I went ZX 81 -> Spectrum -> CPC 6128, at ages 13 / 15 /17.
My fondest memories are
- Jet Set Willy, I just loved that game. OK, that's not the question.
- Delving into the Amstrad Firmware Manual. Having detailed, serious looking doc on the inner workings of that serious-looking machine (remember, trading up from a Spectrum) was da bomb !
- making my first recursive program. I've got a bad case of "esprit d'escalier" (french... "step ladder mind" ? I'm very analytical, anal retentive, context-dependent...) so getting that thing to work, which involved "you push stuff going in, you pop the same stuff going out, don't worry about the inner workings" kinda blew my mind. but but but... where's the stack counter at ?
- getting beaten by that same program (Othello/Reversi)
- drawing fractals
- failing to work out the perfect program for a silly game show (6 numbers, any integer operation to find a 7th... never could work out the interaction between priorities, parentheses, and and recursion). I wanted a fast enough, exhaustive one, I think I never got the "exhaustive" part.
- making a competent Belote Coinchée program (card game http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coinche
- being assistant in a lab later on (17-18), I felt wise and useful.
- running into the prostitutes that were "manning" the main Sinclair shop's street in Marseilles. Took me several encounters to understand, one of my mates had to explain it to me...
My biggest regrets are:
- never doing team projects. We were a handful of close friends in the shool computer club (played D&D together, too ^^), but it never occured us or the teacher to do our assignments in teams.
- never having an opportunity to show off stuff to my parents. They were not that interested, but they would have watched, and I would have felt proud.