[ Retro Scan of the Week ] My Own IBM Computer

August 8th, 2011 by Benj Edwards

IBM PC 5150 Advertisement in Byte - 1982"The pee cee ate mah leeeegs!"

Thirty years ago this week, IBM released the very first entry in its Personal Computer line, the IBM PC 5150. To celebrate, I dug up this very early IBM PC advertisement you see above. It hails from the tender year of 1982 — a time when corrective lenses made giant squid eyeballs jealous.

I've also wrangled up a list of previous IBM PC-related Retro Scans of the Week for you to enjoy (links below). The first you'll see is a sister ad to this one.

The 30th anniversary of a machine that started a 30-year computing paradigm is a very big deal (Well, as far as anniversaries go, anyway), so expect to hear more about the IBM PC from me soon.

[ From Byte Magazine, January 1982, p.61 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: When did you first use an IBM PC or compatible machine? What did you think at the time?



9 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] My Own IBM Computer”

  1. synchead Says:

    Somewhere I have a copy of the Creative Computing that had a hands on review of the New IBM PC. Every once in a while I look at it because it brings back memories. At the time it was a jaw dropping review because besides the 8088 cpu and ram potential, the PC had an option for a 4 color high resolution (320 x 200 if I recall) video card whiich at the time was cutting edge.

  2. Thomas Says:

    First time that I can remember must have been back in 1989 when I went home to a class mate and played Leisure suit larry 1 on his father's IBM. No idea on the specs other than that it had a monochrome screen.

    I kind of thought it sucked because I was already used to Amiga and Atari ST, and at that point the IBM (and compatibles) still couldn't compete with them.

  3. Xyzzy Says:

    The first time for me was similar to Thomas'… Around 1991, on the annual family Christmas visit, my ~12-year-old cousin suggested we play games on her parents' IBM running MS-DOS — Leisure Suit Larry and a polygon inner-city racing game where we kept deliberately running down pedestrians, trying to drive through buildings, leaving the city when we weren't supposed to, etc.

    I was used to my Apple IIgs, so the lack of any GUI (I think it also lacked a mouse) and the polygons left me really unimpressed… I don't think Leisure Suit Larry seemed all that different from Kings Quest IV (which I'd been playing at home), though.

  4. Multimedia Mike Says:

    Our family got an Epson-branded IBM PC compatible computer just before Christmas in 1984. No HD, dual 5.25″ floppy drives, presumably a 4.77 MHz 8088 (in retrospect), a CGA monitor, and an Epson dot matrix printer. The whole package cost about $2000 (apparently $4100 now, adjusted for inflation).

    I was only in 3rd grade but I guess that was a pivotal Christmas in my life. :-)

    We had that computer until 1991 when we upgraded to a 286.

  5. synchead Says:

    A buddy of mine had a PC while I was in college. Even though I recognized the potential, at the time I found using it odd as DOS seemed an awkard OS. I was already using Unix and, at the time, I did not understand why Dos used Back slashes ("" ) instead of forward slashes ("/" ) to indicate path. Later on I realized they had to do this for licensing purposes. I didn't start programming on them until I was programming professionally. Even then, I had a fondness for the motorola family of computers. Atari 800 was my first, followed my an Atari ST and eventually an Amiga 1000 which I still own today.

  6. Matt Says:

    When I was in college all of our labs were either VAX/VMS, Unix, or Apple. But a good friend of mine had a IBM clone. All I remember was that it was monochrome with a block-shaped mouse and a 5 1/4 floppy drive. I spent the summer of '91 at school to play catch-up, while most of my friends were back home. So because of his generosity, I basically had that PC at my disposal. Alas, instead of using it to further my learning, I went to the local software store and bought "Wonderland", a somewhat obscure adventure game from Magnetic Scrolls. I played it probably every day during that summer. It left me with a good impression of the system, but that was probably thanks to the GUI built into the game (arguably ahead of its time), rather than the hardware itself.

  7. Fred Says:

    It was around the time that Super Mario Bros. 3 had just come out for the NES. My Dad purchased a computer through his workplace.

    Manufacturer unknown, it was a 386 running ms dos, don't know what the exact specs were, but it did have a modem. My Dad said it cost around $3k. It was built like a tank and weighed 80 pounds minimum.

    Ms Dos was setup to run its programs and settings from a menu, so I never actually learned DOS until a couple of years later. I was only six when we got this computer.

    I thought it was great. Mostly because there was a lot of software disks being traded at my Dad's workplace, so we had a ton of games.

    Also as a side note, I did grow up in Silicon Valley.

  8. Donn Says:

    By the time we got our AT clone, it was the era of EGA graphics. I don't remember the year, but that should help date it; it cost about $2k. I thought it was okay, certainly a lot more useful in practical terms than the Atari 800 - proper word processing, calendars, modem for BBS access. I continued to enjoy the Atari for its multitude of awesome games…. that is until I got Ultima V for the PC, then it was all over.

    I distinctly remember such fun times as getting one of the first 3.5 inch floppy drives - you had to specify tracks and sectors in your format command, because DOS didn't know what to do with it otherwise.

  9. Lawrence Says:

    I was 5 years old when I used a computer for the first time - the IBM PS/2 (Not entirely sure of the model, possibly in the 50 or 70 range). My parents bought it back in '90. That's 3 years after its release, but it was still very new in South Africa - a country struggling through apartheid and very tough international sanctions, so most things were hard to come by. I think I even still have the original invoice from my parents somewhere…

    It came with OS/2, and the only game I played on it was the original IBM PC compatible game Silpheed from '86. We had some really basic joystick, and I remember playing that game for hours. I didn't complete it until I was 14! What I loved most about it was that the music and voice synthesis on the PS/2 was the best I've ever come across for the game - no emulator or competitor machine managed to output the sound the same way I grew to know and love.

    I might be wrong, but I seem to remember playing Dune 2 on it as well, though it didn't play with any sound.

    Had that until 1994 when we got our first Windows (3.11) machine.

    I'll never forget it though…so many hours of fun, and it got me into music and games (through Silpheed) at the same time. I ended up studying digital music and now work in the games industry, all thanks to the PS/2.

Leave a Reply