For only $525, it was the first consumer-level computer with a powerful 16K processor. 15 Colors. 64x48 pixels in "multicolor" mode. This was a quantum leap from my only previous computer experience, an atari 2600 basic programming cartridge. It was also a beautifully designed console. This model constituted 35% of all computers sold at the time, a huge corner on the market if you remember how many systems were available. My family got it for Christmas in 1981, and my seventh-grade geeky self immediately adopted it as my new best friend. Like the atari, it took ROM cartridges for games like this classic, "Hunt the Wumpus": A 5 1/4" floppy disc drive was an optional peripheral. So was a telephone cradle modem and, most impressive of all, a voice synthesizer. We didn't get any of that stuff, and only bought two ROM games before I permanently put in an Extended Basic cartridge to amp up the power. I soon started learning how to make my own programs. "Basic" computing was very intuitive and rewarding. I also subscribed to a texas instruments magazine which had programs printed out for you to copy. The most complex one was a pitfall clone. I spent several hours keying it in, and after it didn't work, I double checked for stray or errant keystrokes. Finally, it was running. Then I hooked up the audio tape interface and recorded it. The next day was the big test: hook up the cables, turn on the tape player, listen to it make glitchy noises for five minutes, boot up the program.... it works! I Am Computo! If you own a PC running windows, you can download a TI-99 emulator here. and check out the "microprocessor" on that stud!