I had always been into computers, from the age of 5, thanks to having a computer enthusiast dad who bought a System V computer with a whopping 68MB disk drive. I still remember the sound of that drive, a cross between a low pitched grinding and a high pitched shrill.
I loved to explore. I ran every program in /usr/bin to see what it was. One I remember very well. It was a program called profile.hd. I found out what this program did — it deleted the operating system! Fancy that!
Needless to say, my Dad was not too impressed as he spent an entire day reinstalling the operating system from 5 1/4″ 120KB or 360KB floppy disks.
But, I learned a lot in those days. “This is a UNIX system! I know this!” I learned all of the configuration parameters of two pretty cool programs: vi, and less. I learned the ins and outs and tweaked those things to my hearts content. Looking back, it seems like a silly thing to do, but now I’m realizing it has affected my taste in games.
Like many, I like to be able to tweak and customize stuff to fit me. Later I learned others do too, whether it is selecting weapons for a mech, or choosing the tires or colours on their race car, or choosing a style of base to build, or a path along a research tech tree.
When I was around 9, I used Logo Writer to animate a Coca Cola commercial with the jingle, “Whenever there is fun there’s always Coca Cola.” Around that time I also tweaked the Q-basic game where monkey throws bananas. When I was 12, I learned to create C programs, although didn’t do much. By 16 or so, I was getting into C++. Now there’s a language with some power!