Back in the Good Old Days when I was playing LSL, Fate of Atlantis, etc I think my Home Computer was a 286 .... with "soundblaster" only. I do recall it cost me $1500 then ......my daughter was 10 or 11 and I "had to have" one at home (for her education, of course). Gosh, did I "tinker" with it ..... screwed up many times (and figured it out, hours later) but pre-Windows you could actually do that and not "damage" the investment
I even tried partitioning, and "more memory" geeze. Taught me a lot and far more by screwing up than any "technical class" that was available at the time ..... NOBODY knew much.
Johnboy you should be able to get an OLD computer for nothing ..... as in "given away". IF you can find an old 286 or 386 buy the guy a beer! They were PRE-Internet, can't be upgraded and DOS is still the basis for Windows....... if you can fiddle/tinker with that, you will learn a few things.