laser,  vtech

The Laser 3000, My First Computer [Updated]

VTech Laser 3000 via

Thomas Fuchs, @thomasfuchs on Mastodon, posed the question, “What was your first #computer?

Seems like a good time as any to post my reply, both on my blog and to my Mastodon account.

My first computer was the VTech Laser 3000. It was an Apple II “compatible”. I learned, by playing games, “Apple II compatible”, felt more like an Apple II or Apple II+ compatible rather than being an Apple //e compatible. This was likely due to the software that had to be reversed engineered to make the computer work. Interesting, the Laser 3000 manual has been scanned an uploaded to the Internet Archive if you are interested in that sort of thing. The Laser 3000 was followed up by the Apple IIc clone, the Laser 128.

I remember getting the Laser 3000 for Christmas 1985. Or was it 1986? In any case, it was the “family” computer. Any preconceived notion about who’s computer it was were dispelled by the reality of who’s bedroom the computer ended up in. In addition to the computer itself, we also had an amber screen CRT monitor, the external floppy drive, and an Epson LX-86 dot matrix printer. I loved it. The Laser was a good machine to get started on. Cracks in compatibility started showing up as stores in the local mall started selling software. New software was being written and released for the Apple //e and I started noticing that the software that was being used at school wasn’t working. So before long, I started begging for an Apple //e. Which I eventually got. Second hand, but I took it.

The Apple //e gave way to the Apple IIGS. And then, in 1990, the Macintosh Classic. The reset, as “they” say is history.

Thanks, Mom and Dad. Your investment in the Laser 3000 has paid off well.


A fine fellow on the Internet, replied to the Mastodon discussion, mentioned above, that the VTech Laser 3000 was also sold as “The Cat” from Australian reseller Dick Smith – similar to the now defunct Radio Shack chain here in the US. Below is a picture of the complete color system. In the picture, the Laser 3000 badge is replaced with a Dick Smith The Cat badge.

The Cat image provided by Craig Bradley