Well, even though my experience with QBasic is one of long compilation times and slow performance for graphics, I am aware that, at the time, I used to code my little BASIC thingamabobs on a 75MHz Performa 6200CD by means of SoftPC, a software emulator of x86 hardware which allowed me to run Windows 3.11 and the correspondent version of DOS - somewhere in-between 5.0 and 6.0, as far as I recall. I am sure kids playing around with the interpreter focused herein on native hardware may have different memories of their results, probably more positive ones, but I also heard from a bunch that it was just too sluggish and consequently frustrating for them to put something together that was on par with the commercial software already considered vintage back then. In my case, even though having access to QBasic was fruitful, the blue color of the IDE annoyed me - due to, I assume today, its likeness to what I was used to see in video stores and operated by a wide variety of cashiers. Quite frankly, these facts and some other circumstances made me much more of a player than a programmer for a few years, until, finally, life and the professional opportunities I aimed for simply required me to study programming, get myself up-to-date and ready to realize what I wanted.
I have got some really nice food for thought from what John Romero said in a recent interview published in Gamesauce: the tools and the market circumstances independent developers need have always been available to whoever wanted to follow that path. In a matter of fact, Romero - one of the founders of id Software and lead designer of Doom, let us not forget - recognizes his first steps in the career as an indie endeavor, albeit a specially successful one.
Based on that premise, what a sole programmer or a small indie group can achieve depends much more on the quality of the efforts put into development than on millionaire budgets and huge teams. The facts that there are many great engines out there that are either free or low-cost, that distribution is now dealt directly between developers and publishers, and many other positive aspects that congregate to form a very favorable period for independent game developers are all here, in our days - regardless of the existence of similar opportunities in the past, even though I start to think this sensation of being before a great opportunity at the right time is more a matter of attitude towards existence than anything to do with the particularities of a specific time span.
I will develop these subjects much further as I post more about my actual experience as a developer and a handful of precious suggestions for others following similar roads. Game engine lists, indie gems, obscure software with wondrous qualities, mobile development, etc. - even tutorials are on the works and will be made available here progressively. Besides, there is also the unpredictable - so stay tuned and add //Coding Reality to your favorites!
Thank you for reading!