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Feb. 26, 2017, 5 p.m.

About PcPartyPicker

The very first PCs that I ever helped to build were IBM PC-XT and PC-AT computers during the 1980s. At the time, I was working for IBM part-time while attending UT-Austin, and IBM had a huge campus in North Austin on Burnet Road. I was involved in the computer-aided manufacturing of thousands of IBM PC-XT, PC-AT, and Xenix workstations at the facility. It was an amazing experience to be surrounded by thousands of clear plastic tubes containing tens of thousands of 8088 and 80286 CPUs and millions of memory chips for a geek like me :-)

When the IBM PC-AT was released in 1984, it was the fastest consumer PC ever produced at the time, and I used my 50%-off employee discount at IBM to purchase about $6400 worth of gear (a $5400 fully-loaded PC-AT, two printers, deluxe monitor) for $3200. These days, an average smartphone has more computing power than that $5400 PC in 1984.

Although I did not personally know him, at the same time that I attended UT-Austin during the 1980s and was handling thousands of CPUs and motherboards at IBM, another student was also at UT-Austin building and selling computers from his dorm room. His name was Michael Dell and I remembered frequently seeing his "PC's Limited" ads in the UT-Austin campus newspaper "The Daily Texan". Dell's PC's Limited PC builds were ugly compared to the new IBM PC-AT, but Dell's builds were as fast or faster than IBM's PCs and his pricing was considerably cheaper.

The first video game that I ever played was the original "Pong" when it first came out in 1972.

The first video game that I ever owned was the Atari 2600 that my parents bought as a Christmas gift for me in 1977. By the time that I went to college, I had more than 40 game cartridges for that Atari 2600 console. Unfortunately, I left the game console in my closet when I left home for college and my mom threw everything away in preparation to sell the house and move while I was in college. All that Atari 2600 console and cartridges would be worth tens of thousands of dollars right now :-(

The largest numbers of hours that I ever spent playing one single PC game was for Doom II during the 1990s, spending thousands of hours both playing that game and also creating custom maps and mods. Although games are far more visually enticing and my computers and display are far more powerful now, I spend less than two or three hours per week gaming.