Computing at Home

Since the mid-80s, I’ve had quite a lot of computers, many of which I’ve still got. I intended to display them in a “home museum” some day but I haven't got enough space to do this and I don't intend to move to somewhere bigger, so I have now donated many to the Micro Museum in Ramsgate, where I am also a volunteer. I recommend a visit, but for those who can't, here are my computers in a virtual museum on this page. So here goes (photos to be added as and when I produce them) in chronological order and with my favourite game for each model.

Sinclair ZXSpectrum 48k

Favourite game:

Football Manager

kept me playing for hours at a time getting my team Grebe United to

the top of the League.

Amstrad CPC 464

64 kb memory this time.

I later added a DD1 external disk drive.

Favourite game:

Lords of Midnight

by Mike Singleton. A wonderful early strategy wargame. There are many remakes of it which run under Windows. My favourite is the Midnight Engine version, downloadable from the Icemark site.

Atari 1040ST

What a leap - to a megabyte of memory.

I soon added an additional external disk drive, enabling the smooth playing of...

Favourite game:

Midwinter

again by Mike Singleton. Playability was even better than LoM and the graphics were much more sophisticated.

Amstrad PC 1286

Finally, after using them at work for years, I could actually afford a “real” PC. My first Amstrad 286 had a monochrome monitor, but when the computing side of Amstrad was run down, I snapped up a bargain with a colour monitor (though it cost me £300 odd to have it sent to Italy!). How much RAM? Probably a megabyte originally, but I can remember upgrading to 4MB when Windows 3.1 came out. I later bought a couple more PCs while I was in Italy, Pentiums by then (I missed out the 386s and 486s), but they were just beige boxes and I didn’t keep them when they were replaced - unlike the Amstrad, which has a bit of character.

Favourite game:

Civilization

by Sid Meier. On the 1286 it was Civilization I. I’ve played all the versions since then and am currently enjoying Civilization VI (not playable on 4MB of RAM!).

Apple Power Macintosh 6100/60

Tania Bianchi had been using a Mac Classic for some time, so when the PowerPC platform was introduced, I felt it was time for me to experience the joys of an Apple. This model was the basic machine, with 8 MB of RAM from what I can remember - I finally upgraded it to the maximum 72 MB and for a while enjoyed the use of a RAMDisk. StudioBA.com was produced on these machines.

Favourite game:

Warlords II

I’d played Warlords on the PC so when it came out for the Mac, enhanced for PowerPC, I immediately bought it and enjoyed it for years (I never really got into Warlords III - only for PC).

Apple PowerMac G4

Despite its state-of-the-art 17" flat-screen monitor, this machine came with System 9 as its operating system. Before long, I had fitted another hard disk drive and had installed OSX, my first dual-boot computer (later OSX and Windows via Bootcamp).

Favourite game:

WingNuts

games are much cheaper for the PC, but WingNuts was free and very enjoyable. WingNuts 2 is not free, but still worth checking out (a free full demo can be downloaded).

Sony Vaio PCG-9G2M

When I stopped working in Italy and went there only for holidays, with my computers based in England I needed something portable for the trips. Mac laptops were expensive and most of my holiday games were for the PC, so this was my choice and a very good one, too. It lasted for years until the ctrl key got dislodged by a stomping cat and the battery stopped charging.

Favourite game:

Heroes of Might and Magic III

Another multi version classic (VII came out in 2015) and with the Wake of Gods add-on I’m still playing HoMM III after all these years.

Apple 24" iMac

The “heavy-duty” machine, on which this website was initially produced. It was double partitioned with Windows XP running perfectly under Bootcamp. So I really had the best of both worlds (including all my PC games).

Favourite game:

WingNuts 2

on the Mac side. Under Windows my favourites were still Heroes of Might and Magic (up to and including VI) and Civilization (at that time version V, but not happy with just 250 MB of video RAM).


Apple iBook

A laptop I used extensively until 2016, having replaced the Vaio, but like the iMac also dual-boot with Windows XP. It had 128 Gigabytes of SSD and was a real pleasure, with better-performing video RAM than the iMac.

Favourite game:

as above, my favourites were still Heroes of Might and Magic and Civilization (with V managing better with only 250 MB of video RAM as it was a lower resolution than the iMac).

Apple Mac Book Pro

My current laptop, but not dual-boot: I want to use all 256 Gigabytes of SSD on the Mac, running OS 10.9 and 1 GB of video RAM. For a while I used it with a 27" Cinema display, and it became my main machine, replacing the iMac.

Favourite game:

Civilization V, with the MBP’s retina display, looked fantastic.

Apple Mac Pro

This is my current main machine, with the Mac Book Pro now the "simple" laptop that it is. 512 Gigabytes of SSD (with terabytes of fast external storage as back-up) and twin 3 Gig graphics cards means this'll last me a few years. Twin graphics and HDMI output means I can run the computer through to the TV, and as this is 4K UHD it looks just as good on the 60" screen as on the Cinema Display.

Favourite game:

Civilization VI runs well on this machine. I'll let you know as soon as it replaces Civ V as my favourite game (not as yet).

Just in case it feels left out...

...I also love my iPad Pro, which can safely be included as a computer, in my opinion.

Favourite game:

Real Racing 3, which I play every day. Excellent fun.