In-between washing clothes, tidying the house, and achieving very little of consequence today, I happened upon a rather pointless exercise that ate much of the evening.
At the click of an icon, my laptop can now transform itself into a PC from the late 1980s, running all manner of text based applications – many of which cost significant sums of money thirty years ago, but are now regarded as “abandonware” – meaning you can download and install them for free (if you know where to look).
After a little digging I re-discovered ancient versions of Microsoft Word, DBase, Norton Commander, Norton Utilities, WordPerfect, Wordstar, and numerous other programs that I had forgotten for more years than I ever used them.
You know the funny thing though? After opening a thirty year old word processor, and typing a few lines of text, it occurred to me how little distraction the old word processors offered. All you get is a plain screen with your words on it – no choice of style, size, or anything else – just your words. It was a light-bulb moment I suppose – realising why George R R Martin has held on to WordStar for so many years.
Of course I didn’t stop with making the computer think it was a 30 year old PC. I also made it think it was an Atari ST, a Commodore Amiga, a Nintendo, a Super Nintendo, a Sega Genesis, and several other games machines that I spent far too many hours sitting in front of during my teens. Mostly because I’m an idiot.