[ Retro Scan ] Computers in Kids’ Bedrooms

May 2nd, 2018 by Benj Edwards

Apple IIc Apple //c Computer Kids Bedroom After School advertisement scan - 1985Simple beginnings

Since I first saw this in a magazine about 12 years ago, this Apple IIc (//c if you prefer) ad has probably been my favorite Apple ad of all time.

The reason is nostalgia — it portrays a kid’s bedroom in the 1980s, and it reminds me of being a kid back then.

I also like the details tucked in there, such as the Motley Crue poster, the Bazooka bubble gum, the ATV helmet (next to a tiny photo of a three-wheeled ATV), the hamster, and an Apple Modem 300/1200 sitting under the telephone. I also wonder what those circuit boards up on the shelf are supposed to be (and what they were actually from).

The Apple IIc was indeed a great machine for young students in the 1980s.

* * *

At 37, my circa-1985 bedroom was outfitted mostly with He-Man figures and stuffed animals, but my older brother’s bedroom looked more like the room in the ad.

Come to think of it, I actually have a photo of my older brother’s bedroom from December 1985, and part of it looked exactly like this:

Benj's Brother's Bedroom in December 1985 - Atari 800 Atari 400

You’ll notice the nice Atari 800 setup, which I have no doubt talked about many times before.

At that time, we did have an Apple IIc as well, but my dad kept it in his home office. It was the first computer I ever used a mouse with.

And what do you know, I have a photo of my dad’s office too — labeled July 1985:

Benj's Dad's Office in July 1985 - Apple IIc and Star Printer

You’ll notice the Star brand dot matrix printer on the floor beneath the desk. I still have many vivid memories of crawling around the floor and watching Print Shop banners and calendars emerge with an intense and persistent screech.

Good times.

In 2016, I did a whole slideshow about my family’s computers through the years for PCMag. If you enjoyed these family computer snapshots of mine, you’ll enjoy that as well.

[ From Popular Computing, February 1985 ]

Discussion Topic: Did you have a computer in your bedroom as a kid? Tell us about it.



9 Responses to “[ Retro Scan ] Computers in Kids’ Bedrooms”

  1. ace_ventura Says:

    I had a PC-AT clone in my bedroom that I built myself at a local computer store in 1987. It was a 286 @8Mhz, floppy drive, a copy II PC card, along with amber EGA graphics. Many fun memories of playing the bards tale, defender of the crown, sierra’s helicopter simulator, and other games.

    Eventually traded up to a super cool amiga 2000, terrorizing local BBSes with juvenile comments 🙂

  2. gene Says:

    I guess you have to define “kid.”

    It was summer of 1983 and a C64 made it to my room. Used the 300 baud modem to dial into graduate school’s systems.

    Then in the fall of 1984, people were demo’ing a squat little computer and drew a rectangle, then filled it with what looked like bricks, then clicked and spray-painted Kilroy on the bricks.

    Had to have one. Macintosh.

    For several years afterward, had PC People telling me they could do all they wanted with DOS and a.bat, b.bat, files defined to launch things.

    They use Windows 10 now, I suppose. 🙂

  3. Dan Says:

    The first computer I had in my bedroom as a kid was the Commodore 64. My Dad worked with someone back then who was selling one and I saved up my money all Summer to buy it. I had a paper route back then.

    It was awesome. It came with the monitor, a floppy drive, a little printer/plotter thing that used different colored stylus’ to draw on a roll of paper, and a ton of software.

    I used that computer for a very long time. 🙂

  4. Ant Says:

    I had an Apple //c. I remember using its BASIC, ProDOS, LOGO, edutainment, and games. 😉

  5. TheSaintOfPain Says:

    The first computer that was absolutely MINE, and was kept in my bedroom, was my IBM XT that my mom bought me for my 10th birthday back in 1992. I never really did anything productive with it, as I almost exclusively played ASCII versions of Golf and Wheel Of Fortune that came on a floppy disk with the computer, and every so often used BASIC or DOS to play around with printing dirty words and phrases all over the screen.

    I still used it for those purposes until it died about 7 years later, and since at the time I knew next to nothing about computer hardware, I stupidly threw the entire thing away. By then, I also had a Commodore 16 and a generic-box 486 machine running Windows 3.1, both given to me by a late family friend, so I had those to play around with, especially the 486, since it had Police Quest and Sim City 2000 on it.

  6. Bill Says:

    I guess my first bedroom computer was a TRS-80 Color Computer III. Then moved onto a C-64 with the commodore color monitor, dual harddrives and okimate I think color printer. It was that thermal printer. I had the setup! I think I may have gotten at C128 but don’t really remember it for some reason.

    The first computer I bought with my own money was a Amiga 500 when they went on liquidation sale. Had it for maybe a year or so and sold it and got my first PC the Packard Bell 386-16sx computer. Guess that was my last kid computer.

    I also did some basic programming on some throughout the years and also became a programmer, but they all were mostly for gaming.

  7. Lawrence Gearhart Says:

    My first bedroom machine was a ti-99/4a, I had the pe expansion box with disk drive, extra memory, printer and serial cards. Also had a 300 baud modem I used to call bbs’s around the country on until dad got the phone bill. I’ve had them all, after that were some 8086 based pc u its, a c64 which was my favorite, amigas, macs, and back to pc. Ran bulletin boards until the early 90s. Such fond memories.

  8. Jistuce Says:

    My first personal computer was actually a K6-2 built out of leftover parts. I was in college at that point, though. Never had a computer in my bedroom as a kid.

  9. Eagles409 Says:

    I had an Apple 2e in my bedroom growing up. I spent a lot of time on the old message boards. The 1200 baud modem really got things moving quickly.

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