I was an intern at Microsoft in the summer of 1996, after my first year of college. I had plans to work as the first mate on a fishing boat on the Maine coast that summer, as I had assumed that real computer companies didn’t actually hire 19 year-olds.
There were about 500 of us, although I only ever ended up meeting a few. I was over in the Red West campus, which was 4 or 5 buildings in a separate cluster from the main (30+ building) campus. In a way it was isolating, but I ended up liking it. For one thing, I had my own office, since space was plentiful. On the main campus, not everyone did.
One day, my manager/mentor came by my office and said he needed a favor. He was getting married in the fall, he said, and he needed to stop taking naps at work and getting home so late. We dragged a futon out of his office, down the hall, into mine. So then I had a futon.
It was a small team, only 8 people or so. We would hang around in the halls or spill out of one person’s office and talk to each other. Sometimes we played Warcraft 2 with each other in the late afternoons. Later that summer, people started playing Quake, but I disliked first-person shooters and didn’t partake.
Like the rest of the Microsoft campus, people had dragged old arcade machines into the buildings and stashed them in every open space. There was a Q*bert machine around the corner from where I worked. Everyday after lunch, two engineers with Southern accents would spend 20 minutes playing Q*bert. Each would heckle the other as he played. Sometime in late July the Q*bert machine blew its tube, so they switched seamlessly to the Galaga 88 machine right next to it.
I liked a lot of the grown-ups working at Microsoft, and hated most of the other interns. It took me another ten years or more to figure out why that had been.