While our Texas Instruments computer was technically not a toy, I spent so many hours of my childhood playing around on this thing that I think it qualifies for my Retro Toybox theme. It took cartridges, like Nintendo style cartridges, that held games such as Alpiner (climb the mountain while dodging snakes, cougars, giant egg laying vultures and vicious yeti) and Hunt the Wumpuss (move around a grid trying to deduct which room the wumpuss is in, collect gold and kill the beast without getting eaten), and educational games like Number Magic and Beginning Grammar. I certainly sunk a lot of time into playing the games on those cartridges, but mostly I learned BASIC and I made my own programs. Sometimes meticulously copying them line by line from magazines brought home from the library, sometimes changing parts, sometimes building them from scratch.
I have so many fond memories of the many long hours I spent on this machine. Tinkering around on this thing taught me the fundamentals of programming, which I still use to this day. I’ve even flirted with the idea of buying a working model and playing around on it with my kids.
What about you guys? Anyone else remember this machine as fondly as I do? What was your first computer?