We wish you a Techy Christmas
Posted 18th December 2020
If you’ve been following our social media through December, you might have noticed we’ve been posting about our favourite tech Christmas presents. For many of the team being introduced to technology in the form of games consoles, home computers, and Walkmans, came from unwrapping a gift under a tree.
Our team wrote about all their favourite technology-based gifts and we turned their stories into social media posts. But, we think that the whole stories are too good not to share, so brew yourself a cup of tea (or a mulled wine if you prefer), sit back, and get a little bit nostalgic.
“So, I’m unfortunate enough to be so old I’ve seen a few firsts in my time, like the internet going mainstream or seeing the PC/Server really take off in the late 80’s. But from a personal tech influence, I would say my first Home Computer really sparked my interest, I remember getting my first computer and it being an Atari 400!
At the time Atari was a massive games company with the Atari VCS being the console of choice in the 70’s, but then home computers really took off in the early 80’s with Spectrum, Commodore, BBC, Atari and more. It had the flat keyboard and worked on cartridges, so the games loaded instantly, my favourite at the time being a racing game called Pole Position.
Unfortunately, due to the home computer being a ‘new thing’ my parents didn’t realise it needed games separately to work, so whilst I had a shiny new computer on Xmas morning… I had no game to play!
There were even rumours that some of the Atari games were designed with a military training purpose in collaboration with the pentagon (Battlezone, a tank game and missile command) – but never substantiated!”
“My early tech memories are really confessing to my brother that every time he was out, I would sneak into his bedroom and upload Chucky Egg/Galactic game on the tape recorder thingy that crackled and took about 20mins to load.
My other memories are of going to Erith Squash club with my dad as I wanted to go everywhere with him and played on the Pac Man machine which was 10p. Spent many an hour supping cokes, eating crisps and playing it.
Another one is playing tennis on the Grandstand console way, way back with Lee, one dot and two moving sticks!”
“So, for me, the first item of tech that I would say ‘sparked’ my interest with computers was when I was 10 years old and my Mum bought me a 2nd hand computer from the dinner lady (Mrs. Marshall!) at my primary school. Her son was selling, upgrading to a Commodore. I reckon I was 8 or 9.
I didn’t really know anything about computers at the time, but I remember regarding them as somewhat mystical and being oddly curious about the way they worked and what they might be able to do. Like, you could tap things into the keyboard and stuff would happen on the screen – MAGIC!
That wonderful piece of equipment was known as the Sinclair ZX81. I was fortunate enough to have the 16k version which meant I was able to benefit from games with ‘RICH’ content (anyone remember 3d Monster Maze?). Back then you used to ‘LOAD’ games using BASIC commands and an attached tape cassette player to play your games in the computer’s memory. The computer would interpret analogue sounds from the cassette into binary information and build the program into memory – MAGIC!
It definitely makes me appreciate how much technology has advanced during my lifetime so far!”
“I would have to say that the first piece of tech I can remember being interested in would have been the PlayStation 2 when I was really young.
It was always astonishing how an 8mb memory card could hold years upon years’ worth of game data. 8mb now is the equivalent of a bulky Excel document lol.
My favourite game series were Crash Bandicoot and Grand Theft Auto which are still being released to this day. As a kid, being able to fully control a character on your TV was crazy and it sparked an interest in me to find out how it was all possible.
I’m lucky enough to have grown up alongside tech and watch it develop, but not much can beat the nostalgia of your very first games console!”
“I wasn’t completely sure this fell under the ‘’ key piece of tech ‘’ however for me back in the late 90’s this was the ultimate egg-shaped computer. A handheld digital pet that was the closest thing that came to owning the real thing!
I was astonished to know that I could care for a pet within a tiny gadget and it really gave me a sense of importance (aged 12) and how advanced technology was even back then.”
“So, I can remember (I’m older than Jason!) my first double cassette recorder, which I guess was my first real interest to do with anything with a plug on it.
I had a Walkman and Commodore 64, an Atari games console, but the most valuable thing that I found was in the mid 2000’s when I was driving from site to site; it was a TomTom device.
You used to have to connect to your PC via USB and download the latest maps weekly, and if I recall it used to show active speed cameras, I can also remember you had to pay more for different voices.”
“For me, the earliest memory of technology was the Commodore 64 console which I still have!
Having to load a cassette then commands to start the game etc which took an age to load if it didn’t get stuck... This I believe was the start of me getting into technology, I’ve then had a lot of games consoles – Gameboy, MegaDrive, SNES, all the PlayStations and Xboxes, PCs and electronics since then – cassette, cd, mini disc players etc, as well as my first mobile phone being the Nokia 3210.
I always wanted to have the latest tech, going to CeX and part exchanging my old devices for newer ones with my saved-up money. This also built up my curiosity of how they worked also, opening them up and attempting to fix my own or friends/family’s devices when they had stopped working even when I had no idea what I was doing, a lot of trial and error. But the satisfaction I got from getting them to work again I loved.I still enjoy it to this day, getting stuck into new technology, seeing how they work, experimenting and getting to work as it should.”
“Ever since I was young, I have always been interested in cars and everything motorsport related.
However, at that age, it didn't take me long to work out that I was not old enough to drive the cars I had pictures of on my bedroom wall!
The next best thing was video games, more specifically racing games! Whether it be Gran Turismo or Forza on the different consoles, I enjoyed them all.
Every Christmas was the opportunity to get the latest one, with the newest cars and most detailed graphics.
Seeing how realistic the games could be sparked my passion for technology on a wider scale. I'm always wanting to try out the newest tech!”
“For me a device never got me into tech, it was more a family member.
The cold winter evenings in Scotland sat around a computer watching my uncle write all these programs to make a computer do so much on its own or building my first desktop and watching the whole thing come together from start to finish and being able to play flash games on sites like miniclip really captured my imagination.
Since then, my curiosity grew and I wanted to expand what I knew – so I built a much more powerful desktop, played more demanding games and even contributed to some open-source projects.”
“I still remember the Christmas my brother and I got an Atari 2600 game console. It was 1979, money was tight as it was every year back then, Christmas came along and we opened all our presents, the usual affair of books and puzzles but nothing to get the heart racing; but hey it was Christmas, so we were happy. By midday we had finished opening all our presents and had gathered up all the hastily torn up wrapping paper and thrown it into a big empty lawnmower box. Dads get the best presents! My brother and I were just carting out the rubbish when my Dad said he couldn’t find his new pairs of socks (I’ll come back to the socks later). So, we were told to get the lawnmower box back in and hunt through it for the aforementioned socks. Hmm that’s strange, there’s an unopened present here, within a blink of an eye the mystery box was opened, and our little faces lit up like the garish 1970’s Christmas lights on our fake plastic tree, little reference there to one of the greatest albums ever.
Fast forward 10 minutes we were playing Space Invaders, followed by a combat game featuring tanks and then pinging a ‘ball’, well more of a pixelated square against colourful bricks, in a game called Breakout. Best present ever!
We couldn’t wait to get home from school and start battling away on the Atari console, little did we know at the time, but my mum couldn’t wait to get us to school so she could play all the games herself, she became quite the game addict, no wonder she stopped smiling when we got home.
So fast forward 40 years and here I am, playing tank games on a computer and hoping to get socks for Christmas. The circle of life!”