Meditation on a computer game

Lovely piece in the London Review of Books by Thomas Jones. Sample:

It’s 17 years since I stopped writing computer games: a combination of my going to a new school, the onset of adolescence and the BBC Micro becoming obsolete. There are still a few functioning Beebs around the place: a number of Britain’s railway stations apparently still use them to run their platform displays. But if, for nostalgia or any other reason, you’d like to get your hands on one, you don’t need to go to the trouble of robbing a railway station, because you can easily, free of charge, download an emulator from the internet. This is a piece of software that allows you to pretend that your PC is a BBC: the ultimate downgrade. A couple of days ago, I wrote a short BASIC program which allowed me to make a little man run about the screen. I even solved a problem that I’d completely forgotten had ever bothered me. It was a very simple problem, which had nothing to do with my understanding of BASIC and everything to do with my inability to work out the logical steps underpinning the procedure. The results were utterly unremarkable, and would have been equally unremarkable (to anyone apart from me) in the mid-1980s. But it gave me quiet satisfaction all the same: I worked out, after twenty years, how to make the little man jump.