Today is already yesterday

Growing up with the digital revolution

Featured in

  • Published 20170502
  • ISBN: 9781925498356
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

I WAS BORN in 1983, the same year as Microsoft Word. It was also the year the first mobile phones went on sale in the US, and Apple introduced its graphical user interface computer, the Lisa. Not quite a decade later, my parents lugged home a Hewlett Packard 360. It came with a specially shaped opaque dust cover, which my mother insisted on. Most of the time it looked as though we kept a plastic camel hump in our spare bedroom.

The HP 360 mattered to me for one reason: Gorillas.bas, a QBasic game that ran on MS-DOS. Two players, represented by gorillas atop skyscrapers, would set the desired gravity in metres/second, then enter the angle and velocity of their banana bombs and loft them across the skyline, trying to blow each other up. Angle and velocity meant little when I was ten, but the idea that I was controlling these pixelated gorilla terrorists was hypnotic. I played Gorillas.bas daily, until it was somehow erased – the fate of pretty much every DOS program. Despite my tears, my father couldn’t bring it back. It was an early lesson: technology giveth exploding bananas, and technology taketh away. Control is an illusion.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

If you are an educator or student wishing to access content for study purposes please contact us at

Share article

More from author

It’s scary but nobody cares

MemoirI’VE NEVER UNDERSTOOD why Australians bother with the drop bear myth. It’s like a morgue trying to freak out visitors with a plastic fly...

More from this edition

Peasant dreaming

MemoirI’m currently doing a course on holistic farming near the southern New South Wales town of Braidwood. I had expected it to be full of ruddy-cheeked cattlemen in their forties and fifties; instead it is mostly people like me, tertiary-educated thirtysomethings who want to grow their own food to nourish their vocations. We are writers, a ceramicist and a filmmaker; a market gardener with a background in conservation; the manager of a local farmers’ market and her partner, who feeds his chooks on maggots from roadkill kangaroos.

Unpaid opportunities

EssayI HAVE THIS social dread when meeting new people. A nervousness that keeps me on edge during the early introductions and the vocal sparring...

Stay up to date with the latest, news, articles and special offers from Griffith Review.