|laziness, impatience, and hubris|
Just three words: Same for me.
It's hard to believe that a computer can take so much place in one's heart. But I still get a warm feeling when I start an emulator (vice or c64s) and start playing a few games. In fact I lie, my first contact with a computer was with logo on an apple ][, at school when i was 8 (around 1982), but the C64 was the first one i got home. That computer got me hooked on programming, first with basic and shortly after to assembly - when i saw the difference in speed between:
10 A=0; POKE 53280, A; A = A+1; GOTO 10
LOOP: INC $D020 JMP LOOP
there was no negotiations. Once you start taking over the computer, pushing it to its limit, you can never get back.
Strange, I can't remember my own phone number but I still remember SYS 49152 to fire off turbo assembler or the $D012 for the rasters. I never finished school mostly due to that machine, while others where listening the math teacher i was inspecting C64 assembly code to understand how other guys made a nice effect in an intro or looking at 1541 protections routines... (printed on a 40 columns printer, it was roll paper. The sheet was, maybe, 7 centimeters large). It was a time where documentation meant nothing, and you had to get it the hard way. It was a time where experience was something you don't get until just after you needed it. It was a time where copied/pirated games where sold in shops and where the RIAA, DMCA, or same organisations where laugh at. It was a time where all cracking groups'name were written with 3 characters (DCA, BCA, RCA, KGB, HTL, EPX, TWT, HOT, FLT, NOP, WOW, etc.). It was a time where assembly language was a high-level language /Erik Harrison. It was a time where @!#?@! meant life or death. It was a time where Peeking and Poking memory locations was the height of fashion /Barbie. It was a time where peer-to-peer was made with pigeons networks...
After that I've been a little on the archimede, then amiga for a few years, and finally the pc (started with a 386 -- the dos was a pain after the amiga and the archimede). Never left assembly programming though. Over the years I finally got a nice collection of computers and consoles, sadly now most of them are in a friend's attic (i dont have the place here) which includes: a Vectrex, a ZX81, a VideoPack, two C64, a Commodore 116 (quite rare), an Apple ][, a Schneider 6128, a C128D, two A500, one A1000, a SNES (japanese version with a debugging tools and a parallel connection to the PC), and a 286 but IBM PC doesnt count i guess. Sometimes i take one home, open it to clean the dust and start to play with it. Call that Nostalgy...
And guess what... I'm paid to work with computers now... ;-)