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The ZX Spectrum 30th Anniversary Official Nostalgia Thread


Loki

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stgeorge12-hp.png

 

30 years ago, roughly, a young Loki's father went on a computer training course for his company, and came back with a shiny, free new computer:

 

spectrum.jpg

 

Yeah, light-coloured keys, baby. This came with 3 tapes - Omnicalc (a spreadsheet program), a word processor, and a copy of Hungry Horace. It also had a starter tape which had a game called The Wall, an Arkanoid clone.

 

For me, no games console or computer has come close to the amount of enjoyment that the Spectrum gave. There were no rules to making games, so everything was possible and people created whole worlds or universes within 48k and 2 colours.

 

Like many people in my industry, I started my love affair with videogames by laboriously typing out simple games on the Speccy, or watching the scrolling sidebars for 10- minutes as it dragged a game into memory off tape. We wouldn't have a world-class videogames industry in this country if it hadn't been for this marvellous machine and it's low price.

 

So, Happy Birthday ZX Spectrum. Long may you reign over BBC Micros and Commobores in silicon heaven.

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I'm a Football Manager Sim fan, I've poured hours of my life into series such as Premier Manager, Championship Manager, SWOS, LMA Manager and the Champman redirection of Football Manager. Where did my love for such games emerge from?

 

Football Manager by Addictive Games on the ZX.

 

In an abundance of cassette tapes in a Doc Martins Boots shoe box, amongst a plethora of Role playing fantasy titles and the tape worn space adventuring epic that was Elite, lay one tape that my dad had gained free from his work. A very young and freshfaced Teedy Kay placed said tape into his Dad's upgraded external cassette player and got lost in the antics of attempting to become Division 4 champs and progressing my career to be the best manager in the world, even better than current Wolves boss Graham Turner if that was at all possible.

 

My time on the speccy was confined, my Dad took priority as he typed 'use magic potion on snake charmed door lock' over and over and over and over. Or deciding whether or not to set up trade routes or just shoot the fuck out of trouble on Elite, a game where my main duty was to use the wonderfully constructed anti-piracy viewer (a bit of orange plastic that resembled a slide for an overhead projector) and give me old man the relevant information to get into the game, as his failing eyesight menat he struggled with such procedures.

 

It was my first introduction to personal computing, I loved it then, and I love it now. Great times.

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Yeah, I think I was a bit younger when I got my ZX but I remember my first access to programming being with that glorious little machine. I remember exactly what it was too, copied out of a computer magazine to make a bouncing ball. I was fucking amazed.

 

Also it was my first introduction to Manic Miner, which I must have played over a thousand times and never got past level 4.

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The ZX Spectrum, 30 years, blimey. Good to know that it instantly makes me feel ancient with that milestone being reached.

 

The first time I saw a Speccy in action was probably in Boots, when they sold pretty much every major home computer of the day in the mid 1980's. Going down stairs in the Gloucester branch to see the various home computers of the time set up was always a treat growing up. and Boots had about 6 different computers on show at any given time at that point. The lineup was usually Zx Spectrum, Commodore 64, Commodore 16+4, Atari XE and an Amstrad 464 iirc and they had each of them lined up in a row just switched on with no games ready to play. However they did always have plenty of games for sale, and looking through each of the weird and wonderful covers and looking at games that appealed was always fun, even though I was never likely to play on them.

 

The whole Speccy vs c64 discussions never happened at school, mainly because not many people had them (computers/consoles) in general. Some had kept the Atari 2600, some had C16+4's, some had C64's, some poor bastards had CPC 464's, One lad even had a Texas T-99, there wasnt anyone who had a Spectrum though, and I wouldnt know some who did have one until the 1990's. No one at junior school did the whole 'my computer is better than your computer' discussion because there simply wasnt the rivalry, it was a major purchase to own a computer back then, and they were certainly not as widespread as today's gaming machines. The recession of the early 1980's was still causing issues in terms of jobs, finance etc and computers were comparatively very expensive. Many people went without a computer in my neck of the woods, because they couldnt afford them. It was also a relatively new market, some were unsure of whether it would be a passing fad or not so didnt get them for that reason either. By the time I'd got to Senior school, people were adapting to the 16 bits, and Amiga and ST were king, 8 bits were few and far between and then those people would usually be converts to either the Amiga/ ST or the emerging Snes and Megadrive; either way, the Speccy seemed to be something of a rarity, only one of my friends at senior school had the James Bond Action Pack Plus 2, but swapped for a Snes in early 1993

 

I didnt get a speccy till horrendously late in the day (already owned a bunch of computers/consoles at the time). My Dad picked a Spectrum Plus up from a Carboot/Free ad's paper for a few quid with a bunch of games in the early 1990's. Most of the games didnt work, but then the tape loader was monumentally fucked. So it remains a bit of an oddity that Ive only really revisited in emulation since.

 

Happy Birthday ZX Spectrum!

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I have actually legitimately completed Manic Miner, on an emulator, about 4 years ago. I did need an infinite life cheat, but I got all the way to the last cavern. The Solar Power Generator has to be the most fiendish challenge in all videogames, apart possibly from The Banyan Tree.

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