Monday 23 April 2012

30 Years ago today, The ZX Spectrum gave us games to play

Its hard to believe as I sit here typing that is was 30 years ago, to this very day that that Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k was released to the general public. I suppose that in retrospect, it could be seen as the iPad of its day as most people had one, of if they didn't, wanted one.

The previous year had seen the release of the Spectrums popular forerunner, the ZX81 which had sold a quarter of a million units by the end of 1981. But competition from rival companies such as Commodore were pushing what could be achieved with home computing, and the release of the VIC20 meant that computers with full colour capability were indeed the future, whereas the ZX81 was simply monochrome.

As such, Sinclair set about working on the follow up machine. What would eventually become the Spectrum, actually went through a number of design and name changes before the final model was that we all know and love was decided upon. Two models were released initial - the 16KB, at £125 or the much more powerful 48K version which cost £175.

Needless to say, it was a hit in schools and homes around the world, even if the keyboard was rubbish. And, for the next 2 years, the Sinclair Spectrum would dominate the home computing market, bringing along with it the delights of games such as Manic Miner, Elite and Hungry Horace. Retro gamers still love the old games and there are many Spectrum emulators around, as well as websites where you can actually play them online.

So happy birthday to the ZX Spectrum!

Personally I prefer the Commodore 64, but that's a different article.

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