Happy Holidays from the Fugue Team

We were feeling a little wistful, so we asked our team:

 

What was your favorite technology you received as a holiday gift when you were a kid?

 

Here are their answers, in alphabetical order:

 

Andrew

"When I was in third grade, my mother brought home a copy of Macromedia (now Adobe) Flash. I was totally dazzled with how easily I could create animations, and from then on, I made all of my school PowerPoint assignments in Flash. I also used to post my animations on my friends' Myspaces, back when that was still cool. Additionally, my experience learning ActionScript paved the way for me to be the JavaScript developer I am today."

 

Becki

"Cosmic Osmo, a surreal point-and-click children's game from 1989, is not as well-known as Cyan's later games (hello, Myst!). But it was a gift I'll never forget. Like a giant spacefaring mackerel, it was out of this world."

 

Chris C.

"One year my dad got me a kit to build a big, remote-controlled glider. It consisted mostly of balsa wood that needed to be cut, sanded, and glued. It took up our dining room table for months while I worked on it. Once I had assembled the airfoil, I remember being able to swing it and feel it generate lift. Naturally, I utterly destroyed it on the first flight."

 

Dan

"Nintendo Entertainment System. All I can remember doing for the next year was playing Mario, Zelda, Mega Man, and Castlevania."

 

Dom

"As a kid, my favorite toy was Construx. You can see examples of what you would build with them here. It's not an electronic toy, but it took technology and science to even make it. It probably sounds crazy, but the toy had well-defined (physical) interfaces and components with specific parameters for use. So sure, my problems were building spaceships, but the toy let me decompose problems and compose solutions in a way that was sort of a prototype of the way I work professionally today."

 

Erez

"My favorite technology present I received as a kid was a Tomy Dingbot. My mother surprised me with it for Christmas. I loved that little thing, but my curiosity got the better of me and I ended up taking it apart to see how it ticked. Never could get it to work again. That was my first contact with circuitry and I've been interested in the like ever since. RIP Dingbot. I'll never forget you."

 

E

(is for Erin, but only her mom calls her that)

"I don't even remember what model PC my brother and I got that Christmas in the late '80s, except it was before hard drives were a thing. We played Carmen Sandiego) for hours on end, and my dad and I learned how to code in BASIC together. I wanted to write a text-based adventure like Skullduggery but then Interpol called and I had to go to Peru."

 

Evan

"My favorite technology that I received as a kid wasn't a computer; it was a toy. It was called The Triple Arcade, and it was a skeeball, pinball, and basketball arcade machine in one. I loved it because it was one toy that—in 2-3 steps—could become a different toy. The scoring system worked across all the games, which meant some clever engineering by the toy's creators. And it was light, so even a small kid like myself could change the game without the help of an adult."

 

Gerard

"My favorite technology gift was the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System. Unfortunately, I received it three years after Nintendo was cool."

 

Gus

"Two graphite tennis racquets. I started playing tennis competitively when the only racquets available were made of wood (shows you how old I am!). When the graphite racquets came out, it was completely revolutionary to the game and the best part was that they didn't warp."

 

Heather

"The best technology present that I received for Christmas was a Merlin Electronic Wizard). You'll have to go into the way-back machine to find it because I'm just that old! It was one of the first handheld games—it came out in 1980—and it had the following games on it: Tic Tac Toe, Music Machine, Echo (like Simon), Blackjack 13, Magic Square, and Mindbender. I used to sit in the way back of our station wagon and play that game for hours on roadtrips."

 

James

"My favorite was a slot car racing set. It lasted for about a week until the hand-held speed controllers started to fritz. So, I rewired them."

 

Jasper

"I received a Game Boy and Pokemon Red for Christmas in 2000. The game wasn't localized into Dutch, so this is basically how I started learning English."

 

Josh

"My favorite piece of technology I received as a present wasn't actually given to me. It was an Apple II that Mr. Brown, the band director, purchased for the band department at my middle school. You could earn computer time by helping in the band room. Mr. Brown was a great mentor and friend to me. I learned to program on it, in the context of music and art. That combination has defined my life's work to date and I'm most thankful for it."

 

Kate

"Though there was much technology in our house, none of it was truly mine. The computers were my dad's and we had to ask permission to play. The Electronic Project Lab was all mine and that was cool."

 

Neal

"We opened Omnibot on Christmas Day and had a dance party to Eddy Grant's Electric Avenue for the rest of the day."

 

Racquel

"Hands down, Merlin. I was 9. Mom was a single parent of three working two full time jobs. Somehow, she always managed to surprise us, each with some nifty gift that fit our personalities, beyond the practical clothing gifts. That year, mine was the handheld electronic game invented by a former NASA employee, his wife, and brother-in-law. I played the hell out of that thing. Merlin rules. And, moms rule."

 

Tim W.

"My brother and I got a Microsoft SideWinder Force Feedback Pro joystick for Christmas (probably 1997). Unfortunately, the old 486 computer we had at the time wasn't fast enough to play any of the games that could use the 'force feedback' feature of the joystick so we had to get a faster computer. Having a natural bias to building over buying, we decided that building our own computer would be a much more interesting project. In the end, the process of spec'ing out components, putting them together, and performing extensive troubleshooting to get the system working opened up a whole new world for me. Tinkering in this world ultimately led to me pursuing a career in the tech industry... but interestingly, I am no longer much of a gamer."

 

Tyler

"I distinctly remember getting an Elenco Electronic Playground. It was my first introduction to electronics and computers. Learning to program the board through the exercises was a blast, but the real fun was getting the board to do new things. It blew my mind that the same toy could do so many different things just by moving some wires around. Software still blows my mind today!"

 

Happy Holidays, friends!

From the team at Fugue, we wish you and yours a wonderful end to 2015 and an amazing new year.

 

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