Vegard Skjefstad

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Games From the Past

Ever since I got my Commodore 64 I’ve been programming. I was just a kid so it wasn’t very complicated stuff at the time, just simple text based adventure games with creative names like The Great Game III. I never got the hang of anything advanced, like sprites – it involved math and math was not my strongest skill at the time. Never was and never will be.

The closest I ever got to graphics was creative usage of the extended character set supported by the C64. With that I made, among other things, a game called Teacher Killer. Some of you might even remember it. It involved a stick man (the teacher) running over the screen from left to right and at the right time you hit space and a bullet would shoot from the bottom of the screen. Your score was based on how well you hit the stick teacher.

And look at me now: Physically healthy with no need to go out and kill people at random. Without that game to vent my frustration with teachers, maybe I would have that urge now? Who knows. Anyways. The Commodore 64 is somewhere in my parent’s basement, I think I’ll see if I can find some of the old gems the next time I visit them.

Even with quite a few years of programming experience, I still produce shitty code and often look at my old code and have hard time figuring out what I was thinking at the time. One frustrating aspect is that we’re now a team of coders looking at my old code, every single one of us going “what the hell was he thinking?”. My only comfort is that we some times stumble across code done by our CTO and then we tend to go “what the bloody hell was he thinking?”

But even with years of programming experience I don’t have anything to put on the wall. Doctors, plumbers and hair dressers get a diploma, computer programmers get bug reports and they have to be very special before we hang them on the wall. They usually end up on The Daily WTF instead. The only way we, the computer programmers, can get hard proof that we’re actually capable of producing code is by getting a certification. So now I’m starting to read for my Java Standard Edition 6 certification.

I want that diploma! Godspeed to me.

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