About Stonewall Thomas
About Stonewall Thomas
Growing up in the south suburbs of Chicago in the 1980s was quite the awesome life. The 80s were full of changing technology, cool music, and incredible fashion styles that I still believe are more fun than what I see walking around these days. Rock stars looked like rock stars - it was required and it was glorious.
In junior high, I was forced - completely forced - to take my first computer science class. I was always a straight A student, but for some reason I railed against the idea of computer programming. That only lasted for a couple of days. Back then we were learning BASIC on the old Apple IIc, and when I wrote my first lines of code and saw the output on the screen, I felt powerful for the first time in my life. It wasn't long before I was way ahead of the class (and the teacher) with my knowledge and skill with Apple BASIC. I needed way more than the class could teach me, so my parents actually bought me an IBM PS/2 and a nice thick book so I could learn IBM BASIC and start making games. It wasn't long before I was making professional-grade games all by myself. Most notably, I would take those Choose Your Own Adventure books and make them into games. I would retype the entire book and put in all the original page-flipping choices that the original copy had, but I also added little battle scenes or puzzles where appropriate to enhance the text. It was really awesome and completely marketable, but I didn't know that at the time. My parents just thought I was wasting my life playing on the computer all the time, and they made me believe that was true.
By the time high school came around, I was out with my friends way more than home. Being that I had just finished 8 years of very strict Catholic school, it was time to go wild. I did so in a very big way. High school was so much fun, and my friends were awesome. We had our share of adventures and were together almost every minute, but I still managed to maintain really good grades so my parents didn't really worry about me or what I was doing. Had they known what I was up to, well, I would have been seriously grounded for most of the 4 years.
When it came time for college, I enrolled in Purdue University's engineering program because that's what I figured I was supposed to do. One of my freshman classes was CS150 - FORTRAN programming. Yeah, I'm that old... anyhow, there I was again in the middle of the computer programming world and earning 100% in the class with great ease. I also learned that computers weren't just toys and that programming them was a viable career. A quick change of majors was imminent and the rest is history.