It was about 1998. I was 7 years old and our family's financial situation was not the best, to be honest. (So no computery things at home! Too expensive!)
But even earlier than i could remember, i was always drawn to computers, whether i saw any in someone's home or at my father's workplace. Love at first sight.
Back to 1998. We visited our downstairs neighbor in our apartment building, and of course, they had a computer there that nobody used and you can only imagine, how my only thought throughout the whole visit was just the computer in that dark room sitting all alone.
Suddenly, news came in - they don't use that machine and can give it to us! Background story for that machine was that it was an old machine belonging to Estonian Air company and those old machines, at one point, were given away. That neighbor's daughter had used it at one point for some school work, but not anymore.
And so, the heaven came from the skies down to earth, when my father dragged this old machine one floor up into our apartment!
It was some 286 machine with 1MB of ram and ~40MB of conner IDE harddrive. Lot's of components were from TwinHead company and the super-io controller, videocard and the 1MB of ram was all integrated to the motherboard. (I'm still trying to search for that machine. I have a suspicion, it could be under name of KLH/KLM 195. It's also very similar, but not same, to TwinHead Netstation)
It also came with terrible foam+foil type keyboard (that was already internally disintegrating) and a mouse, that never worked well for us. (Who knew the rollers should be cleaned inside it!?) For monitor, it was some ultra-worn and dark monochrome VGA screen.
"Fun" part was that i was able to put the VGA cable into the computer wrong way around - it had so little pins (because of being monochrome) that it was not a problem. Of course, there was no picture and i was really sad for not being able to play with that machine... Thankfully, next day, we discovered, what i had done. 😁
It had some kind of DOS on it, a Norton Commander 3-point-something (that later we replaced with 5.0) and bunch of games. I most notably remember Prehistorik 2, Volfield, Wolfenstein 3D, SimCity and Supaplex.
From day one, i was interested in making games on my own. (and in general how computers work) So over time, i did find QBasic, but never recognized it to be a programming environment. (i thought it's just a "different kind" of "edit". I knew nothing about programming, not even the idea. I thought it's a "reverse boss mode", where you do some text writing, and then, through menus, some games (like gorilla) pops up for entertainment.)
Through all kinds of "researches" i did, i was able to get rid of the boot sector on the hdd somehow and so on.
A year or two later, we got 386sx-20 with ~100MB hdd and the 286 was then history.
"640K ought to be enough for anybody." - And i intend to get every last bit out of it even after loading every damn driver!