In 7th grade, the TRS-80 Color Computer (CC) got me into programming
and a little bit of hacking
BASIC programming was easy. The implementation on the my gray CC made it easy, with its ability to trace what line was being executed. Graphics were easy...you could do low-res graphics (read: blocks) or high-res (read: smaller blocks). But still, you could do circles, lines, etc. This is where I explored the most. Oh how I was excited when I got an expansion from 4K of RAM to 16K, and then finally 64K! It was quite an experience, omitting as much whitespace as possible in order to squeeze another feature into my latest program.
Another source of information for me was the wonderful Rainbow magazine...it had wonderful articles, hints on neat peek and poke commands to customize your environment...and what I liked the best were the program listings that I could spend hours typing in and then enjoy the result...then store in on cassette so I could load it up later.
What amazes me the most was that I got the 6809 Assembly Language ROM cartridge and learned some assembly. Granted, I didn't do a lot with it...but I was amazed at how much faster my short little assembly programs went than when I did the same thing with BASIC.