines. He unleashed hundreds of electronic artists that gave us the first virtual worlds to explore: from Jumpman to Starglider, from M.U.L.E. to Dungeon Master, from Star Raiders to The Pawn.

Personal computers were actually personal then… and Jack Tramiel was at the center of it all, making them more powerful and more affordable. He will be missed.

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One response to “Remembering Jack Tramiel

  1. RogerBW April 12, 2012 at 4:37 am

    Yeah, the retrospectively distinctive thing about the eighties is that it was the time when it was both reasonable for a normal person to own a computer and necessary to learn at least a bit of programming to do anything useful. So an awful lot of people did.

    This has certainly coloured my career – I’m quite careful to stay on the boundary between sysadmin and coding, because I enjoy both.

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