The 8-bit does make a difference to us

– About the opening event of the exhibition Nekem 8(bit) [(The 8-bit) Makes no difference to me]

Károly Nagy and general director István Alföldi

A new exhibition was opened by the John von Neumann Computer Society  (NJSZT) and private collector  Károly Nagy at the Youth Centre in Újpest, Budapest on 4 September. The exhibition (The 8-bit) Makes no difference to me most of all evokes the atmosphere of the 1980s through the presentation of the best-known computers of the period manufactured in Hungary and abroad, while the display panels tell the history of home and school computers produced by the three most-renowned international manufacturers as well as that of their Hungarian counterparts.

The exhibition was opened by István Alföldi, NJSZT’s managing director. In his speech he noted that it already “felt like home” at the Youth Centre after last year’s successful exhibition on the history of Apple, which was viewed by hundreds of students, mainly from Újpest. Similar to last year, there is no entrance fee to this year’s exhibition either.

The exhibition (The 8-bit) Makes no difference to me will close at the end of October and travel to Szeged to replace AI and Robots, the temporary exhibition alongside NJSZT’s permanent Exhibition on Computer Science. As it is part of NJSZT’s mission to preserve the values of the past, the organization performs a unique role in Hungary when it spends several million Hungarian forints on the development of its world-class permanent exhibition. With reference to the title of the exhibition being (8-bit) Makes no difference to me, NJSZT’s director said that “it does make a difference to us how we preserve periods in IT history and the antecedents to the era of artificial intelligence.”

István Alföldi

István Alföldi also highlighted the role of private collectors whose contribution, with Károly Nagy taking the lead, helped NJSZT to present an extremely valuable exhibition material in Újpest.

Nagy Károly, co-curator of the exhibition, thanked and named all the private collectors who had contributed to the exhibition, and presented the large number of visitors of the opening event with a surprise together with his curator partner Gábor Képes. The two curators recited a paraphrase of Hungarian humorist György Szilágyi’s classic piece Hanyas vagy? [Which year are you?] about the life experience the generation that was born in 1928 share in common—adapted to the “8-bit” generation.

Those who were young in the 1980s recollected with laughter the time when they swapped programmes and attended microcomputer clubs. Fortunately, Commodore-64, which turned 35 years old this year, or the 40-year-old Atari VCS console constitute a fascinating segment in computer science even for younger generations.

In addition to the representatives of the press, the opening event was also attended by a number of prominent personalities in Hungarian computer science, among others, by József Lukács, designer of the Hungarian Homelab and Aircomp, who was asked by many visitors about the birth of the “Hungarian Apple”. The documentary Vakondok IV about video game development in Hungary in the 1980s and ‘90s was also shown as part of the opening event.

Lukács József, az Aircomp számítógépek atyja
József Lukács

Viewing the exhibition is recommended not only to the “8-bit” generation, but to anyone else who is interested to find out how computers entered our homes and schools.

Picture gallery by Index, Hungarian news website: http://index.hu/tech/2017/09/06/nekem_8_bit_retro_szamitogep_kiallitas/ (link is external)