My wife Susan and I first met at a seventh grade birthday party way back in 1985. Even though she stuck close to her circle of friends (fellow band geeks and Girl Scouts) throughout the night, she had the courage to tell me that my radical skateboarding tricks and fresh breakdancing skills had indeed impressed her.
Throughout the next six years of junior high and high school, the two of us played a real life game of cat and mouse (me being the mouse). The harder she chased me, I faster I ran. No matter how far or fast I ran, she never gave up the chase. As nice as she was, I didn’t’ seem to me that the two of us had much in common. I was into computers and videogames; she was into being outdoors as much as possible. After graduation, the two of us parted ways for a couple of years. Susan moved into a dorm sixty miles east at a state college, while I hung around our hometown, attending classes at a small junior college. During that time, we rarely spoke.
After two years of dorm living, Susan moved off campus and into a brand new, three-bedroom mobile home. To lessen the expense, she sought two roommates. One was a friend of hers, a fellow Girl Scout counselor. Tired of spinning my wheels at junior college, I transferred to the state school and began renting the third room.
The day the three of us moved in, I helped Susan unpack her boxes while we got caught up on old times. During the two years we’d been apart, her father had passed away from cancer. While she was unpacking, we ran across her old NES. She said that while her dad had been sick, her family spent a lot of time together in her parents’ living room playing Dr. Mario. She also told me a great story about how she and her former dorm roommates had once played Gauntlet for almost a week, pausing the game when they had to attend class, until a friend of theirs (oblivious to their record-setting marathon) walked in and turned the machine off!
When we opened the next box, I found a Commodore 128 computer. It had belonged to Susan’s dad. She recounted old stories of her and her father playing old games together. One thing she joked about was S.A.M., the “Software Automated Mouth” program for the Commodore 64. During the program’s opening demo it (poorly) talked like several old characters, including an old lady and an elf. Susan impersonated the old program perfectly. We laughed a lot that night.
The third item she pulled out was a Three Stooges poster. While not game related, it did seal the deal. Videogames, computers, and The Three Stooges? What else could a guy hope for in a girl!?
At the end of the following semester, Susan and I parted ways with our other roommate and moved back to our old hometown. The following year, the two of us were married. Twelve years later we’re still together and having the time of our lives raising two wonderful kids who both (not coincidently) love videogames, computers, and The Three Stooges.
So that's what SAM stood for! The coolest thing about SAM was that you could integrate it into your own BASIC program. I made a couple talking text adventure games and a wrestling game with SPEECH! Unfortunately SAM took up about 25K which left very little to BASIC (which IIRC you had 38K for)